Parse – Lessons Learned

Well damn.  If you wander to the “Projects” section of this website you will see my Android apps are all Parse-based.  If you are a Parse user yourself, you are probably now aware of today’s announcement.  This sucks.

I chose Parse because it was straightforward.  I wanted to spent my time developing my app, not deploying, updating, migrating, and whatever else-ing a database on my server.  Parse allowed me to do that, pretty easily.  There was some headache with earlier versions of Parse which required a Javascript middleman between the app and the database to perform certain queries, but hey, any chance to brush up on a rarely used language isn’t that bad.  I then went through the pain of upgrading my apps when they put the API through a fairly major overhaul.  It was worth it because it allowed me to ignore that entire side of the app.  My data would be sitting on a Parse sever and would be easily accessible, no worries.

Now that is going away.  Parse is officially recommending a slow migration to a MongoDB setup followed by a hosting switch where you can run the new open source Parse Server to connect to your fancy new MongoDB instance.  Blerg.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do, I like the fact that I have working apps available, but they aren’t exactly tearing up the Google Play store rankings, so I have to decide what level of effort is acceptable to support essentially unused apps.

The lesson here, I guess, is to be weary of anybody offering you a sweet free service.  Or, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Or something else, I don’t really know.  For now, I’ve got a year to switch away from Parse or let my apps die a slow, quiet, unnoticed death.

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