Facebook’s last big f8 conference was in September 2011. It wants to get closer to developers, though, so its recently acquired mobile app backend-as-a-service Parse will hold Parse Developer Day on September 5 in San Francisco. Tickets to Parse’s first conference are on sale to the public, and all proceeds go to the CodeNow charity. Parse and Facebook engineers will be on hand to give devs a leg up.
Developer conferences have become a popular way for tech companies to make major announcements, rally and assist their developer community, and wine and dine potential clients. Parse Developer Day could accomplish all those without bringing the scrutiny a Facebook-branded conference would invoke.
Facebook has been focusing on the consumer experience over the last year, switching its mobile apps from HTML5 to faster native code, and launching Graph Search, the news feed redesign, and Facebook Home. It’s likely waiting until it has a big wealth of developer-focused announcements to drag the coders out of the cave. At its last f8, it launched the Open Graph platform for automatic sharing to your then-new Timeline.
Facebook acquired Parse in April. The startup, now rolled into the Facebook Platform as its first paid service, makes it easy for developers to host and manage the backend of their mobile apps. Parse makes it easier to keep track of logins, release new features, and send push notifications. Upon acquisition it supported 60,000 apps, swelled to 80,000 in the following month, and had 100,000 by June.
The conference at SF’s Marriott Marquis, currently selling early bird adult tickets for $55, will give all the proceeds from ticket sales to CodeNow.org, which promotes engineering education among urban youth. Obviously, the plan isn’t to make money on the conference directly. Instead, Parse wants to teach its clients the best ways to use its platform and recruit some new developers to pay its monthly subscription fee, too.
Parse founders Ilya Sukhar, James Yu, and Kevin Lacker will speak, there will be sessions for beginner and advanced Parse users, and partners including Microsoft, Twilio, and SendGrid will lead sessions.
The idea for Facebook seems to be that if it can help developers via Parse, they might be more likely to build in Facebook’s identity and sharing options, and buy its app install ads for gaining new users. Parse might give some insight into the synergies of working with its parent company and how it will integrate with the Facebook Platform. That might include native Parse plug-and-play options for installing the Facebook mobile SDKs and purchasing ads.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if Parse announced it had hit 100,000 developer clients.