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The Future of Parse (parse.com)
85 points by ninthfrank07 1520 days ago | hide | past | web | 39 comments | favorite

Parse was an interesting, exciting service; now it's not.

And, I have a hunch that all that stuff on their blog about how nothing's gonna change is even more bullshit than it usually is when a cool startup gets acquired by a walmart. Because since it's Facebook buying them, Parse isn't going to get most of the future customers they might have gotten.

Most developers probably understand at a visceral level that using Facebook as the opaque backend provider for your customers' private information would be like using Oracle as your open-source community relations manager, or using McDonald's as your nutritional consultant.

Agreed. I'm now really glad I didn't choose to use Parse for an upcoming project -- I seriously considered it.

I do think there is now a particularly acute need for an open source project that implements Parse's REST API. Maybe a Python project using Flask? If I had the time...

I'll say congratulations to the individuals who helped build Parse and show everyone good developer docs.

As a user of Parse, I'm done. I have zero confidence that the service will continue as is for very long, despite the best intentions of the original team. Biggest concerns are requiring FB auth, FB's flippant attitude towards privacy, and the engineering culture mismatch.

Ilya Sukhar specifically cited the culture compatibility as one of the reasons they chose Facebook. I'm curious about why you think that there is a culture mismatch.

I think it's similar between the culture compatibility of Instagram and facebook. They became culturally compatible because the main people involved in the company being acquired adapted their ideals to become a part of the acquiring company for a giant payoff, big whoop.

Well, actually Facebook choose them. And lots of money were involved. So we can all be cynical to the "culture compatibility" thing.

He said they had multiple offers and chose Facebook partly because of compatibility. Maybe that's not actually true but I didn't make it up.

No, I didn't say you made it up. I'm saying even if they said it we can still be cynical about it.

Fair enough.

Facebook is perfectly willing to release "features" of unknown quality to the user population. The developer documentation&communication is still awful (instead of outright misleading as it was a couple years ago).

This seems completely counter to the way Parse has operated so far. Perhaps on a personal level it's a great fit, but in operation? Doesn't seem like it.

(FB tool here) How can we make our documentation & communication not awful?

I will admit this may have changed in the past 8? months, but the last couple experiences I had on different platforms was headache-inducing. Search (on FB docs) would turn up examples for X that just did not work. It didn't seem like the reference examples were tested when the API was updated. Blackhole/flag any examples that fail. The only thing worse than no docs is misleading docs. Another annoying event was app settings would vanish when submitting.

Edit: Okay, I went over to the developer site and it looks like things have improved more from the docs side. Progress! Can you say with certainty all the new examples work?

I'd hate to make a guarantee I couldn't stand by. Let me say this: they're all supposed to work - if you find some that are b0rk3d, please let me know and we'll fix/remove them.

Make it more like the Parse documentation.

Looking at all these comments has me wondering: Why is it that as soon as a startup is acquired we immediately abandon it as if it's going offline tomorrow? I first remember noticing this when FriendFeed was acquired. As soon as I read the news, I quit using it. I checked back about a week later and sure enough, the only ones using it were blogs like TechCrunch.

Any ideas why we (that includes me) behave this way?

Parse becomes one of the many strings to Facebook's bow. Parse by itself was a single very good offering. Facebook can now "sunset" Parse whenever they feel like it. My feeling is that Facebook bought Parse for the talent and the mobile knowledge, and not the product itself. I see the Parse engineers being moved out to help Facebook's real mobile strategy move forward. I may be proved wrong, but I'd be scared to invest my entire business on a backend I don't control. I'd be shit-scared to invest my entire business on a backend controlled by Facebook.

Facebook have shown time and time again that they do not care about the privacy of their users. They are not going to get that trust back any time soon. In my opinion the assumption that they could "get away with it" was a long term bad mistake on Zuckerberg's part.

As an aside, I don't post on Facebook anymore once I realised that my deleted data was not really deleted. Even today, almost a year and a half after deleting all my posts, check-ins and photos, my profile still shows 3 "hidden" check-ins. Until a few months ago, a "deleted" (a.k.a hidden) album was still showing in the album count. Facebook has a few bugs when they do their entity counts, which show up their logical rather than physical deletes. Sorry, but when I delete something, I expect it to be deleted, not just marked as deleted.

I don't trust them as far as I can throw them, and I really can't throw a 8000 lb gorilla very far.

My guess is that startups mostly are about users. Great and innovative service, good support and energy. As soon as some big company acquires it, they start pushing things down your throat you may not like. A small company can't abuse you in that way since they must hold on users with both hands to survive. Big companies can't care less about you and they have the $$ to live just as well without you.

What are alternatives to Parse?

This acquisition just created a better opportunity for a new player. I for one cannot trust Facebook's handling of their data- let alone my apps data.

If you want to control your own data, we are building a synchronizing database for mobile https://github.com/couchbase/mobile

This isn't a full backend as a service, but for data storage we are hoping to hit a good 80% point where folks can use Couchbase Lite and pretty much just rely on their mobile app chops / not have to worry about the backend.


Parse is hands down the best of the bunch, though.

Firebase and Stackmob, to name two. Stackmob even has a big "Migrating from Parse? It's quick and painless..." hero banner on their home page today.


Just means that now I have to look elsewhere or roll my own cloud data store and push proxy. It is a small inconvenience, but not something insurmountable.

Congrats to the great team at Parse!


Because they made an awesome product and deserve this maybe.

Im curious as to why an acquire is celebrated. My feeble mind sees this as a success if the original product was the business nd not the offering.

I've never seen it put more bluntly and truthfully than "the original product was the business." I always find it creepy to see all these founders and investors and Y-Combinator folks patting themselves on their backs for a hefty exit. It's like saying "well done gentlemen, we fooled them all the way through." Since I have been aware of this, I have decided I don't want investors meddling around in my decisions, or if I even want a business at all. Open source projects seem like a more honest and longterm way to champion a product that I truly care about (which is not the case with most of these "startup guys".) Having a successful business seems to always devolve into just making more and more profit, and those interests permeate back into every decision. Which is why people are so worried about Parse's future with Facebook, and what's also happening to Google in ever increasing levels now with G+. I look up to Mozilla these days, hope they don't fall off the deep end with Mozilla Corp's Firefox OS.

You may also develop a commercial product and still care about it. Profit does not mean a product is doomed to be milked. Its the attitude of the business towards that product. In case of Parse, I always thought they would strongly grow into an independent companny. Maybe bought by someone else, though not Facebook.

Another point is that developing businesses as products is aslo neccesary. This allows bigger companies with cash flow but without the talent to simply shop around for their next offering.

Isn't that almost always the case with startups?

Very few care deeply for the original product -- just as much as needed for the eventual payoff. If they did they wouldn't let it dissolve into the hands of some humongous company like Google/Facebook et al (especially since 9 out of 10 of such acquisitions end with the product being halted).

Sometimes the original thing isn't even a product. It's a bunch of free stuff offered to get as many users as possible that could never stand of it's own (no monetization options) and only a acquire could save it (the buying company can then use it as a acqui-hire, to get some press and street cred, to build something else, as part of a larger, different offering, etc).

Sometimes caring deeply for the product means you need help to get it where it needs to be, and sometimes getting it where it needs to be means being acquired by another company to help get it there.

If the second thing happened a lot I'd agree. But I don't know many cases where the product doesn't either halt, or degenerate rapidly after being acquired by another company.

I'm sure one can think of one or two such cases. But can they think of ten?

So that reasoning I don't think applies. The founders know that the product will go down the drain post acquisition, but they still do it for the money.

Parse is a great service. I can only assume the team is as awesome as their product. Fingers crossed some of the Parse approach to product and developer service rubs off on facebook. Well I guess buying the company they want some of the developer love Parse has.

>Fingers crossed some of the Parse approach to product and developer service rubs off on facebook

That'd be like boiling the ocean.

Hah hah, good one.

I guess Facebook wants Open Graph (and their other APIs) to eventually be the primary backend for apps. Makes sense.

I don't believe it's gonna roll that way with developers. They want full control and access to their data and Facebook is not the kind.

Facebook are stepping into new (for them) territory here. Unless this is an acqui-hire, it may be an "X isn't shutting down" statement I can believe.

Not really, I don't think Instagram is being shut down any time soon. Unless you are talking about then running a subscription service as new ground?

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