If you’re in any way involved in technology, you probably heard that the popular PaaS / BaaS platform Parse, owned by Facebook, decided to shut its doors. Developers have until January 28th 2017 to move their stuff.
This was quite a surprise to me personally and professionally.
Personally, I love Parse. It’s a superb tool for rapidly building web and mobile applications whereby you can focus on the client application and not carry the overhead of the full backend development when starting something new. It’s easy to use, feature rich and performs really well.
Professionally, Parse was both a service we aspired to be like in many ways and also referenced as the “competition” with our efforts at Nuwe. We foresaw that Parse could indeed have an interest in the same vertical (health) that we were interested in.
I was introduced to Parse CEO and co-founder Ilya Sukhar by friends from Prediction.io. We exchanged a few emails last year about his learnings creating Parse and to understand Parse’s potential interest in our segment.
We are looking at IoT as a category of developers we want to support better. We aren’t taking a verticalized approach to it so I don’t expect us to do anything health or fitness specific. We do want to enable Parse to run on the multitude of devices that are cropping up, though.
OK, so for what it’s worth, Health wasn’t specifically on their radar.
Moreover, when asked about the Health Apps that have been built using Parse…
I don’t know all the health related apps offhand. Why do you ask? We’ve seen moderate growth but there’s not a lot of big success stories out there driving more folks to jump in like there are in gaming, social, dating, etc.
So, for me this was a positive feeling that we could work with Parse and not against them. What Parse does so well at a generic level, with their mainly key-value data store based Core service, the easy setup of native Push Notifications, the ability to write & run custom scripts in CloudCode, their numerous mobile and web SDKs (which they would subsequently open-source) is an incredibly powerful resource.
I would rather avoid redoing all that great work and instead concentrate on adding functionality that would be valuable to our customers, but whilst Parse was an unknown entity in terms of Facebook’s long term strategy and intentions for the business, the risk was evident.
And so, whilst personally shocked at Facebook’s decision, I’m professionally over-the-moon. A fully open-source Parse is something I can get behind. I can contribute to and our customers can benefit from when coupled with the extended Nuwe platform.
So, a few weeks ago, we set about bringing Parse Server into Nuwe as a service. Integration is going well and we’re already starting to use it internally for apps we’re developing.
Here’s how it’s going to work…
Once you have a Nuwe account and an App created in your account, you will have access to the Parse Service.
A single flick of the switch is all it takes to give you your own hosted Parse-Server.
When you do this, Nuwe will do the following:
- Create a Parse Server model for your App. This will issue your Parse-Server tokens.
- A Parse-Server instance will be setup for you from our Docker Manager.
- A unique port will be created to our Parse MongoDB instance.
From here, you now have access to a completely isolated Parse-Server instance and access to the database cluster.
This is all completely isolated from our core Nuwe server and the Nuwe core database which powers all of our main API endpoints.
You will now be able to follow the appropriate Parse quickstart guide for your chosen platform, using the latest Parse SDK’s which give the ability to change the server url to your Nuwe Parse-Server.
When Should I Use This?
As I mentioned earlier, the use-case for Parse and the use-case for Nuwe are ultimately different:
- A single federated User identity
- Defined data structure for Health and Wellness data with ontologies
- Server level automated integration with 3rd Party Health Apps, Wearables and Sensors
- Higher level security and encryption for sensitive personal data
- Granular permissions and scoping of data access for users data
- User convenience model (PFUser)
- Key-value data store for arbitrary / custom classes e.g. general app / business data
- Fast read-write speeds
- Robust SDKs for rapid app development
- Create your own rest API structure
When used together, as we intend them to be, we have a powerful toolkit for building new health apps in a way that clearly differentiates between general application data and potentially sensitive User health data.
Well, we’re still developing the feature, but most pressing are:
1. Fully automated Parse-Server deployments
As of today, we still have to do the last deployment manually
2. Data Browser
We have already been busy building our own Parse-like data browser. so we are in a great position to very quickly have a similar service available to users who appreciated the content-editable data browser in the Parse platform that is sadly not included with the open source Parse server.
3. NUUser to PFUser compatibility
For apps using the NUUser, to have access to all the PFUser methods and just as easy to use NUUser methods without having to manage multiple User object types.
I’ll keep you updated on our progress with developments of this exciting new feature on the Nuwe platform and if you have any thoughts or suggestions on what you like to see, join the conversation.