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Re-frame wrapper around Google's Firebase database.


There are already several ClojureScript wrappers of Firebase, most notably Matchbox. However, I was not able to find any that work with recent version of Firebase, nor that smoothly integrate with re-frame.

Re-frame-firebase is based on ideas, and some code, from Timothy Pratley's blog post and VoterX project. I've added the packaging as a standalone project, the integration with re-frame and, I'm sure, any mistakes that I've not yet caught.

_Note: This project is not under active development, and exists primarily to meet my immediate needs. Therefore, many Firebase features are still missing. I will probably only add them as I need. But, I am receptive to feature requests and happy to accept PRs. I would also like to thank the growing family of contributors who have added so much to this project. I've probably written less than half the code here! _


Clojars Project Dependencies Status

  • Add this project to your dependencies. The current version is [com.degel/re-frame-firebase "0.8.0"]. Note this automatically includes firebase too; currently v5.7.3-1.
  • Reference the main namespace in your code: [ :as firebase]
  • Initialize the library in your app initialization, probably just before you call (mount-root). See below for details.


The public portions of the API are all in re_frame_firebase.cljs. That file also includes API documentation that may sometimes be more current or complete than what is here.

This is a re-frame API. It is primarily accessed through re-frame events and subscriptions.


Initialize the library in your app initialization, probably just before you call (mount-root).

;;; From - "Add Firebase to your web app"
(defonce firebase-app-info
  {:apiKey "YOUR-KEY-HERE"
   :authDomain ""
   :databaseURL ""
   :storageBucket ""})

(defn ^:export init []
  (firebase/init :firebase-app-info      firebase-app-info
                 ; See:
                 :firestore-settings     {:timestampsInSnapshots true}
                 :get-user-sub           [:user]
                 :set-user-event         [:set-user]
                 :default-error-handler  [:firebase-error])

This initialization does two things:

  1. It supplies your Firebase credentials to this library
  2. It defines several callbacks to your project from the library


You need to create your Firebase project on its site. This will supply you with a set of credentials: an API key, domain, URL, and bucket. Mimicking the sample above, copy these into your code.

Note that it is ok to have these credentials visible in your client-side code. But, you must configure Firebase rules to safely control access to your database.


This library relies on your code to implement two behaviors:

  • Storing the user object
  • Reporting errors

It communicates with your code via three callbacks that you define in firebase/init: :get-user-sub, :set-user-event, and :default-error-handler. The first of these is normally a re-frame subscription vector, while the latter two are re-frame event vectors. As is typical in re-frame, info will be passed by appending it to the the vector.

Note that re-frame-firebase uses the Iron library, which supports passings functions instead of re-frame subscriptions or events. Each of these callbacks can therefore also be plain functions.

For more details, e.g. the parameters passed to each callback, see the documentation in the source.

You can also see some sample code in my toy project trilystro. But, tread carefully here, this is my experimental stomping ground and things may be broken at any time.


Firebase supports a variety of user authentication mechanisms. Currently, re-frame-firebase supports the following Firebase authentication providers:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • GitHub
  • Email/password

(PRs welcome that add to this!)

Before an authentication provider can be used, it has to be enabled and configured in the Firebase Console (Authentication -> Sign-in method section).

You need to write three events: two to handle login and logout requests from your views, and and one to store the user information returned to you from the library. You also need to write a subscription to return the user information to the library. For example:

;;; Simple sign-in event. Just trampoline down to the re-frame-firebase
;;; fx handler.
 (fn [_ _] {:firebase/google-sign-in {:sign-in-method :popup}}))

;;; Ditto for sign-out
 (fn [_ _] {:firebase/sign-out nil}))

;;; Store the user object
 (fn [db [_ user]]
   (assoc db :user user)))

;;; A subscription to return the user to the library
  (fn [db _] (:user db)))

The user object contains several opaque fields used by the library and firebase, and also several fields that may be useful for your application, including:

  • :display-name - The user's full name
  • :email - The user's email address
  • :photo-url - The user's photo
  • :uid - The user's unique id, used by Firebase. Helpful for setting up private areas in the db

Email Authentication

When using email/password authentication, one usually has to register first (the alternative is to create an account using the Firebase admin console). So the application could provide both a means of registering a new user, and to log in as the created user later on. When registering a new user, you should use the :firebase/email-create-user effect. If the information is valid (e.g. the user does not exist already) then it will automatically trigger a sign in.

For authenticating an already existing account, use the :firebase/email-sign-in effect. Example:

;;; Create a new user
 (fn [_ [_ email pass]]
 {:firebase/email-create-user {:email email :password pass}}))

;;; Sign in by email
 (fn [_ [_ email pass]]
 {:firebase/email-sign-in {:email email :password pass}}))

The rest of the procedure is the same as for the OAuth methods.

Anonymous Authentication

Anonymous authentication allows persisting of information before users sign up.

;;; Create anonymous user
 (fn [_ _]
 {:firebase/anonymous-sign-in nil}))

Custom Authentication

This relies on an external system to generate a JWT, signed with a private key that is generate by Firebase. See Firebase docs for details how to mint such a token.

;;; Sign in using a custom token
 (fn [_ _]
 {:firebase/custom-token-sign-in {:token "eyJhbGciOiJS.."}}))

Phone Authentication

This sends an SMS to a cellphone, to authenticate against the number. One complication is that a reCaptcha setup is required to avoid abuse. Only the invisible reCaptcha is implemented at the moment.

See Firebase docs for details.

 (fn [_ _]
   {:firebase/init-recaptcha {:on-solve     [:msg "Welcome Human"]
                              :container-id "sign-in-button"}}))

 (fn [_ [_ phone]]
   {:firebase/phone-number-sign-in {:phone-number phone
                                    :on-send      [:msg "SMS code sent"]}}))

 (fn [_ [_ code]]
   {:firebase/phone-number-confirm-code {:code code}}))

Writing to the database

The firebase database is a tree. You can write values to nodes in a tree, or push them to auto-generated unique sub-nodes of a node. In re-frame-firebase, these are exposed through the :firebase/write and :firebase/push effect handlers.

Each takes parameters:

  • :path - A vector representing a node in the firebase tree, e.g. [:my :node]
  • :value - The value to write or push
  • :on-success - Event vector or function to call when write succeeds.
  • :on-failure - Event vector or function to call with the error.


  (fn [{db :db} [_ status]]
    {:firebase/write {:path [:status]
                      :value status
                      :on-success #(js/console.log "Wrote status")
                      :on-failure [:handle-failure]}}))

;;; :firebase/push is treated the same but responds with the key of the created object

Example (diff in bold):

  (fn [{db :db} [_ status]]
    {:firebase/push {:path [:status]
                      :value status
                      :on-success #(js/console.log (str "New Status push key: " %) )
                      :on-failure [:handle-failure]}}))

Note: Events will also receive the same creation key. (rf/reg-event-fx :event-name (fn [ctx [_ key]])

Re-frame-firebase also supplies :firebase/multi to allow multiple write and/or pushes from a single event:

  (fn [{db :db} [_ message]]
    {:firebase/multi [[:firebase/write {:path [:latest-message] :value :message :on-,,,}]
                      [:firebase/push  {:path [:messages] :value :message :on-,,,}]]}))

Reading from the database

Firebase supports one-time reads of a node and also subscribing to a node to receive updates anytime its content changes. Both are supported by re-frame-firebase. (But, note, we don't yet support all the subscription variatons offered by Firebase).

firebase/read-once handles one-time reads. Perhaps surprisingly, it is an event handler, not a subscription. This is because a one-time read is a sink not a source. Your application actively requests a value. The response then returns, triggering another event. Conceptually, this is very much like an http request.

  (fn [{db :db} [_ status]]
    {:firebase/read-once {:path [:message-of-the-day]
                          :on-success [:got-motd]
                          :on-failure [:handle-failure]}}))

Firebase ':on' subscriptions are handled as re-frame subscriptions:

(re-frame/subscribe [:firebase/on-value {:path [:latest-message]}])

The firebase subscription will remain active only while the re-frame subscription is active. Effectively, this is when any variable bound to the subscription remains in scope.

This, combined with re-frame 0.9's beautiful subscription caching leads to some very nice behavior: If you want to subscribe to a re-frame value for a long period of time, but want to access it deep inside a component, you can do this easily and efficiently by subscribing twice to the same path. (If you are not familiar with this area, is a useful read)

You subscribe once in the outermost component of your page, which will, presumably, never be reloaded. This causes the subsription to become and remain active.

You subcribe again within any component that wants to access the value. This causes zero extra work. The firebase subscription only happens once. Firebase pushes any changes as they happen, precisely once per change. Re-frame-firebase caches the current value locally. The subscriptions read the value from the local cache.

Note well: It is not sufficient to just mention the subscription in the outer component. You must actually use it in the component, so that it is embedded in a mounted component.

Internal detail: The values are currently cached in your app db, under the key\cache. But, this is an implementation detail, subject to change. Please do not rely on this for anything except, perhaps, debugging.

Monitoring connectivity

Your client's connection to the Firebase server may go down sometimes. You can detect this by subscribing to :firebase/connection-state. This subscription delivers a map, currently containing only one element: :firebase/connected. Its value will be true when the connection is up and false when down.

Firebase's web/javascript client does a good job of handling offline conditions, so you can actually often ignore these state changes. For example, database values are cached locally and can be read even when the server is temporarily unaccessible. Writes, however, are a bit trickier. Firebase does cache and retry, but only while the client web page is up. If your web page is closed, I think that any writes done while offline will be lost. Therefore, it is advisable to check the connection state when attempting a write. If the connection is down, you can warn the user or store the results locally. (re-frame-storage-fx may be useful for this).


Firestore is a beta database included in Firebase. re-frame-firebase exposes the Firestore SDK in a very similar way it does to the Realtime Database. It uses effects for most things, and a subscription for data. However, Firestore has a more complex structuring of data and querying system, using collections and documents. Thus, more options are provided and the returned data has more information attached to it besides a JSON object.

We replace/wrap all JS objects into clojure-style maps (using-hyphens instead of camelCase); both the responses from Firestore and the parameters passed to it.

You can find a simple introduction through examples below, but all the options are documented in re_frame_firebase.cljs.

There are also some well-documented public functions in the beginning of firestore.cljs. Most users won't find them useful except for understanding how re-frame-firebase interacts with the Firebase SDK. However, if you find yourself needing to use Firestore's JS objects directly, you might find those useful.

Set a document (:firestore/set effect)

You should provide a vector of keywords and/or strings representing the path to the document under the :path argument. Also provide a clojure map representing the document data under the :data argument.

{:firestore/set {:path [:my-collection "my-document"]
                 :data {:field1 "value1"
                        :field2 {:inner1 "a" :inner2 "b"}}
                 :set-options {:merge false
                               :merge-fields [:field1 [:field2 :inner1]]}
                 :on-success [:success-event]
                 :on-failure #(prn "Error:" %)}}

Update a document (:firestore/update effect)

Works the same way as :firestore/set, except it doesn't take a :set-options parameter.

Delete a document (:firestore/delete effect)

Works the same way as :firestore/set, except it doesn't take :data and :set-options parameters.

Execute multiple write operations using Firestore's WriteBatch (:firestore/write-batch effect)

WriteBatches only support :firestore/set, :firestore/update and :firestore/delete.

You should provide a vector of effect maps for each of the wanted operations under the :operations argument.

  [[:firestore/set {:path [:cities "SF"] :data {:name "San Francisco" :state "CA"}}]
   [:firestore/set {:path [:cities "LA"] :data {:name "Los Angeles" :state "CA"}}]
   [:firestore/set {:path [:cities "DC"] :data {:name "Washington, D.C." :state nil}}]]
  :on-success #(prn "Cities added to database.")
  :on-failure #(prn "Couldn't add cities to database. Error:" %)}}

Note you can also batch firestore effects through :firebase/multi. However, :firestore/write-batch sends a single request to the server, thus it is faster. :firebase/multi, on the other hand, supports all :firestore effects (not only write ones), but it works by dispatching the effects individually.

Add a document to a Firestore collection (:firestore/add effect).

Works the same way as the previous effects, but :on-success will be provided with a vector of strings representing the path to the created document.

{:firestore/add {:path [:my-collection]
                 :data my-data
                 :on-success #(prn "Added document ID:" (last %))}}

Get a document or collection query from Firestore (:firestore/get effect).

You should provide a vector of keywords/strings representing the path under either :path-document or :path-collection. The :on-success callback will be provided with the query result as an argument. The data will be transformed into a clojure object and the keys will be in clojure-style (using-hyphens instead of camelCase).

Querying is full of options. They are documented in full in re_frame_firebase.cljs.

{:firestore/get {:path-document [:my-collection :my-document]
                 :expose-objects false
                 :on-success #(prn "Objects's contents:" (:data %))}}
{:firestore/get {:path-collection [:cities]
                 :where [[:state :>= "CA"]
                         [:population :< 1000000]]
                 :limit 1000
                 :order-by [[:state :desc]
                            [:population :desc]]
                 :start-at ["CA" 1000]
                 :doc-changes false
                 :on-success #(prn "Number of documents:" (:size %))}}

Set up a listener for changes in a Firestore collection/document query (:firestore/on-snapshot effect)

You can use the :firestore/on-snapshot effect for this. It accepts most of the arguments from :firestore/get. You should provide :on-next instead of :on-success, which will be called every time a change happens with the retrieved data as argument. You should pass :on-error instead of :on-failure. (re-frame/reg-fx :firestore/on-snapshot firestore/on-snapshot-effect)

Subscribe to a Firestore collection/document query (:firestore/on-snapshot subscription)

Takes the same arguments as :firestore/on-snapshot effect, except for :on-next, as it is meant to be used as a subscription.

  [:firestore/on-snapshot {:path-document [:my :document]}])

Examples and projects

There are examples provided in the examples folder. It is great to check them in order to get used to the API.

I have a toy project, Trilystro which uses re-frame-firebase. It is an evolving work, so I cannot offer any guarantees that it will always be stable. But, I have tried to keep the code reasonably clean and readable. It will also often be running at


This is a library project. Although it still includes some of the Mies templates's scaffolding for a standalone project, I have not used these features and they may have decayed.

For development, I just include this project in the checkouts directory of a project that uses it.

Then, for deployment, simply:

lein deploy clojars

The rest of this section is Mies boilerplate. Probably all correct, but not necesarily relevant.

Most of the following scripts require [rlwrap]( (on OS X installable via brew).

Build your project once in dev mode with the following script and then open `index.html` in your browser.


To auto build your project in dev mode:


To start an auto-building Node REPL:


To get source map support in the Node REPL:

    lein npm install

To start a browser REPL:

1. Uncomment the following lines in src/re_frame_firebase/core.cljs:
;; (defonce conn
;;   (repl/connect "http://localhost:9000/repl"))
2. Run `./scripts/brepl`
3. Browse to `http://localhost:9000` (you should see `Hello world!` in the web console)
4. (back to step 3) you should now see the REPL prompt: `cljs.user=>`
5. You may now evaluate ClojureScript statements in the browser context.

For more info using the browser as a REPL environment, see

Clean project specific out:

    lein clean

Build a single release artifact with the following script and then open `index_release.html` in your browser.



I can usually be found on the Clojurians Slack #reagent or #re-frame slack channels. My handle is @deg. Email is also fine, or you can report issues or PRs directly to this project.


Copyright © 2017 David Goldfarb

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.

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