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Terrible news yesterday if you're using Parse for your app's back end. They have announced that the service will be shutting down next year, and I must admit I'm a bit surprised. There's no explicit reason given for the closure but if Facebook couldn't make a service like this work, that's not a great sign for the other companies with similar offerings.

It's always a tricky balance between using a BaaS platform like Parse, or building everything yourself. We're all aware that any service we rely on could potentially go away at any time but there is none more disruptive than your entire back end! On the other side of the argument, you could spend years building everything you need from scratch and completely custom, then have the app not gain any popularity and have it all wasted. It's a tricky problem and there's no right answer.

The only good news here is that the closure period is generous. You've got a year to get your app migrated to something else. There's also a migration tool to MongoDB and even an open source implementation of the Parse server. It's missing features like the dashboard, but once you've got over the bad news at least there's a plan to be made.

So, alternatives? There's CloudKit of course and there's a list of other alternatives also being put together. Or, maybe it's time to build that custom back end?

Obviously for successful apps, they will start this migration straight away and get over to some other solution. That's a much harder decision for a small/less popular apps. Migration of any kind will take significant work and I'd imagine this will kill off quite a few apps when it happens.

Full disclosure: Parse have previously been a sponsor of iOS Dev Weekly on multiple occasions. As far as I know, it wasn't that which caused them to shut down though! 😃

Dave Verwer

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