Categories: Android / Business / Developers / iOS / Mobile Apps

Just last week, Facebook announced that it was shutting down its mobile backend as a service (mBaaS), Parse. As of January 2017, the backend service will be retired and no longer be available. This comes as a shock for those that have apps or websites built using the quick architecture. Additionally, this causes major re-evaluation to those who are in the process of building a mobile app. You might even be thinking “Why did I even build a mobile app?”.

But, at the end of the day, there is no way around it…

Parse is going away. Now what?

Some questions you might be asking:

  • What do we do now, I’m already setup on Parse?
  • What are the alternatives to Parse?
  • Do I need build my own backend?
  • Why is this happening to me?

As users and promoters of mBaaS, Touchtap is also directly affected by the announcement and asked the same questions. Since the news was released, we have put our heads together to come up with a plan to help our clients migrate their existing Parse infrastructure to the most desirable solution for their product. It requires that you consider a few things.

In light of having to face Parse retirement, are you OK with the risk of continuing to use another mBaaS solution?

If you are OK with relying on a third party, there is nothing wrong with using a mobile backend as a service provider, as it offers many advantages. However, with any solution, there are implications with choosing an mBaaS to consider as well.

  • Pros
    • Cheaper to get a product MVP out the door
    • Third party is responsible for maintenance and feature additions to the backend service
    • Typically very reliable
  • Cons
    • Risk of third party service going out of business and forced migration
    • Migration can be costly, you change to another mBaaS
    • Limited feature set, when compared to a custom backend solution
    • Requires changes throughout your existing app codebase

Does  your product roadmap require scaling or additional backend features on a consistent basis? 

The other end of the spectrum is to build your own custom backend. At Touchtap, we use some of the most popular, stable technologies to build our custom backends – namely, Ruby on Rails, Node.js and/or Laravel. As with the former option, there are pluses and minuses to going this way.

  • Pros
    • More flexibility for adding features and scaling according to product roadmap
    • Solely owned by the product owner
    • Built with robust, proven technology
  • Cons
    • More expensive, as it increases the length of development time
    • Requires specific skill sets to support backend services
    • Requires product ownership of servers
    • Requires changes throughout your existing app codebase

Do I have any other options besides mBaaS or build my own backend? 

Yes! As part of the retirement process, Parse has open sourced their ParseServer implementation, which is based on Node.js. This allows for a full migration of your existing Parse infrastructure, with minimal changes to your app code. Below are our thoughts on this option:

  • Pros
    • Built on reliable backend technology (Node.js)
    • Once launched, you have a fully customizable, scalable backend solution
    • Minimal changes to your apps codebase
    • Less expensive, as developer hours are less with this migration
  • Cons
    • Requires product ownership of servers
    • Requires specific skill sets to support backend services

Are you a Parse user needing your backend migrated? We offer these three migration services at Touchtap, which allow you to choose which best fits your business and product roadmap. Let’s get started mapping out your migration today before January 2017 comes near!





Touchtap is a digital agency specializing in mobile-first development.We can build your mobile app for you.

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