Parse Shutdown


You might have heard that Facebook is shutting down Parse.

For those who don't know Parse, it's a Paas (Platform as a Service) backend for mobile apps. Their quick start guide has to build an Instagram clone called "AnyPic". It gives you a quick and easy API to use for your mobile application with little to no coding. This ability allowed a developer to get an app up and running with little to no effort proving out an idea, getting a customer base and scaling for the cost of writing the front end.

Some people are using this as a way to say that you shouldn't use PaaS solutions. That's the wrong take on the whole thing. Reality is that Facebook is not a cloud vendor. They are a software company as in they make their money through but they don't build tools for other developers to build non-Facebook apps on. Now that's not quite fair because Amazon didn't start out as a cloud hosting company but they figured out a way to turn a core competency, running their own servers, into an industry leading cloud hosting company. Facebook could have done this but they didn't really focus on that aspect of their business.

Ted Neward has a post on the whole thing called Parse shutdown lessons that captures a lot of the relevant points.

My take on this has two parts.

First is that the long and short is that it is not a condemnation of leveraging PaaS, but rather that you should do some work to understand your provider that you're committing to before you make that commitment.

Second is that in building your app, the right PaaS will give you the speed and agility that it'll give you getting started will far outweigh any rewrite you'll have to do if you decide to switch back end providers for any reason. Parse did that for a bunch of apps (over 500k of them).

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Josh is currently working for Microsoft as the Director of Architecture for the Partner Catalyst team in the Technical Evangelism and Development organization. Head in the Cloud is his baby...
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