Please describe your organization.
ClearSummit is an end-to-end mobile and web application shop that helps our clients take their ideas from concept to completion. We also work with enterprise companies to fill silos inside in their organization, such as rounding out their iOS or Android development teams.
What is your position?
I'm the lead engineer and creative director at ClearSummit.
Briefly describe the kind of customer that should or should not use Parse.
The ideal customer for Parse I think would be someone looking to build an MVP [minimal viable product] or prototype, trying to get something out there quickly. It is also probably good for somebody who is not fluent in back-end languages. A good fit for Parse would be a front-end iOS or Android programmer, who knows they need a server for their database, but aren't fluent in those languages, so they want an app with a built in back-end that can do that for them. Conversely, I'm a full-stack developer so for me not being able to control the server to the granularity and level that I want to is a major drawback for me. When I look at it at scale, Parse is going to cost much more than it would to just build this back-end yourself for any large-scale app and you don't have nearly the customization options.
Overall, I would say it's good for somebody who's looking for an MVP and doesn't know back-end languages. If you know back-end languages, you're probably going to have to pull it off Parse at some point, due to cost restrictions or just growing architecture and a desire to control more of your own architecture.
Have you had to interact with the Parse support teams or referenced their support resources?
With Parse, we haven't delved into their support as much. Much of what we've done is read their documentation and used back overflow and all the typical sources. There's definitely many people out there who use Parse. There's a lot of information you can get around it, and it's just a Google search away.
Could you briefly describe a past implementation of Parse?
We used Parse to build an MVP, and we thought that we were going to be able to undercut the amount of hours it would take to do the server back-end, set up a few API [application programming interface] endpoints, by using Parse, which would save our client a lot of money. It ended up being the converse of that. It took longer to use Parse, partially because it was our first project with Parse. There was a bit of a learning curve, but also because we needed to more than what Parse could handle.
One successful implementation of Parse, was an MVP where we needed the app to be able to broadcast messages to the entire user base. It was incredibly easy to build and gave the client a great idea of how the app could function.
What are some of the best features of the Parse platform that really impressed you?
As a platform, I'm impressed from an engineering perspective with what they were able to build. It makes back-end programming much more accessible to people who maybe are only familiar with front-end mobile programming, so it opens up a whole other world to these programmers who would just be isolated otherwise. It gives them much more reach.
Are there any areas of the platform upon which you feel Parse could add to or improved upon?
My main problem with Parse is that there's a certain level of domain knowledge that comes with it. It's not simple to just add it in and go, which is the goal for these types of platforms. There are nuances in Parse, and there's definitely a pretty hefty documentation set, but I suppose that just comes with the territory with what they're trying to accomplish.
Could you give some overall recommendations for customers or developers who are considering developing on a cross platform?
If you build a cross-platform app, inevitably at some point if your company grows and scales, you will probably be taking it native on iOS and Android. You can look at Facebook, and you can look at LinkedIn. They all try to do some sort of hybrid approach, and they ended up going native at the end. Instagram does this mix between native and some web use.
We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate the platforms on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score. What would you give Parse for functionality of the features available?
Three and a half.
What would you give Parse for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?
Three and a half.
For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?
For overall satisfaction with the platform?
Three and a half.
How likely are you to recommend Parse to a colleague or similar business?
Two and a half.