7 best React Native databases and how to choose the right one in 2021
In the world of native mobile apps’ development, React Native stands tall among the best platforms in the field. Despite its young age, it managed to win the hearts of millions of developers with its high performance and ease of use.
However, the selection of the right React Native database for your app can pose quite a challenge. In the first place, it is related to the wide range of databases available on the market and their functional variety. Then, there are a bunch of application-wise wishes and requirements that a developer has to satisfy. It is dedicated to security, read/write operations speed, real-time synchronization, and many more aspects you should keep in mind to make the right choice. Ultimately, the database will heavily define the performance of your app.
In short, there are enough hassles to make even an experienced developer dizzy, let alone rookies. And since here, at Akveo, we’ve created plenty of successful mobile apps for various purposes (incl. banking app) and have a dab hand on it, we’d like to share a piece of our wisdom with you. Thus, we’ve prepared a list of the most prominent local and service-side databases for React Native apps. In this article, you will:
- Know major factors to pick the database you need;
- Meet the best local DBs for React Native apps;
- Find some more Server-side databases for React Native;
- Get comparative tables to make your choice easier.
7 Pillars of a React Native Database
As it was mentioned before, it is crucial to choose the right database for your mobile application. The right, here, means one that complies with all the needs of your application in terms of data transactions, security, etc. Therefore, to facilitate your selection, let’s take notice of the following general database parameters:
Perhaps, the most critical feature of a database is its capacity for effective memory management. If a DB doesn’t “take out litter” to free more space for your app, it can cause frequent crashes and spoil the user experience. That’s why you should look for a database that has some memory handling practices, like compaction, in its arsenal.
Data Conflicts Resolution
Database data conflict management is vital when you apply many cooperation features in your app. So before you pick one, make sure they use some advanced solutions to resolve such issues. As a rule, the proper databases are straight about that on their official website. When a DB isn’t, it’s a telltale sign of a simplistic approach to data conflict management.
A good database should protect the stored data from any leak or hack. There is nothing to add — a database for your app must use all means to keep your users’ information safe, period.
If your app includes team engagement features, a database capable of offline synchronization will be a must. That’s because all the team members will need to have the same information (projects, resources) for a productive collaboration.
At the same time, individual targeted applications can do well without advanced synchronization. Syncing when the Internet connection is available will suffice.
Data Types & Complexity
Most mobile applications use key-value pairs and JSON format to store data. Key-values and JSON are quite simple for a database to handle. However, to store full documents and objects, you will need a more sophisticated database. So you should find out about the storage capacity of a database in advance to be sure it serves all your needs.
The less code and effort it takes to administer a database, the better. This factor has a great impact both on developers’ work and the database performance itself. Thus, avoid using complex databases when the low expenses and fast time to market are the priority for your app.
7 Top React Native Databases
Local Databases for React Native App Development
Alright, as you’ve clarified what you are looking for in React Native data storage, it’s high time to choose one. In this section, you will find several options for the best React Native databases for local storage. Despite each database’s strengths and weaknesses, they all respond to the cutting-edge React Native development standards. But before we dive into a broad outline, have a glance at them (click on to find out more):
Realm is an open-source database that is capable of handling large amounts of data, remaining highly performant. It is autonomous, which means that instead of using SQLite as its engine, Realm runs directly on phones or wearable devices.
As an object-oriented database, Realm works much faster than its relational counterparts (SQLite). With that lightning-like speed and scalability, Realm makes perfect storage for complex apps.
Realm database is pretty easy to understand and get up and running with. For the most part, that is because Realm is object-oriented. It means that you can access the fields and other objects more easily using elementary annotations. Also, it frees you from manual query conversion and carries it out automatically.
Realm stores the information in universal-code tables or native object format. It makes the database easily accessible across different platforms that use various languages.
Although we’ve mentioned the high speed of Realm before, here we are going to find out the exact properties that facilitate its processes.
- Zero-copy cloning
Using this innovative method, Realm maps the whole data with the help of B+ trees. Simply put, it creates a clone of the database on a device to make the data path shorter. As a result, when a query comes, the system retrieves the data right from the clone on the device. This allows you to skip copying data from the database to language-level objects.
- Object database
Object databases, in contrast to SQL-based ones, don’t convert operations into SQL statements. The live objects reflect the database directly without any copying. That is what makes Realm run like a Ferrari compared to SQL jogger.
Realm provides concurrency control employing the MVCC model. The model allows the react database to handle multiple write/read transactions simultaneously.
To top off all the benefits of the database, its developers made it offline-persistent. You can interact with the database offline as well as online and experience the same quality of data transactions.
In addition to all the benefits Realm offers, it has a rather high level of security. Realm employs different encryption standards for iOS and Android.
In the case of iOS, it is the CommonCrypto library. It uses keychains to store and protect passwords along with other app-connected data. As for Android, Realm employs the AES-256 encryption level to preserve valuable information.
Here is some great news too. Real local storage and its features are completely free of charge. Although, to seize more features for synchronization you’ll need to shell out
In terms of price, Realm takes its toll on a great service. Though the database has a free plan, it won’t suit React Native apps. To seize all the capabilities of Realm for your React Native application, get ready to pay $1750 a month.
Firebase is a non-relational React Native local database that has a dynamic schema for unstructured data. The database shines in data synchronization and supporting React Native offline-first applications. Firebase is flexible and capable of storing various types of storage units. Though, it works best with unstructured data types like documents and JSON.
If you want your app to be easily scalable — opt for Firebase. It scales horizontally, which allows you to keep your existing servers online while you are adding more. Also, the databases that use horizontal scalability are called elastic. In this regard, elasticity means that you can remove existing server objects as easily as build new ones.
It is worth mentioning that Firebase is a product of Google, one of the most influential modern tech giants. This company knows its thing when it comes to data handling.
This feature allows developers to build applications with the ability to save the data on the device without an Internet connection. Further, the app will send all the information to the server as soon as it reestablishes the connection. Additionally, Firebase makes timestamps for saving users’ progress by the minute when the app gets disconnected.
Firebase is capable of saving the changes in stored files on multiple devices simultaneously. The feature will be useful for teamwork apps, for you’ll have your data backed in case of a sudden connection failure.
Firebase is not just a database. It is a back end as a service (BaaS) that includes a server, cross-platform API, and datastore. The APIs streamline the database setup process significantly when you apply it for React Native apps. During the process, you connect your iOS and Android apps altogether to the Firebase service.
You can apply Firebase to mobile devices with different operating systems. It is possible, thanks to the advanced cross-platform API. The API allows you to manage all the threads from one place.
As a NoSQL database, Firebase builds storage entities around the existing ones rather than upon them. This scalability method provides the database with a huge extension capacity. Apart from that, with Firebase, you can scale out your React Native application while it is on the go.
Firebase uses simple Cloud Firestore Security Rules that you can adjust to your app’s needs. You can see your security rule patterns as safeguards that will defend your DB against any type of malicious queries. While some databases have an intermediary service for protection, Firebase is bouncing off the unwanted client-side queries by itself.
At the same time, it lacks server-side data protection and is vulnerable to theft from this side. To be more precise, Firebase doesn’t encrypt the stored information. This drawback makes it unfit for applications that use and collect sensitive data (banking apps). So for such applications, consider the databases like Realm that use encryption to defend the data.
Firebase has a free Spark Plan that offers 1 GB of storage space for free and other features with limited capacity. Alternatively, you can seize a paid Blaze Plan with the following pricing.
Another great option to store your mobile application’s data is React Native SQLite. It goes as lite because it is compact, easy to install and administer. The SQLite local database was created specifically to store information from mobile applications. However, it is successfully used with desktops and other devices too.
Many databases use the SQLite engine as a base. This engine, in contrast to other SQL ones, takes all the needed information right from the database entities on a disk. This way of handling queries streamlines the database’s work big time.
The time-to-deployment of SQLite is legendary. There will certainly be some initial actions to launch the database, but it doesn’t require the actual install process. You don’t need to start any additional processes, create access rules or instances. SQLite even does self-administrative routines that allow you to forget the word troubleshooting. Everything’s made to run your app as fast as possible and keep it sound.
SQLite flies like a feather due to its direct data path. Similar to Firebase, SQLite receives requests and responses to the apps directly. Further, you can make the database faster by adjusting disc access rules. However, make sure you know where the DB consumes more time and slows up your app. If you make all the adjustments right, SQLite will demonstrate an extreme level of productivity.
The four words that characterize SQLite database are atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable. ACID is an abbreviation for a database standard that indicates a high level of performance in those four dimensions. A database can qualify for the standard if it provides a smooth user experience, precise data transactions, concurrency, and security.
You can store the SQLite database as a single file of application file format. This allows you to share this file throughout other devices as simple as an email. Besides, this React Native DB has user-friendly cross-platform APIs. They fit not only iOS and Android but many other platforms.
The serverlessness of SQLite, which brings so many benefits in terms of usability, reveals its dark side here. The absence of a server mediator makes the database prone to bugs that can come with clients’ queries.
Nevertheless, you can encrypt your data on SQLite with the help of paid SEE (SQLite Encryption Extension). It is available on the official site of the database for you to download together with the SQL file.
SQLite is open source and public, so you can get it for free. However, to straighten your security with encryption, you’ll need to pay $2000. You won’t need to worry about a license unless you wish to have legal proof of your right to use the database. This necessity can come into play, for instance, if you are in a country that doesn’t recognize the public domain. The license will cost you a one-time $6000.
The database supports JSON file storage and has a horizontal scalability structure. PouchDB shares the same protocols as a service-side CouchDB which makes them highly compatible. However, PouchDB can be paired with such server-side databases as non-relational MongoDB or MySQL.
You can run the PouchDB from your browser, be it Chrome, Firefox, or else. This feature came from the Apache CouchDB, which you can easily connect with Pouch through Node.js.
Offline First Synchronization
You can access most of the data stored on PouchDB even if you are offline. In your native application, this feature manifests as seamless performance regardless of the Internet connection.
To avoid data conflicts and provide cross-platform synchronization, PouchDB offers a P2P replication feature. This feature updates the information on every device when new data is added to the storage. As a result, all users that you linked to the React Native storage will synchronize.
The database does require some coding knowledge to administrate. Although, it will be a child’s play to get into for React Native developers cause it’s JS-ridden.
Pouch DB has an array of features for React Native app info protection. To make your data safe, you can set access rules and avoid storing passwords in your DB.
As a part of CouchDB, Pouch has a special connection with the React Native platform. That connection brings several benefits for data safety. First of all, it refreshes cookie files in the storage, which protects them from attacks. Then, with PBKDF2 cryptography, the database converts the passwords into the hash form, which securely saves them from theft. And finally, it uses SSL to encrypt the local data (AES256 level).
PouchDB is completely free. It doesn’t even have a license or pro package to buy either. You can just go and get it on Github.
Server-side Databases for React Native App Development
If you prefer to store the mobile application’s data on a server or want to reinforce your local database, consider the following server-side databases:
- Amazon DynamoDB;
If you create a large RN application that will demand spacious storage and elasticity from a database, leverage MongoDB. It stores data in JSON docs format that suits dynamic schemas and is very productive to work with.
MongoDB and React Native
RN employs an array of protection features like authentication, network isolation, encryption, and authorization. Additionally, you can create sophisticated access rules that will protect your DB from client-side malicious queries. All in all, you can rely on MongoDB to store the most sensitive data.
The framework has an in-built Atlas search, so you don’t need to integrate and install one from somewhere else. You can easily manage the search with a simple API call or create a search index with a few licks. Apart from that, the search facilitates CRUD operations of the database that facilitates developers’ work.
The database owes its high performance to intelligent index and schema suggestions. What’s more, it tires the stored data automatically and streamlines query performance. Besides, React Native frees developers from drudge work, so that they can focus more on your app enhancement.
React Native MongoDB tracks the storage needs in real-time and can adjust itself automatically in response to the rising demand of a system. Furthermore, you can change the size of the stored instances with no application downtime.
MongoDB has 3 pricing plans: shared, dedicated, and multi-region.
The shared plan is free and can do all the necessary operations for small applications.
To empower your application with vast storage capacity, auto-scalability, and point-in-time data recovery, pick the dedicated plan. It will cost you from $57 to $15000 depending on the storage size, number of CPUs, and clusters.
Then the multi-region plan offers a geo-partitioned data storage, cross-region replication, and multi-cloud system. The multi-region package price starts from $97.
Amazon Dynamo is a NoSQL database that supports both key-value, documents, and table storing models. Its flexible structure performs great at any scale. In general, DynamoDB can handle 20 million data transactions per second.
The database is serverless and doesn’t need any installation like SQLite. Apart from that, it is capable of making ACID transactions that make it suitable for enterprise applications. Amazon DynamoDB also has high security with encryption and access rules so you can rest easy about your sensitive data. And to top it off, you can create backups for hundreds of terabytes of your valuable information. In fact, it won’t even spoil your application downtime.
Amazon DynamoDB with React Native
DynamoDB is a fully-fledged and managed database that offers a plethora of sweet benefits for React Native developers. Though, to store your React Native application’s data in DynamoDB, you’ll need a special AWS SDK. With the help of the SDK, you can add Amazon SNS for push notifications management and Lambada that starts serverless code without a backend infrastructure.
Compatibility with Local DBs
Amazon DynamoDB is compatible with the Realm React Native local database. Usually, developers resort to the help of local databases when the more complex queries become a part of an application.
DynamoDB is brilliant in server-side encryption. It encrypts all the incoming data from the users on the database’s server.
Amazon DynamoDB global tables feature facilitates data processing in many ways:
- It replicates the tables across various services automatically.
- Whenever you read/write your data locally, it can be then accessed by the other servers that use the same AWS service.
- The feature eliminates difficulties with the deployment of the system across devices and systems.
Data conflict resolution
The famous DynamoDB replication routines eliminate almost all possible data conflicts. All the connected resources will respond to the data changes as soon as they take place. The only fly in the ointment is that there may be a conflict when you change data in two different regions simultaneously.
Dynamo has the ability to scale itself automatically in response to the rising workloads. The size of the storage doesn’t affect the speed of reading/writing operations at all.
Various data types
The database supports key-values as well as document format files. The flexible schema of the Dynamo allows you to adjust your tables’ settings in line with your business needs. Additionally, flexibility enables the data rows to have any number of columns at any time.
Amazon DynamoDB has provisioned and on-demand capacity modes.
With an on-demand model, you pay for what you use. It will cost $1.25 per million for a million writes and $0.25 for a million reads respectively. This plan will suit you if you have an unpredictable workload.
Provisioned model, unlike the previous one, works well if you can know your traffic flow. The price per reading/writing operation stays the same. Though, using this model, you can count the number of reads/writes per second to adjust your payment.
MySQL is a flexible, highly performant, and secure relational database. It is open-source and considered one of the most popular SQL databases nowadays. It is a brilliant choice for mobile banking app developers for it has great encryption standards and security.
In addition to that, MySQL service can manage large amounts of complex data due to its ergonomic structure. On average, the server-side database supports up to 64 indexes and stores around 50 million records.
The information on the database is stored in separate tables instead of stacking the info in one storage unit. Besides, you can predefine certain relations between the tables to enrich the query responses. All these features facilitate data processing procedures greatly, speeding up your RN app performance. Also, MySQL supports constraints, cascade deletion, and relationships between entities.
MySQL and React Native
Most of all, MySQL enables React Native applications with security and high performance. Those benefits mostly come from the database’s multi-thread memory allocation system. Additionally, the database can be combined with AsyncDB to store the data locally.
Security seems to be the most prominent highlight of the MySQL database. There are two reasons why MySQL is so good in saving your data from attackers: password-based encryption (PBE) feature and multi-layered structure. The PBE feature transforms ordinary passwords into encryption keys so that the hackers will have a hard time getting them. Then, multi-layered storage allows various data models around a single backend that makes the information extraction barely possible.
What’s more, recently there has appeared a de-identification feature for enterprise apps. This feature protects sensitive data from unauthorized users by replacing the actual values with other symbols.
So if you are planning to develop banking or e-commerce apps, MySQL can be your best choice for a server-side database.
Having a low data leakage rate, MySQL is able to perform well with the most powerful and complex apps. Moreover, the architecture of MySQL allows multi-thread read\write operations.
Administering the React Native MySQL database won’t be a difficult task if you have a basic knowledge of SQL. Making queries and updating the database happens through concise SQL statements.
The MySQL server is easily scalable. However, the scaling process happens vertically, so there might be some app performance downtime during the process.
In contrast to the previous server databases, MySQL is completely free to use.
Now, let’s wrap the whole thing up. As you can see, there are plenty of decent react databases for native mobile applications around. Some are best in speed and are easy to deploy, while others boast their data synchronization, storage capacity, and security.
Anyway, the final decision depends greatly on what your application’s needs will be. So while choosing the storage for your application, you can follow the hallmarks listed in the tables below.
Local Databases for React Native apps:
Server-side Databases for React Native:
Here you go! Hopefully, this article and supplementary tables did their job and helped you to pick up the right database. From our side, we’d like to wish you millions of happy users for your new React Native app.
P.S. If you have difficulties with implementing a database for your RN application, contact us. We will get you through the whole setup process or even develop a unique database solution, especially for your application.