Managed Parse Server

Managed Parse Server
Managed Parse Server

Reading this article you will learn the benefits of using a managed Parse Server provider vs. the Open Source framework, the productivity gains Parse framework provides to developers, the categories of apps you can create using Parse, and the most important features of managed Parse platform.

What is Parse?

Presently, Parse is the leading open-source framework that powers application backend.  It creates values for developers by simplifying complication programming tasks and expediting the development process. Since Parse was made open-source in 2016, Parse users have enjoyed support from the active Parse community, which is waxing stronger by the day. Parse presents developers with a cost-efficient way to create apps quickly and efficiently. Better still, you can use a managed Parse Server, so you don’t have to bother about the backend at all. 

Why Choose Parse?

With Parse, you can focus on developing your core products and leverage server codes to perform everyday tasks.  In fact, with a managed Parse server, you do not need backend engineers to make awesome apps.

When Should I use a Managed Parse Server?

Parse is an excellent platform for developing applications in general. You can use Parse to make web, mobile, or IoT applications. However, most developers use managed Parse servers to create Android and iOS apps. Better still, you can use a wide range of frontend technologies with a managed Parse server. For instance, you can choose to create your frontend with Swift, React Native, Java, Xamarin, Ionic, and many others.  

What Apps Can You Do with a Managed Parse Server?

  • Social network apps like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
  • Games apps such as trivia, educational, puzzles, strategy, etc.
  • Real-time messaging apps like WhatsApp.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Business management apps such as a restaurant.
  • Food delivery apps.
  • Taxi pick-up apps, like Uber.
  • Emergency services apps.
  • Real-time payment integration apps.
  • Video/Music streaming apps such as Netflix and Spotify. 
  • App for managing inventory
  • Fitness apps
  • Mobile commerce apps.
  • School  & Daycare apps.
  • Convenience store applications.
  • Apps with geofences features.
  • Todo lists apps.
  • IoT apps that use a mobile app to control/monitor sensors.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Managed Parse Server Backend?

Enhanced productivity during app development is the most significant advantage of using Parse. You can automate everyday tasks with a managed parse server. For instance, data modeling, integrating the backend with mobile SDKs, developing and exposing APIs, sending real-time and push-notifications, event logs, and many others become seamless. So, you don’t have to waste time coding boilerplate, you can focus your attention on creating a function that gives your app unique values.

Backend as a Service vs. Custom Backend

The following are the merits and drawbacks of using BaaS

First, here are the benefits:

  • Faster app development
  • The cost of a software development project is reduced significantly.
  • The development team can focus on core frontend coding without distractions.

The drawbacks of BaaS are as Follows

  • The development process would be less flexible.
  • Only node.js cab be used for backend coding.
  • It is compatible with only MongoDB and Postures databases.

Let’s discuss the other features that a managed Parse server hosting offers developers.

Managed Parse Server Features

A Multitenant Dashboard 

This is a versatile dashboard that allows you to create mobile apps with just a few clicks of the mouse.  This panel is an integral part of the Back4apps server infrastructure. So, a multitenant dashboard is an integral artof every managed Parse server subscription. 

The multitenant dashboard automates app creation requirements, such as the creation of databases, security settings, and backup routines. All of these procedures take less than two minutes. That is why the managed Parse server is a preferred way to create scalable apps.  It would take a couple of hours to achieve all these objectives mentioned above on a self-hosted Parse server.

Parse Multi Tenant Dashboard

The multitenant dashboard is handy when creating apps for:

  • Restaurant management,
  • Fitness center management,
  • Convenience store management,
  • Any SaaS system that automates deployment procedures

With the Back4Apps managed Parse server, the user can create new Parse apps through API and automate deployment.

Parse New App
Parse Creating New App

Clone and Transfer App

Do you need to transfer an app to a new owner or clone an application? Then the managed parse server can make the procedure hassle-free, saving your precious time.  All you need to transfer an app with its source code, app files, and database is just a few clicks.  On a stand-alone server, the procedure entails copying database and files, generating new security keys, and installing Parse. All these hassles are bypassed when you use a managed Parse server. 

This feature would come handy for:

  • Development companies that must transfer apps to the owner.
  • Creation of staging and development environment.
  • Duplicating apps is a stable manner.

The procedure for cloning and transferring an app on a Managed Parse server is described in this article Clone/Transfer Parse App.

Admin Panel

The Admin Panel presents the user with a user-friendly interface accessible through a web browser.  It is an integral part of the Back4apps dashboard.  The interface allows the user to generate user login with the required access control automatically.

From here, the user can perform data management operations through a non-technical interface.  Database-related tasks such as creation, reading, updating, and deletion of data can be executed from the interface.

This link provides additional details about the Back4apps managed Parse server Admin Panel Parse Admin App.

Parse Administration Panel
Parse Admin Panel
Parse Admin Panel
Parse Admin Panel

Scalable Push Notifications

The opensource version of the Parse Server is not the best platform for sending Push Notifications when the number of mobile devices is running to 5 figures. Your self-hosted Parse server would likely suffer while trying to send push notification to connected devices in their thousands.  However, the Hosted Parse Server at Back4spps uses scalable infrastructure that can handle missions of push notifications concurrently.

Platform Control

The fact is that a self-hosted Parse does not give more control over a Managed Parse Server. In fact, at Back4apps, the level of control accessible to users is similar to a self-hosted service.  Here is a brief overview of the control features available to users.

  • Environment customization.
  • Customizable security settings.
  • Server administrative privileges.
  • Install and use monitoring tools. 
  • Customizable privacy settings.
  • Host database or files on your premise or in the cloud

Parse Version Management

One of the unique benefits of using the Hosted Parse server of Back4apps is that you get the latest version of the framework  updated without hassles.  Moreover, you have the flexibility of choosing when to apply the upgrades and can decide to use different versions of Parse Server for some of your apps. In essence, you can run different versions of Parse for various apps.

Here is an outline of the benefits of versioning:

  • You can run tests on a development environment before deciding to upgrade the framework for production.
  • Schedule upgrades efficiently.
  • Run different version of Parse on various apps.

This article explains more about the Back4app version management:

 Manage Parse Version

Read Logs

The opensource Parse framework only stores a single type of log, which is server logs.  The logs are accessible to the user by copying out the log files from the server.  On the other hand, the managed Parse server of Back4app gives the user access to three types of logs from a user-friendly web interface.

The logs available to Back4pp users include the typical server logs, request logs, and an interface for accessing console logs through a web browser of CLI.  Back4apps request log features include details such as with total requests, execution time, date/time, bytes quantity in and out, and URL for each request. It even shows sow requests so that the user can fine-tune the app to increase performance. 

API Interface

The user can access an API documentation tool that helps augment the development experience.  For instance, Back4apps would provide documentation automatically for every object that you saved in your database.  The user can see code snippets for:

 

Parse API Reference
Parse API Reference

The backend programming languages and also view sample codes and responses.

This article sheds more light on the  API Reference.

Collaboration

It is common knowledge that successful app projects require teams to work together. If possible, avoid handling all the app development tasks on your own. The Self-hosted Parse has features for team collaboration, but it is quite limited. For instance, an app owner can assign collaborators to an app development project, but there is no option for setting the permission levels. Therefore, the access level of such a collaborator would be unlimited. This kind of setting is undesirable.

However, with back4apps, developers can establish a well-defined collaboration that assigns the required permission for each developer working each app. Better still, Back4app creates accounting logs for every action performed by a privileged user on the platform. Such features are useful for auditing when the need arises. 

  • Software development companies that have teams working on a single project.
  • Startups that use freelancers to execute their application development projects.
  • Application development teams

Click on this link to learn how to Add collaborators to your Parse app.

CLI – Command Line Interface

The Command Line Interface (CLI) of Parse and Back4app are not precisely the same. The Parse interface allows the user to create a new app on a local server.  The CLI of Back4app provides additional features such as cloud app deployment, log management, and multitenant apps. 

Parse CLI
Parse CLI

The Parse CLI documentation provides more information about CLI feature.

CDN – Content Delivery Network

CDN is useful for reducing latency and improving app performance.  Managing an app that has a global audience is a bit complicated with the Parse opensource. It requires installing Parse on your ow server, after that, you’ll have to connect the API and files to a CDN service such as Cloudflare or CloudFront. You have to repeat this process for every app you create. On the other hand, the hosted Parse server on Back4App provides CDN feature by default. Therefore, content is automatically distributed globally for every new app you make.

Cache

At Back4App, we are presently running a beta-test of our Parse API caching system. We invite all owners to apply for the beta test program and boost their app performance. You are free to apply for the beta-test whether your app is hosted at Back4App or on other hosting solutions. This caching feature would enhance your app performance and reduce server costs. Kindly send an email to [email protected] to learn more.

Automated Backups

Data is one of the most critical aspects of any app. That is why every mission-critical app would need to create a backup system to handle contingencies.  Seasoned app owners would prefer to use incremental backup systems to minimize the cost of storage and data transfer. Managing all these functions on your own can be time-consuming. However, with the Back4App managed Parse hosting, you get all these features out-of-the-box. You can recover your data on the fly.

Index Manager

There are many benefits associated with indexing a database. It makes it easy to fetch data from the backend, you get query results faster and improves the overall database performance.  Unfortunately, the Parse opensource lacks this feature, but you get access to the Index Manager when you use managed Parse hosting from Back4App.

Data Replication & Redundancies

Every online platform needs a reliable server with maximum uptime guaranty. That is why you need to create a database and application server redundancies to maximize uptime. Luckily, the opensource Parse server has excellent support for these features. So, you will have to configure a load balancer, two application instances, and a replica sets running two database instances. 

Parse Architecture

Although setting up these functions is not overly complicated, it takes time. Unfortunately, the feature is not scalable. However, with the Back4App managed Parse hosting service, scalable data redundancy and replication are an integral part of our service offering. 

Monitoring & Control

If you have a self-hosted Parse server, you may have to configure an alarm system on the server to monitor it around the clock. This type of alarm can be an email notification, or better still an SMS. Each time the server has a specific threshold, it triggers the alarm. Rather than wasting your time on the task of configuring this kind of signal, you can get it out of the box with the Back4App managed Parse server.  Moreover, our support teams are on the ground to monitor alerts around the clock.

Auto-scalable infrastructure

It is typical for the load on an app to vary at different times of the day. You must either configure your server cluster for maximum workload or take the cheaper route to make it scale automatically. This is how to take care of your app users during the high traffic hours, 

Implementing such designs can be complicated based on the size of the application and the rate at which it scales during the day. Creating autoscaling server configuration would take a chunk out of your productivity time.  The standard implementation of Back4App managed Parse hosting takes care of autoscaling needs automatically.

Multi-factor Authentication

Although the Parse opensource does not provide support for multi-factor authentication, you will have to find a way to implement this on your self-hosted server. However, we’ve added this feature for the users of Back4App managed Parse serve. In fact, two-factor authentication is available to Back4App users by default, it is not an add-on feature. This is another advantage of using managed Parse server. This article discusses more on Parse Multi Factor Authentication

Security Settings

Every online application must take elements of security seriously. In the case of Open Source Parse framework, the administrator must be versatile in configuring encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection, while allowing the service to run seamlessly.  However, you don’t have to worry about security when you use the hosted Parse Service. 

At Back4app, we have a team of experts that takes care of server security configuration. So, you are sure that the Database encryption, SSL certificates, HTTP servers, CDN distributions, and firewalls are in working correctly.  We also go out of our way to implement security features that allow for GDPR compliance and Dual Factor Authentication, which is not supported by Parse opensource.

GDPR Privacy Settings

If your Parse app will be processing data for people living in the EU territory, compliance with the GDPR privacy requirement is mandatory. Getting your self-hosted Parse server configured for GDPR compliance is hectic and time-consuming. In fact, it requires specialized skills that may cost you a little fortune.

The configuration checklist is massive. It entails elements of encryption, access control policy, risk management, logging, and lots more. At Back4Apps, we take the pains to make all the configurations to endure our servers are Comly with GDPR data processing requirements.

24/07 Support

If you are running a self-hosted Parse server, you will be responsible for managing the infrastructure and supporting the app as well.  This means that you will have to be on your toes both night and day or risk having downtime that would span several hours.  However, with the Back4App managed Parse server, you can focus on running your core business. We will make sure your app and the infrastructure that powers it are running in top form.

Want to know more about how a BaaS – Backend as a Service can improve the productivity in app development? Please read the article BaaS – Backend as a Service.

What is Parse?

Parse is the leading open-source framework that powers application backend.  It creates values for developers by simplifying complication programming tasks and expediting the development process.

Why choose Parse?

With Parse, you can focus on developing your core products and leverage server codes to perform everyday tasks.  In fact, with a managed Parse server, you do not need backend engineers to make awesome apps.

What are the Parse features?

– A Multitenant Dashboard;
– Clone and Transfer Apps;
– Admin Panel;
– Push Notifications;
– Version Management;
– Logs;
– API interface;
– CLI;
– Multi user collaboration;
– CDN – Content Delivery Network;
– Index Manager;
– Automated backups;
– Scalable infrastructure;


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