Parse will Shut Down their Service
Parse Co-founder Kevin Lacker announced that the Facebook-owned DBaaS platform will wind down its operation to be fully retired at the end of January 2017. This announcement gave rise to many complaints from developers, yet Facebook is trying to make the transition easy and several alternatives are available.
No official explanation has been provided for the decision of shutting down Parse, though Mike Isaac and Quentin Hardy suggested on the New York Times that it might come down to two factors. On the one hand, being Facebook’s business much more clearly defined today than it was at the time of Parse acquisition, in 2013, when Facebook was allegedly “eager to seek out other lines of business in hopes of future profits”; on the other, the difficulty of competing with cloud services offered by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, and the financial and engineering investment it would have required. Facebook spokesman Michael Kirkland partially confirmed this analysis by explaining that Facebook “want to dedicate more resources to high-impact products and services in areas like analytics, monetization, discovery, and authentication”.
Parse, a service that, according to Isaac and Hardy, still has about 15 million customers and powered many mobile apps, including successful ones such as Oculus’, Quip’s, and Orbitz’s, is providing a clear path forward for developers to move their data out and into a different service. As Lacker explained, this includes:
- a database migration tool that enables exporting Parse data so it can be imported into any MongoDB database and a detailed migration guide;
- open sourcing Parse Server, which provides most of the Parse API running on top of Node.js.
As mentioned, developers will have time until end of January 2017 to complete the migration. Still, Parse suggest to stick to a two-step schedule:
- migrating the data to a self-hosted MongoDB server by April 28, 2016;
- finish setting things up and release a new app using the newly hosted Parse Server by July 28, 2016.
Self-hosting MongoDB through Parse Server in undoubtedly the easiest migration path for small apps that do not need a large infrastructure and do not rely on push notifications and analytics, which are not covered by Parse migration plan. Alternatively, developers can modify their apps to use any of Parse competitors, such as apigee, Firebase, Orchestrate.io, Azure, AWS and many more.
You can get a peek into developers’ reactions to Parse announcement by visiting a number of discussions on Reddit and Hacker News. Also, Federico Viticci at Mac Stories compiled a list of some reactions that can be found on Twitter.
My migration recommendation
Goodbye Parse, Hello moBack!
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