An ominous warning to be sure, but the biggest shakeup in the world of mobile applications is coming on January 28th, 2017 and incredibly, the clear majority of digital marketers and mobile app product managers are blissfully unaware.
In April of 2013, Facebook purchased a modestly-known Silicon Valley startup called “Parse”. Started by former Google engineers, Parse had become the most popular provider of backend cloud server infrastructure that powered mobile apps. By purchasing Parse, Facebook was seeking to grow their footprint in the mobile ecosystem.
Since then of course, Facebook’s mobile footprint has grown to become enormous – most interactions with Facebook are conducted via their mobile app, and so owning Parse became unnecessary. Earlier this year, Facebook announced they were shutting down Parse at the end of January 2017.
The last publicly announced figures reveal that over 1.1 million applications around the world run on Parse. Considering that Google’s Android Play Store is reported to have 2.2 million apps and Apple’s App Store has around 2 million apps, approximately a quarter of the world’s mobile apps will be impacted by the coming Parse shutdown.
The impact will vary depending on which Parse features a given app developer has chosen to use. Many apps use Parse for push notifications, others use Parse for analytics, still more use Parse’s user logon/password/credentials functionality. Parse stores “metadata” for apps and even performs more complex backend processing of data to enable certain app features. All this functionality will break in mobile apps that run on the Parse platform, including a great many high profile mobile apps from prominent brands. Of course, this will cause an enormous disruption as any fixes to revive those applications will need to be subjected to app store review delays (in the case of the Apple app store). Clearly, the best remedy is for those affected apps to migrate to an alternative platform as soon as possible.
The Buddy Platform has stepped up to meet this challenge, and has recently launched a product called “Parse on Buddy”. Parse on Buddy is a Parse equivalent backend platform that has been scaled and hardened to support the needs of the largest mobile applications in the world. Developed after meeting with the Facebook team at their California headquarters, the Parse on Buddy product offers the easiest, most seamless way to migrate a mobile application off Facebook’s platform in advance of the shutdown.
There are three steps to performing a migration from Facebook’s Parse platform to Buddy. The first is simply to create an account on the Parse on Buddy system and within that, create an application. The second step is to provide Facebook with a connection link (found in your Parse on Buddy account) to your new application, after which Facebook begins to copy your application’s database over to Buddy. The final step is to update the code in your application to connect to Parse on Buddy, instead of Facebook. Depending on the size, install base and complexity of your app, this migration may take an hour or a week or more (including extensive testing). Experienced mobile developers are always welcome to create a free account at parse.buddy.com and perform an app migration themselves.
For organizations seeking a bespoke migration of their applications, Buddy has partnered with leading U.K. digital agency, Ngoar, to make the migration of mobile apps to Parse on Buddy as effortless as possible. Ngoar can help identify if your mobile app uses Parse, and then if desired, can advise or even complete the migration for you. Timely, affordable and with first class service, Ngoar is the ideal partner to assist you preventing any fallout from this technology deprecation in January. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next 6 weeks will pass quickly, and with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas and New Year’s all in between, there’s sure to be a flood of last minute migrations and app updates being submitted in mid-late January. Give yourselves an early Christmas present and be prepared come “Appageddon”, and your mobile & digital teams will thank you!