Parse is dead! What are the possible solutions?
Tldr: Parse.com will be deactivated within a year. Migrating and setting up your own Parse server is the best solution in most cases. The open source Parse server & SDK’s in combination with the great Parse community can replace Parse and go even beyond that.
Wow! Parse just dropped a bomb today! Parse will “move on” and shut down completely within a year, which is terrible news for anyone who ever built apps with Parse! We at Adminca certainly did not expect something like this and are still in disbelief. But hey, the show must go on!
What are your options?
So what can you, along with the other 600,000+ developers, do? Parse announced that they are keeping their servers up and running for another year, until January 28, 2017, which gives you some time to weigh your three options:
- Rewrite your app and connect it to another BaaS or your own server.
- Keep your app and migrate to another BaaS.
- Keep your app and migrate to your own Parse Server.
Rewrite your app and connect it to another BaaS or your own server.
This is the most radical solution. Get rid of everything that reminds you of Parse and basically start over again. This is the cleanest option but it will require a lot(!) of development work. You will have to replace all Parse functionality that you ever included anywhere in your app. At this point it might even be easier to just start again from scratch. Your new or completely re-written app can then be connected to another BaaS or your own server. It’s a lot of development work and you will also have to publish a new version of your app.
This option works best if you have already planned to refactor your app or if your app is still at an early stage.
Migrate to another BaaS
You can move to one of the many other BaaS services (Kinvey, Firebase, Azure Mobile, etc.) that will hopefully stick around a lot longer than Parse did — even though the Parse shutdown sent a negative wave to the sector as a whole.
These services are very excited about your business, because you need to find a replacement to the now defunct Parse. They will all do something like this: since you don’t want to rewrite all of your app code and would like to keep the Parse functionality (login, push notifications, etc.) they will replicate some of the Parse APIs on their side. You will be able to keep your Parse SDK, but it will now point to their API. The requests will be consumed and then transformed to their format. This would allow you to keep your code while using another BaaS. The flip side is that your app now basically consists of a bunch of deprecated Parse functions. Recent features brought to the new BaaS won’t be available to you right away, and over time they will stop supporting Parse’s SDKs.
This option works best if you are looking for a short term solution and don’t want to add new functionality to your app.
Migrate and set up your own Parse Server
Parse released a migration guide, explaining how to migrate your app to your own database and server. They created a migration tool to copy all of your data to a separate MongoDB database. Once the data is migrated and safe on the MongoDB, you need to setup your own Parse Server. Parse released their server as an open source project on GitHub! You can then deploy it to any environment supporting Node.js (e.g. Heroku). The transition from Parse to your own hosted solution will take a substantial amount of development time. Migrating your data and setting up a Node.js server can also be challenging, especially if you don’t deal with backend technology on a regular basis. Note that some of the features that you were used to (push notifications, data browser, analytics etc.) are not yet supported by the new standalone Parse Server.
Like the phoenix, Parse will rise from the ashes.
But we shouldn’t forget the thriving community of more than 600,000+ developers that make up Parse! Since Parse is now entirely open source (Parse SDKs were already open source), app developers keep using this great platform. We believe that Parse.com shutting down is only the beginning of a wonderful open source project that will continue powering millions of apps around the world! The current Parse Server doesn’t support notifications or analytics? Soon it will, thanks to the amazing community!
This option works best if you are looking for a long term solution that doesn’t require you to rewrite your whole app. We hope to see you on the other side of the migration storm!
What will the Post-Parse era look like?
No one can predict the future, but we have a pretty good feeling it will end up like this: The majority of developers will migrate to Parse Server and the community will improve it over time.
Currently, the open source Parse Server already supports a lot of the original Parse functionality! Unfortunately, some of Parse’s features that you loved are missing:
- Config variables
- Data browser
- iOS in-app purchases verification
- Push Notifications
- Schema API
- Welcome and verification emails
- Native Cloud Code modules (Parse image, Mailgun and the likes)
We believe that the Parse Server, with the help of the community, will soon provide most of the missing features. For other ones like analytics or push notification, you can utilize external services such as Google Analytics or MixPanel.
An important piece missing from the original Parse functionality is the data browser. All you are left with right now is the basic MongoDB console. This is where we think Adminca can be very useful to the developers in the post Parse world. We have spent the last three months building a more intuitive admin panel on top of Parse to allow non-technical users to manage data in a simple and safe manner.
We are working closely with all of our existing users to help them make the best of today’s announcement. We will soon make Adminca available for self-hosted Parse Servers, while still supporting apps on Parse.com
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or feedback you might have!
The decision of Facebook to shut down Parse hit many developers hard. But we think it is also an opportunity for the community to work on the open source solutions! We are looking forward to contribute!