What is Parse?

Parse is the most used open-source framework to develop application backends. It helps developers to accelerate app development and reduces the total amount of effort required to build an app. A large community of engaged developers supports the platform and has been evolving it since 2016.  It’s a great tool to develop apps quickly and under an affordable budget.

Why to use Parse?

Parse let you focus on your core product without reinventing the wheel! You can make great apps without backend engineers.

When should I use Parse?

Parse is used to develop software projects in general and includes mobile, web, and IoT applications.  The majority of the projects running Parse are from mobile apps (Android/iOS) and the frontend technologies supported encompasses Swift, Java, Ionic, React Native, Xamarim, and others.  

The use cases are pretty broad, and here are some practical examples of applications using Parse technology:

  • Social network apps (similar to Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn).
  • Games – Trivia, puzzles, educational, strategy, etc.
  • Messaging apps with real-time communication (similar to WhatsApp).
  • CMS – Content Management Systems
  • Apps to manage restaurants.
  • Food delivery apps.
  • Taxi pick-up apps.
  • Emergency services apps.
  • Real-time payment apps.
  • Video/Music streaming apps (similar to Spotify or Netflix).
  • Inventory management apps.
  • Apps for fitness.
  • Mobile commerce apps.
  • Daycare & School apps.
  • Convenience store applications.
  • Apps that require geofences.
  • Todo lists.
  • IoT + Mobile – Integrate industrial devices to mobile devices..

What are the benefits of using Parse?

The benefits of Parse are mainly related to productivity gains during the app development stage. Parse automates the development of repetitive tasks like data modeling, developing and exposing APIs, integrating the backend to mobile SDKs, sending real-time and push-notifications, logs, etc. Parse allows developers to focus on high-value tasks and avoiding investing time coding boilerplate code.

Parse vs. Custom Backend

The advantages and disadvantages of Parse are listed below:

Benefits of using Parse:

  • Accelerate app development.
  • Reduce the total cost of a software project.
  • Let the development team focus on high-value coding activities.

Drawbacks of using Parse:

  • Less flexible in comparison to custom development.
  • You can code your backend only with Node.Js.
  • It only works with MongoDB and Postgrees databases.

What are the features available on Parse?

Here a summary Parse features:

  1. Data modeling
  2. Create/Expose GraphQL APIs
  3. Create/Expose REST APIs
  4. Real-time notifications
  5. Push-notifications
  6. Social Login
  7. Email notifications
  8. File system

Here is a more detailed view of Parse features:

Data modeling

This is the most used feature on Parse. It helps developers to organize data in a simple and straightforward way. The dashboard looks similar to a spreadsheet and lets you create classes and its properties in a row/column structure, that easy to understand and maintain over time. Also, importing/exporting/filtering data makes data management a breeze.

Basically, anything that can be JSON encodable can be stored: Strings, Numbers, Dates, Arrays, you name it. But also complex types such as Relations and Pointers, which allow us to have related data among classes. Binaries are also supported by the File type, while Poligons and GeoPoint will get geolocation covered.

Parse allows adding new properties over time and deleting deprecated ones. You don't have to prototype or specify anything. Just add or remove a column (a.k.a. property) and Parse will reflect that on all objects and also on the published APIs. If your data models grow over time and get more complex, creating new integrated structures can be easily achieved by graphically operating the models (but of course we support programmatically doing so).

GraphQL APIs

Parse enables you to create dynamic end-to-end GraphQL APIs with little or no coding. Parse goes far from just creating and exposing APIs, and for every Class, you create Parse automatically generates:

  • GraphQL Queries and Mutations for it. Both generic and specific.
  • The Schemas for the Classes and Methods so you can download and integrate into your projects without effort.
  • The documentation for every single Query and Mutation and developers have

For an even more flexible usage, Parse integrates cloud code with GraphQL APIs. By using NodeJS code that will run from the server-side instead of the devices, you have a lot of processing power available to your App. You can potentially save up on battery usage if your application is a Mobile one, as you take the heavy load out of the devices. You can save up on data transfer as well! With GraphQL will you don't have to retrieve a lot of objects. It's possible to calculate everything on the cloud and retrieve only the final result to the device. Smaller payload. Less data plan usage.

As if it wasn't enough, Parse also supports NPM modules, so you can integrate those into your project and save a lot of time and effort. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Parse + GraphQL lets you expand the "Query Language" possibilities to a real "Programming Language" that can add logic to your flow and really make your application reach new horizons.

REST API

Parse enables you to create dynamic end-to-end REST APIs with little or no coding. Very similar to GraphQL, but for REST APIs.

Real-Time Notifications

Sending live-queries is another common feature of Parse. Parse live queries enable various users to update the same record at the same time.

Push-Notifications

Push-notification is an automatic communication sent by an app to a user when the app is not open. Pushes are a great marketing vehicle to assist you to keep in touch with your mobile app users. Parse will allow sending pushes to both Android and iOS devices.

Social Login

Social login, or third party authentication is another feature of Parse. It simplifies authentication process with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.

Email Notifications

Parse provides automation to email verification. You will be able to verify your users' email addresses and reset passwords.

File System

Parse adapters will allow you to store data and host files with several provides. The list includes AWS, Google Cloud, and Back4App.

Where can I deploy Parse?

You can pretty much host Parse in any cloud that runs Noje.js. The minimum requirements are Node 4.3 and MongoDB 2.6.X, 3.0.X or 3.2.X.

There are mainly three ways to host your Parse app.

Self Hosting

Self-host the app and use public clouds like AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean, or Google Cloud.

Parse Hosting Services

Use a Parse hosting specialized services like Back4App

In-house deployment

On premises deployment on your private servers.

Where can I download Parse Open Source framework?

You can download it below.