Barely a month after Facebook and Parse decided to make all their software development kits (SDKs) an open source program, we questioned the commitment of Facebook to the Parse Developer Platform. Barely four months later, five days ago to be precise, Facebook has in a surprising move, decided to shut down the Parse Developer Platform.
In a blog post titled ‘Moving On,’ Kevin Lacker, Parse co-founder had this to say about the surprising move,
‘We understand that this won’t be an easy transition, and we’re working hard to make this process as easy as possible. We are committed to maintaining the backend service during the sunset period, and are providing several tools to help migrate applications to other services.
First, we’re releasing a database migration tool that lets you migrate data from your Parse app to any MongoDB database. During this migration, the Parse API will continue to operate as usual based on your new database, so this can happen without downtime. Second, we’re releasing the open source Parse Server, which lets you run most of the Parse API from your own Node.js server. Once you have your data in your own database, Parse Server lets you keep your application running without major changes in the client-side code. For more details, check out our migration guide here.’
When Facebook bought Parse in 2013, for a fee reported to be around $85 million, Facebook promised to make it easier for developers to build apps by taking away all the complex aspects of app development. In other words, it promised to stick to Parse’s original mission which is to take care of the complex back-end aspect of apps creation.
But Facebook must have taken this non-interference policy a bit too far. This was what we wrote about Facebook’s commitment to Parse last year,
”The wonder here is why Facebook, two years after buying Parse, is still dragging its feet in terms of commitment. Little things like moving the Parse platform to its own infrastructure would be a confident boost to developers. But ironically, Parse is still hosted on Amazon cloud, Parse’s original home.”
According to the statement shutting down the Parse Developer Platform, the backend support would still be functional till the end of January 2017. This is ostensibly to give shocked developers time to move their works to other platforms. That is a lot of movement to be done because there are over half a million apps built on the Parse devoloper platform.
A drastic policy decision like this is definitely not in the Interest of Facebook long time relationship with developers of apps. It is stating the obvious that future developers would be wary of trusting a company that would just close down its infrastructure. Killing the hopes and dreams of thousands of coders.
So what next for the developers? Big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple also have platforms similar to Parse. As a matter of fact, the Amazon owned Amazon cloud is even bigger than what Facebook had to offer. If some of the coders move over to Amazon, that would be like the prodigal son going back home because Amazon cloud was the original home of the Parse Developer Platform before it was bought over by Facebook.
In the final analysis, it seems what Facebook has done is what big firms do these days: if the profits or expected income from a novel project like the Parse Developer Platform is not worth the expenditure or investment, it is shut down in the interest of the black column of the balance book.