Despite a huge financial year, Facebook is dealing its developer base a shock by winding down the Parse developer platform over the next year, retiring it officially in January 2017.
Parse is one of the more popular ‘Backend as a Service’ (BaaS) providers, a toolkit and support system for mobile developers known as much for its simple and easy to understand documentation as it is for helping developers build and grow mobile apps. Over 600 000 apps will need to be moved to other services, shaking the trust of the devs behind them.
Those devs will need to start finding new BaaS providers within a year. With a number of other providers who have shut down or changed hands recently, they’re going to be looking for a stable place to take their mobile and connected device applications. People are unlikely to want to put their faith in companies with a poor history of unreliable support.
It’s not the first time Facebook has let down its developer family by making sudden, drastic changes to its developer platforms. The web games platform in 2006 also drew harsh criticism from its user-base when it abruptly changed specifics of what developers could do and how the virality worked.
As an alternative to Parse, IoT data collection and processing platform Buddy (a valued atomix client) has started looking into ways to host the open source Parse server that has been made available. With this new service being hosted in the cloud, Parse developers won’t need to maintain the infrastructure themselves, which was one of the main selling points of the original platform. Buddy are currently looking into ways the features that are natively a part of the Buddy Platform can be incorporated for use by Parse developers as well. That way, they’ll still be able to access the range of features they currently use after migrating to the new system.
It has been a busy few months for Seattle based IOT outfit Buddy, as well as launching on the ASX they have also opened up a brand new office in our home town of Adelaide.
There’s a year-long window to move all the apps to a new BaaS provider or hosting service. It’ll be interesting to see if Facebook’s new developer platform takes off after this bad track record. It’s just another reason why taking your user-base into consideration for business decisions is so important.
If you want to read more about what the shutdown means for developers, these links will give you some extra info.
Facebook to Shut Down Parse, Its Platform for Mobile Developers – Bits Blog, NY Times