Parse is a cloud-based platform that provides scalable cross-platform services and tools for developers. It lets app developers focus on creating unique and engaging apps without having to worry about server maintenance or infrastructure. It helps build apps easier on any platform. As the saying goes, "Time spent on infrastructure is that you aren't spending building solutions to delight your users/customers", Parse takes care of the underlying infrastructure like servers, networking equipment etc.
Not only building apps, it allows you to take the data that your app generates and take that to cloud to perform advanced analytics on that.
Parse was founded in 2011 as independent company. It raised $5.5 million as venture capital funding to fuel growth. it was named as 50 most innovative companies by FastCompany Magazine. As on 2015, there were more than 500,000 apps built on Parse.
In 2013 Facebook acquired Parse to integrate into broader Facebook portfolio of development platforms.
Parse comprises of 3 major components:
1) Parse Core
• Comprises data store service, mechanisms to manage users. Save data to/from cloud.
• Run custom code on Parse servers.
• Easily create and manage users
2) Parse Push Notifications
Adds real-time messaging to your application. It allows you to stay in touch with your users and makes it possible for your users to communicate with each other
3) Parse Analytics
Provides insights into User interaction on your app. It lets you pull and push data off cloud and runs various Analytics functions to generate valuable insights on your application.
Causing a dent to the party, Facebook announced on January 28,2016 that it's closing its Parse development platform. Though it will operate Parse for an year till January 28, 2017 giving much needed time to developers to migrate their apps to other platforms.
This “Parse Sunset” announcement from Facebook is a huge shock because a large number of iOS, Android apps use Parse as their backend. This includes some big names like EventBrite, Vevo, and even The White House.
While developers are busy migrating their applications' databases, code and APIs, we look at other alternatives that can give flexibility to developers to build robust cross-platform apps without owning hardware and networking infrastructure.
Firebase makes it very easy for developers to build mobile and web apps that store and sync data in realtime. It offers Cross platform real time database and includes authentication and static hosting. This is one of the most popular replacements for Parse. With easy to use SDK and authentication with most popular social networks Facebook, Google, Twitter and collaboration tools like Github and even email makes it even more useful. It even has built-it push notifications.
Launched in 2011, Firebase was acquired by Google in october, 2014. Google integrated Firebase with its Google Cloud Platform.
AWS Mobile Hub
A multi component, integrated platform that helps create, build, test, and monitor your mobile apps that leverage vast array of AWS services. being integrated with AWS services makes it easy to handle tasks like authentication, data storage, backend logic, push notifications, and more in one convenient dashboard. Mobile Hub platform is quite scalable with ability to handle any number of users.
An Apple platform to develop iOS apps, it helps save data and store assets. it was introduced with iOS8. It provides easy options to share data with other iCloud users with its back-end storage service. It's a low cost platform for iOS apps. With CloudKit JS, simple web apps can also be developed. A key benefit of using CloudKit is huge limits of user space.
A player focussing on enterprises. Solutions by Anypresence help organizations by enabling existing applications, systems and data on mobile, scaling out development processes, helps take advantage of cloud and on-premise deployment solutions.
Company was founded in 2011 by executives from SAP, Cisco, Oracle and Siebel
Company was founded in 2006 and later acquired by Axway. It offers cloud services on per seat/month basis.
Their proprietary Backendless Platform is a tightly integrated system designed to streamline and accelerate application development process. Platform is truly Mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) system allowing you to create applications that are scalable, extensible and secure.
Company was founded in 2012, and is considered to be the most powerful mBaaS system.
With 3 proprietary products Built.io Backend for mobile application development. It works as mBaaS system. Built.io Contentstack is content management system that helps deliver content across diverse channels. Built.io Flow is integration-as-a-service platform for APIs that connects entire ecosystem of an enterprise, when it’s needed.
Founded in 2007, Built.io offers a backend that can be deployed on various public clouds.
Offers products in 3 categories. Developer Tools helps you build engaging apps to drive value. It offers services like platform-as-a-service, Faster front-end, Microservices and DevOps. Cognitive Analytics offers services like real-time streaming, data normalization from diverse sources, self service data discovery, big data processing and other tools for advanced analytics. Interoperability Engine connects data from diverse sources.
Company was founded in 2011 that later entered in a partnership with platform as a service (PaaS) provider company Apprenda
The Way Ahead...
How to choose cross-platform for your apps that fits the bill from multiple perspectives?
A few points to take into consideration before embarking on a new platform are:
Longevity: To avoid another Parse-like situation, you may want to look at long term vision of the platform provider. Best way to look at this aspect is to explore providers that are in the business for long time.
For Flexibility and need for control on your own servers, setting-up custom backend is a great option.
For iOS only apps, persistent data and simpler ways to store data and are iOS only, CloudKit is the option to explore.
For flexibility without owning infrastructure, de-facto standard is AWS Mobile Hub.
To get Parse-like experience, Firebase is the best option.