The mobile app development world has been buzzing for the last few weeks after learning of Google’s plan to acquire Twitter’s mobile app development platform known as Fabric. Now that the plans have been made official, Google is saying they will merge Fabric with their own Firebase platform to create something bigger and better than what they currently offer. The question for mobile application developers is this: what does the acquisition mean in a practical sense?
Given that Fabric has already been downloaded more than half-a-million times, and that the platform and applications built on it are now installed on more than 2.5 billion mobile devices worldwide, it is a pretty safe bet that Google will not be abandoning any of the staples of the platform. Instead, they will merge Fabric with Firebase in order to offer developers new tools for doing what they do.
The result should be a more robust Firebase with a wider range of uses among both Android and cross-platform developers. A brief look at some of Google’s announced plans tells you everything you need to know.
Crashlytics for Bug Fixes
One of the most used kits in the Fabric platform is Crashlytics, a helpful tool that makes it possible to track down bugs to the very line of code where they are found. Fabric architects maintain that Crashlytics offers the fastest and most effective way to fix bugs prior to application release. Google apparently agrees.
Google has said that once the merger is complete, Crashlytics will become Firebase’s primary error reporting and bug-fixing platform. Mobile application developers with a bent toward Android should find the tool extremely useful for more streamlined development and better bug tracking.
Future Plans to Be Announced Gradually
To this point, Google has given no clear indication of what the new merged Firebase/Fabric platform will look like. However, they have said they will begin releasing details of the merger over the next several months. We expect details to come gradually as project managers figure out what to keep, what to get rid of, what to merge, and what to modify.
The rumor mill suggests that Google will hold onto the most important kits in the Fabric set including the Twitter Kit, a set of tools mobile application developers can use to integrate Twitter into their apps. For example, it is possible with the kit to embed tweeting capabilities into an app during the development stage with one simple line of code.
Google is also rumored to be interested in MoPub, Digits and a few other Fabric kits. MoPub is a monetization tool while Digits is an SMS authentication tool. It’s easy to see how both these tools could be used together for commercial apps designed to generate mobile revenue.
A Better Firebase
Assuming Google does its due diligence in merging Firebase and Fabric, the practical result for mobile application developers will be a better Firebase platform that is more robust, easy-to-use, and fully alive with brand-new features by way of Fabric’s extra kits. There is no reason to expect Google to not be able to pull this off.
The merger should be a very good thing for app developers like iTexico, a Texas company based in Austin. Their developers are looking forward to an opportunity to work with the new platform as soon as it’s ready to go. Like so many other software developers, iTexico looks for any platform or toolset that makes what they do easier, more cost-effective, and more productive. That’s what Google is hoping to create with their acquisition of Fabric.