What is Low-Code?
Low-code refers to development platforms that allow developers to build applications with minimal manual coding. Some of these platforms even provide a visual, drag-and-drop interface for designing and building applications, enabling developers to focus on the core functionality and user experience rather than on the underlying code. Low-code platforms are particularly beneficial for developing MVPs, as they accelerate the development process and reduce the time and resources required to bring a product to market.
Benefits of Using Low-Code for MVP Development
- Speed: Low-code platforms enable rapid application development, allowing developers to quickly create and iterate on their MVPs.
- Cost savings: By reducing manual coding, low-code platforms lower development costs and minimize the need for specialized developers.
- Flexibility: Low-code platforms often support integration with various APIs and third-party services, enabling developers to customize their MVPs according to their needs.
- Scalability: Low-code platforms are designed to support growth, ensuring that MVPs can evolve and scale as needed.
- Easier maintenance: With less code to manage, maintaining and updating MVPs built on low-code platforms is typically more straightforward.
The Parse Platform has emerged as a powerful low-code solution for developers who want to create minimum viable products (MVPs) efficiently. This article will explore the history of Parse, discuss the concept of low-code, and highlight the benefits of using low-code platforms in MVP development. We will also provide a comparison table between Parse and other low-code tools such as Firebase and Supabase and share our own experiences using Parse in multiple projects.
History of Parse Platform
Parse was founded in 2011 by Tikhon Bernstam, Ilya Sukhar, Kevin Lacker, and James Yu. It was designed as a backend-as-a-service (BaaS) platform to facilitate the development of mobile and web applications. In 2013, Parse was acquired by Facebook, which continued to maintain and develop the platform. However, in 2016, Facebook announced the shutdown of Parse. This led to the Parse platform being open-sourced, allowing developers to self-host and maintain their own Parse servers. Today, Parse has a thriving community of developers who contribute to its continued growth and improvement.
Our Experience Using Parse
We have used Parse in several projects, and it has proven to be a valuable tool for rapid MVP development. Parse is easy to set up and use, and its integration with the ExpressJS framework allows for the creation of custom endpoints to support specific logic.
One key advantage of Parse over alternatives like Supabase is that it is a library that can be attached to an ExpressJS application, whereas Supabase is a more comprehensive package that also bundles PostgreSQL. Parse also supports file storage and email integration out of the box, using AWS S3 or GCS for storage and services like AWS SES or Mailgun for email. This built-in functionality makes it simple to integrate these features into your MVP without the need for additional coding or third-party services.
Parse Platform offers numerous killer features that make it a strong choice for developers seeking a low-code, backend-as-a-service solution for building applications. Here, we discuss some of the most noteworthy features that set Parse apart:
- Customizable Backend: Parse allows developers to create a fully customized backend by extending the platform with additional functionality. This flexibility enables users to tailor the platform to their specific needs, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
- File Storage: Parse supports built-in file storage using Amazon S3 or GCS, allowing developers to easily store and retrieve files such as images, videos, and documents.
- Email Integration: Parse provides out-of-the-box email integration with services like Amazon SES, Mailgun, and other SMTP providers.
- Custom Endpoints: By integrating with the Express.js framework, Parse allows developers to create custom endpoints for their applications. These custom endpoints can be used to implement specific business logic or to provide tailored APIs for specific use cases, adding a layer of flexibility to the development process.
- Parse Cloud: Parse Cloud is a serverless environment for running custom cloud functions. This feature enables developers to write server-side logic without the need to manage and maintain their own servers. Parse Cloud functions can be triggered by various events, such as object creation, updates, or deletions, or they can be exposed as custom API endpoints.
- Real-Time Queries: Parse enables developers to create real-time queries with its LiveQuery feature. This allows applications to subscribe to changes in data, enabling real-time updates without the need for manual polling. This feature is particularly useful for building applications with collaborative or dynamic content.
- User Management and Authentication: Parse includes built-in support for user management and authentication, allowing developers to easily implement secure user accounts in their applications. It supports common authentication methods like email/password and third-party authentication providers such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
- Push Notifications: Parse simplifies the process of sending push notifications to users’ devices across multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, and web. Its support for segmented targeting and custom payload helps developers to deliver personalized and engaging notifications to their users.
- Redis and Cache Support: Parse offers built-in support for caching using Redis and other cache storage solutions. This feature helps improve the performance and efficiency of your application by temporarily storing the results of frequently accessed data or resource-intensive operations, reducing the need to repeatedly fetch data from the database or perform complex calculations.
- Open Source and Community Driven: Parse is open-source and backed by an active community of developers. This means that the platform is constantly evolving, with new features and improvements contributed by the community. Additionally, being open-source allows developers to inspect the code, customize it, and even contribute back to the project.
Our experience with Parse also has shown that it significantly simplifies the development process, particularly in terms of backend code. When using Parse, we found that the majority of the workload shifted to the frontend side of the application, with the backend requiring minimal intervention.
Here’s a more detailed look at our experience:
Minimal Backend Code
Parse’s backend-as-a-service (BaaS) model allows developers to focus more on the frontend side of their applications. In our case, we only had a single file containing the Parse configuration, with the platform handling the rest of the backend functionality. This simplified the development process and reduced the amount of backend code we had to manage.
With Parse handling the backend, we were able to concentrate on building the frontend of our applications. This enabled us to create a seamless user experience, as the logic of the app was primarily driven by the frontend code. By leveraging Parse’s SDKs for various platforms, we could integrate Parse features into our frontend code, streamlining the overall development process.
Parse natively supports Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations, which are essential for managing data in applications. This functionality allowed us to easily interact with our application’s data, without the need to write additional backend code to handle these operations. The simplicity of Parse’s CRUD operations made it easy to implement data management features in our frontend code.
Basic and Advanced Querying
Parse provides a powerful querying system that supports both basic and advanced queries. This allowed us to fetch and manipulate data in a flexible and efficient manner, tailoring the queries to meet the specific needs of our applications. With Parse handling the complex querying logic, we were able to focus on building the frontend features that relied on the data retrieved from these queries.
Scalability and Maintainability
Parse’s low-code approach made it easier for us to scale and maintain our applications. As most of the workload was on the frontend side, we could easily make updates or add new features without having to worry about modifying the backend code. This made our applications more maintainable and adaptable to changing requirements.
Parse vs Supabase vs Firebase
When choosing a backend-as-a-service platform, it’s essential to consider the features and capabilities that each platform offers. The following comparison table provides an overview of the key features of Parse, Firebase, and Supabase to help you make an informed decision based on your project’s specific requirements.
So, what’s your favorite low-code tools?
Getting Started with Parse
We created a boilerplate so you can quickly run backend applications using Parse. Check our repository here: https://github.com/8grams/parse-boilerplate
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