Essential Android Firebase Realtime Database edit forum

Understanding firebase JSON database

Before we get our hands dirty with code, I feel it is necessary to understand how data is stored in firebase. Unlike relational databases, firebase stores data in JSON format. Think of each row in a relational database as a JSON object (which is basically unordered key-value pair). So the column name becomes key and the value stored in that column for one particular row is the value. This way the entire row is represented as a JSON object and a list of these represent an entire database table. The immediate benefit that I see for this is schema modification becomes much more cheaper operation compared to old RDBMS. It is easier to add a couple of more attributes to a JSON than altering a table structure.

here is a sample JSON to show how data is stored in firebase:

    "user_base" : {
      "342343" : {
        "email" : "",
        "authToken" : "some string",
        "name" : "Kaushal",
        "phone" : "+919916xxxxxx",
        "serviceProviderId" : "firebase",
        "signInServiceType" : "google",
      "354895" : {
        "email" : "",
        "authToken" : "some string",
        "name" : "devil",
        "phone" : "+919685xxxxxx",
        "serviceProviderId" : "firebase",
        "signInServiceType" : "github"
      "371298" : {
        "email" : "",
        "authToken" : "I am batman",
        "name" : "Bruce Wayne",
        "phone" : "+14085xxxxxx",
        "serviceProviderId" : "firebase",
        "signInServiceType" : "shield"
    "user_prefs": {
        "data": "for key one"
        "data": "for key two"
        "data": "for key three"
    //other structures

This clearly shows how data that we used to store in relational databases can be stored in JSON format. Next let’s see how to read this data in android devices.

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