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Creating a paid R SaaS with Firebase, Paddle and Shiny

Create a template for R users to create paid subscription services for Shiny Apps.


An example is deployed to here:

Login with one of the providers (more are available), use the coupon code "test123" to test the paid subscription service of Paddle. The paid content is a woeful plot.

Many thanks to...

This project is derived from:


  • Firebase auth on login - select which services to support in Firebase UI

  • Once you login but have not subscribed yet - Paddle creates a login button

  • Paddle takes care of subscription and credit card details

  • Subscription appears in Paddle UI

  • If a paid subscriber already - see the great Shiny content

  • User authentication and payment history kept in a Firebase Auth and Firestore

  • Sync between Paddle and Firebase uses a Google Cloud Function in Python3.7

Payment strategy

A diagram on how the app handles payments

Steps to have working demo bootstrap

  1. Download or clone this repository
  2. Create a Firebase account and setup as per - get your firebase API key and project-id
  3. Create a Paddle account and setup and get your Paddle Vendor Id and create a test catalog subscription plan to get a Paddle Plan Id. Its helpful to also create a coupon with 100% discount for testing.
  4. Download a clientId JSON file for your GCP project (same as Firebase project), application type "Desktop app"
  5. Create env args via .Renviron or otherwise:
  1. When you create a Paddle subscription it gives you a productId - this should be unique for each Shiny app and is placed at the top of server.R in the PADDLE_PRODUCT_ID global arg.
  2. Deploy the Cloud Function in payment_app/fb_functions in the same Firebase project via the GCP console. This handles communication between Firebase and Paddle webhooks. You can do this via gcloud functions deploy if you have gcloud installed or copy-paste into the web UI for Cloud Functions.
  3. Create a firebase client auth key with "roles/datastore.viewer" role - with googleAuthR this can be done via:

# creates firebase-reader-auth-key.json file
gar_service_provision("firebase-reader", "roles/datastore.viewer")
  1. Run the Shiny app on http://localhost:PORT to test locally ( doesn't work with Firebase login) - I launch Shiny in Viewer pane then visit http://localhost in my browser
  2. Deploy the test Shiny app in shiny/ with the client auth key and .Renviron in the same folder
  3. See the global.R for the payment functions that are used in the demo app, and you can adapt to your own use:
  • fb_document_get() gets entries to the Firebase database, Firestore
  • usePaddle() is placed at the top of pages you want to use Paddle in, and loads the Paddle JS library
  • pdle_subscribe() creates a subscription button - you can select which product_id, user_id (the firebaseId is suggested), email to pre-populate in the form and the URL redirect that will be visited after payment

Running the payment app

The Shiny App will offer to link to the payment popup via Paddle after login with Firebase Auth. The firebase auth ID is used to verify if the user has an existing subscription, and if not creates a payment button to do so. If a user does have a subscription, then they see the paid content.

If a subscription fails (the credit card is cacnelled or similar) then Paddle updates.

The Firebase databsae "subscriptions" is used to keep track of whether a user has paid or not. The communication between Firebase and PAddle is done via the Python cloud function in the payment_app/ folder - see its README for details.


Bootstrap a paid R SaaS using Shiny, Firebase and Paddle






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