Parse offers native iOS and Android software developer kits (SDKs) that help developers integrate with cloud services. It is in the current Y-Combinator batch and is founded by Tikhon Bernstam and James Yu, who were co-founders at Scribd along with Ilya Sukhar (Ooyala) and Kevin Lacker (Google). Parse is the latest offering in a new trend in the developer ecosystem - backend as a service - that is lowering the bar for mobile application development.
The barrier to entry for developers is lowering with every new announcement of something "as a service" that makes developers' lives easier. This worries some people in the tech community that see an era coming to mobile applications that we saw in the mid-to-late 1990s when everybody and their second cousins could make a website with easy to use templates. The Web was flooded with low-quality websites and one could argue that it was an inflection point that made the tech bubble possible as well as the advent of mass spam.
That era may not be too far in the future. Platforms as a service are increasing and tools are becoming easier to use. Parse takes it a step further by making server-side functions like authentication, push notifications, database management and other similar activities less difficult to navigate. Developers will still need to know some code necessary to connect data to Parse, but a doctorate in cloud enviroments is not needed.
Parse has raised $1.1 million so far while still in Y-Combinator, which means the service is very young and may not have all the tools for all developers. For instance, right now it only has iOS and Android SDKs. Yet, the Parse team does understand the nature of data freedom. It says that your data being stored within Parse will always remain "your" data and can be taken out of the service at any time. While that seems very thoughtful of the Parse team, there are also legal reasons for this in the case that a client's data breaks some type of law, it is the client and not Parse that would get in trouble.
The startup is widening its private beta and is offering invite codes to ReadWriteWeb readers. Visit Parse to register and use the code "RWW" to sign up.