Spring Cloud GCP - Working w/ Google Cloud Firestore & PubSub Emulators

Posted by Misagh Moayyed on March 31, 2023 · 8 mins read ·

The Google Cloud Platform offers two attractive products for cloud-native application deployments:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub is an asynchronous and scalable messaging service that decouples services producing messages from services processing those messages Pub/Sub allows services to communicate asynchronously, with latencies on the order of 100 milliseconds.
  • Google Cloud Firestore is a flexible, scalable NoSQL cloud database to store and sync data for clients and servers. Its data model supports flexible, hierarchical data structures so you can store your data in documents, organized into collections.

In this blog post, we will take a quick look at how to set up a Java application to connect to Google Cloud Firestore and PubSub emulators for local development and testing, using Spring Cloud GCP. There will also be small demonstrations of how to run emulators locally via Docker.

This tutorial specifically focuses on:

  • Docker
  • Spring Cloud GCP 4.1.3
  • Java 17

Running Emulators

To run Firestore and PubSub emulators locally for development and testing, we’ll need to put together a Dockerfile that start off with a base image:

FROM gcr.io/google.com/cloudsdktool/google-cloud-cli:$GCLOUD_SDK_VERSION

Then, we need to install the emulators:

RUN gcloud components install cloud-firestore-emulator beta --quiet
RUN gcloud components install pubsub-emulator beta --quiet
RUN gcloud components update

Finally, we’ll need to provide an ENTRYPOINT for the Docker image to run the emulators:

gcloud config set project "${GCP_PROJECT_ID}"
gcloud beta emulators firestore start --host-port="${FIRESTORE_PORT}" &
gcloud beta emulators pubsub start --host-port="${PUBSUB_PORT}"

You can choose your GCP project ID as well as ports for Firestore and PubSub as you prefer. By default, these typically would be set to 8080 and 8085.

To build the Docker image and run the container, you may use:

docker build . -t my/gcp:latest
docker run --name gcp-server -d --rm -p 8080:8080 -p 8085:8085 my/gcp

At this point, your emulators should be running on ports 8080 and 8085 for both Firestore and PubSub.

Connecting to PubSub

To test and develop against the PubSub emulator, Spring Cloud provides the following properties:


Of course, this is not exactly sufficient mainly because the emulators run on a non-SSL connection and we’ll need to instruct Google Cloud GCP to adjust its communication channel accordingly. This is handled using `` and we’ll need to have one for the publisher transport and one for the subscriber transport:

public TransportChannelProvider publisherTransportChannelProvider(GcpPubSubProperties properties) {
    var channel = ManagedChannelBuilder.forTarget(...);
    return FixedTransportChannelProvider.create(GrpcTransportChannel.create(channel));

public TransportChannelProvider subscriberTransportChannelProvider(GcpPubSubProperties properties) {
    var channel = ManagedChannelBuilder.forTarget(...).build();
    return FixedTransportChannelProvider.create(GrpcTransportChannel.create(channel));

Furthermore, you might need to do the same sort of thing if your application intends to use the PubSubAdmin component. This will have you adjust the topic admin settings so you can query and create topics:

public TopicAdminSettings topicAdminSettings(GcpPubSubProperties properties) {
    var channel = ManagedChannelBuilder.forTarget(...).build();
    var channelProvider = FixedTransportChannelProvider.create(GrpcTransportChannel.create(channel));
    return TopicAdminSettings.newBuilder()

…and finally, we would need to adjust the subscription admin settings so our application can create and query subscriptions:

public SubscriptionAdminClient subscriptionAdminClient(GcpPubSubProperties properties) {
    var channel = ManagedChannelBuilder.forTarget(...).build();
    var channelProvider = FixedTransportChannelProvider.create(GrpcTransportChannel.create(channel));
    return SubscriptionAdminClient.create(SubscriptionAdminSettings.newBuilder()

Connecting to Firestore

This is slightly simpler; to test and develop against the Firestore emulator, Spring Cloud provides the following properties:


Note that Spring Cloud GCP may proceed to create a firestoreTemplate template bean if, among other things, it sees the Flux on the classpath. If you do not need the reactive FirestoreTemplate template, you will need to consider removing the appropriate dependency from the classpath.

Need Help?

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I hope this review was of some help to you and I am sure that both this post as well as the functionality it attempts to explain can be improved in any number of ways. Please feel free to engage and contribute as best as you can.

Happy Coding,

Misagh Moayyed