The service has built tools to help developers focus on the front-end of their product, while handling all of the messy back-end things like cross-platform compatibility and testing. Naturally, Facebook integration is easier than ever for mobile developers thanks to the acquisition. Its been six years since Facebook’s Platform launched, and during a whiteboard session at its Menlo Park headquarters, the company discussed just how far its come.
Doug Purdy, Director of Product Management, and Mike Vernal of Facebook Platform led the discussion. Ilya Sukhar, who recently joined Facebook with Parse, sat in on the discussion as well.
Purdy set up the conversation about next steps by saying: “We’ve been thinking about how we can provide tools to developers to enable a more cross-platform world. We’re trying to create a platform that developers can build something that spans over devices and makes people the center. Regardless of the device that you or your friends are on, everyone can have a rich experience.”
Sukhar, co-founder of Parse, talked a bit about Parse’s beginnings and day four at Facebook:
If you think about applications broadly, there’s the front-end, and below the hood there’s a lot. The data side, how you sync it back to the server, the databases. None of these things bring value to the users or differentiate apps. Our SDKs make this dramatically easier for everyone.
I was originally building mobile apps myself. I was spending a lot of time building things over and over again, things that were quite hard and painful. It’s time that I could have spent on the actual user experience or the utility of my app. So I decided to build Parse. We’ve grown from one person to 24. Since day one, we’ve had 80K apps, 200M installed apps.
Generally, the community is very excited. All of our metrics are up and it’s been a really fun time.
It’s good news that things are going smoothly, and it’s clear that Facebook sees Parse as a huge part of its developer ecosystem push for the future. As far as new services, Sukhar says the team, which is still operating independently, speaks to developers about what should come next. One of the top features that gets requested is functionality around push notifications and offline mode.
The clear value for Facebook is that Parse’s platform could be the easiest way to urge developers to use Facebook ads. Once you get rid of the complexity of building out a backend for an app, you can pay attention to promoting your app more. Hopefully that promotion will come via Facebook, as Purdy mentioned comScore’s findings that the site is the top way to discover new apps.
On whether less backend worries will lead to more promotion, Sukhar said: “This is something we’ve heard: ‘Parse has done well for me to get things out to market, but now I need users.’ We don’t have anything specific to announce today, but it’s clear that Facebook has the solution.”