Parse is dead, long live Parse!

Parse.com announcement

This isn’t the kind of news I wanted to hear on a Friday morning and it still puzzles me a little?

The news that that Parse.com was shutting down came as a shock to a lot of people, and for me it was a total face-palm moment. We had just finished the build of an Android and iOS app using the Parse platform and this wasn’t the kind of headache we needed.

The feeling of panic hit first… what were we going to do with all the work we had invested into building an application on a platform we expected to last. We’d had to talk the client into using Parse so how would we tell them that it all needed to be changed? Wasn’t going to be an easy conversation (it wasn’t that bad in the end!).

Thankfully over the next few days a series of announcements from Parse gave us some reassurance that they weren’t dropping us without a paddle.

Parse Server

The big relief was that Parse was releasing an open-source version of the API. With a few changes to the mobile application we can continue to use a service similar to what we had as a hosted solution.

Ok, we can cope with that. We’ll be responsible for hosting and backup and all the normal things we do with web applications and APIs we build, so we can handle that. It is costing us a bit more in hosting (we pretty much were always on the FREE tier of the Parse hosted platform), and this has given me a little more understanding of why Facebook decided to drop Parse, hosting that many apps for free wasn’t cheap.

It’s taken a few weeks to mature and get rid of some initial bugs but the Parse Server is good. In fact we can now do more with it then we could on the hosted platform. 

Previously it was very hard to include and use any additional node modules. You couldn’t use a package file to load all the npm’s you might want to use, but now we can.

We’ve spent the last few weeks building our own Parse server to replace the hosted platform in our mobile applications and we’ve been able to improve response time, throughput, reliability & security compared to the hosted platform.

There is a lot of testing still to do, but we are well ahead of our planned rollout and the deadlines given by Parse.

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