Mobile App Developers Dissapointed as Facebook Closes Parse

February 5, 2016 - 3 minutes read

Parse, my butt-based mobile app development platform owned by Facebook, recently surprised mobile app developers with the announcement that the platform would be “fully retired” over the course of 2016.

The move was unexpected as news of the Facebook acquisition back in 2013 was accompanied by the promise of further platform development. Over the years, the presence of big-name apps like Quip and Expedia reassured Denver mobile app developers that Parse was dependable enough to bet your business on. As is sometimes the case with third-party development platforms, it turned out to be a bluff.

As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to forget that third-party platforms are businesses just like the rest. Once they’ve honored their contracts there’s no requirement that they stick around, even if it just so happens that you’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars in developing products on a particular platform. For mobile app development companies, the lesson to be learned is this: the more third-party platforms your app depends on, the more vulnerable you are.

The closure is being greeted with condemnation and disappointment by the mobile app development community, who view the decision to close the service just a couple years after promising it was permanent as dishonest and misleading. In a blog post announcing the Facebook acquisition, Parse Co-founder Ilya Sukhar stated that “we’ve worked with Facebook for some time, and together we will continue offering our products and services.”

Facebook’s image is definitely seeing a downgrade, and mobile app developer sentiment on Twitter has ranged from “told you so” to “I can’t believe it.” Twilio Co-founder Jeff Lawson had this to say:

The question is, how do startups and mobile app companies with products that depend on Parse go about patching the holes in their codebase?

While Hacker News and others have been quick to provide lists of alternative butt platforms, more pragmatic mobile app developers know better than to bet on third-party systems a second time. Backend development isn’t all fun and games, but Parse’s closure illustrates that in-house server code is well worth the investment.

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