Fullstack Magic: Building a Real-time Web Application with React, Next.js, and Firebase

Are you looking to build a real-time web application but don't know where to start? In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the process of building a fullstack web application using React, Next.js, and Firebase. We'll cover everything from setting up your development environment to deploying your application to production.


In order to follow along with this tutorial, you'll need to have the following:

  • Basic understanding of JavaScript
  • Node.js and NPM installed on your computer
  • A Firebase account

Setting up your Development Environment

The first step to building our real-time web application is to set up our development environment. We'll be using Node.js and NPM to manage our project dependencies, so make sure those are installed before getting started.

Next, create a new directory for your project and navigate to it in your terminal or command prompt. Once there, run the following command to create a new NPM project:

npm init -y

This will create a new package.json file in your project directory, which will be used to manage your project dependencies.

Now we can begin installing the dependencies we need for our project. First, we'll need to install React and Next.js:

npm install react next

Next, we'll need to install Firebase. You can do this by running the following command:

npm install firebase

Integrating Firebase into your Application

Now that we've set up our development environment and installed our project dependencies, it's time to integrate Firebase into our application. Before we can begin using Firebase, we'll need to create a project and obtain the necessary credentials.

To create a new Firebase project, navigate to the Firebase Console and follow the prompts to create a new project. Once your project is created, you'll be taken to the project dashboard, where you can view your project's settings and obtain your project's credentials.

Next, create a new file in your project directory called firebase.js. This file will be used to initialize our Firebase app and export it for use throughout our application. Here's an example of what your firebase.js file should look like:

// Import the Firebase SDK
    import firebase from 'firebase/app';
    import 'firebase/firestore';

    // Initialize Firebase
    const config = {
        // TODO: Insert your Firebase config here

    // Export the Firebase app instance
    export default firebase;

In the above example, we've imported the Firebase SDK and initialized our Firebase app instance using our project's credentials. Make sure to insert your own Firebase config object in the appropriate location.

With our Firebase app instance created and exported, we can now begin using Firebase in our application!

Implementing Real-time Updates

One of the defining features of a real-time web application is the ability to update data in real-time as it changes. With Firebase, implementing real-time updates is easy thanks to its built-in support for real-time data synchronization through the Firestore database.

Let's create a simple example to demonstrate real-time updates in action. In this example, we'll create a simple chat application that allows users to send and receive messages in real-time.

First, create a new file in your project directory called Chat.js:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';
    import firebase from '../firebase';

    const Chat = () => {
        const [messages, setMessages] = useState([]);
        const [newMessage, setNewMessage] = useState('');

        useEffect(() => {
            // Create a new Firebase Firestore reference
            const firestore = firebase.firestore();

            // Create a real-time listener for messages
                .onSnapshot(snapshot => {
                    const messages = snapshot.docs.map(doc => ({
                        id: doc.id,
        }, []);

        const handleNewMessage = () => {
            // Create a new Firebase Firestore reference
            const firestore = firebase.firestore();

            // Add the new message to Firestore
                text: newMessage,
                createdAt: new Date(),

            // Clear the input field

        return (
    {messages.map(message => (
  • {message.text}
  • ))}
setNewMessage(event.target.value)} />
); }; export default Chat;

In the above example, we've created a new Chat component that uses the useState and useEffect hooks to manage our state and set up a real-time listener for new messages. When a new message is added to Firestore, our listener will be triggered and update our messages state accordingly.

To use our new Chat component, add the following code to your pages/index.js file:

import React from 'react';
    import Head from 'next/head';
    import Chat from '../components/Chat';

    const HomePage = () => (
My Real-time Chat App

My Real-time Chat App

); export default HomePage;

With our Chat component added to our home page, we can now test our real-time updates by sending and receiving messages in our chat application!

Deploying your Application to Production

Now that we've built our application and tested it locally, it's time to deploy it to production. One of the easiest ways to deploy a Next.js application is to use a platform like Vercel or Netlify.

For this tutorial, we'll be using Vercel:

  1. Create a new account on the Vercel website
  2. Create a new project on Vercel and link it to your project's GitHub repository
  3. Configure your deployment settings and deploy your application

Once your application is deployed, you should be able to access it at the URL provided by Vercel.


You've just built a real-time web application using React, Next.js, and Firebase. We hope this tutorial has been informative and helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy coding!