Facebook's Parse open sourcing all SDKs for app development

After debuting at F8 in March, Parse boasted its SDKs already power more than 800 million active app-device pairs.

If there is any hot topic in tech that Facebook likes to share about most (besides mobile anything), it's open source.

Picking up on this from its parent company, app developer hub Parse announced on Thursday it will be open sourcing all of its software development kits (SDKs).

"We think that's the direction that mobile app development is going - toward a more open standard," said James Yu, a Parse co-founder and product manager, in prepared remarks.

Parse unveiled new SDKs during Facebook's annual F8 developer summit in San Francisco in March.

Luring developers to the Parse cloud, the SDKs are yet another answer to the blossoming Internet of Things movement, enabling developers to integrate data from internet-connected devices within their applications.

Parse boasted on Thursday that its SDKs already power more than 800 million active app-device pairs.

But establishing a platform-agnostic portfolio in a world teeming with new mobile devices and operating systems hasn't been easy, as Parse engineer Nikita Lutsenko acknowledged in a blog post.

"We've had to figure out a way to make a public-facing API easy to understand and use, but continue shipping features fast without breaking any existing functionality," explained Lutsenko. "To solve this, we structured our public API as a facade for an internal code and functionality that could be consistently changing."

Parse's iOS, OS X, and Android SDKs will become available today with the promise of more on the way soon.

The social media giant bought Parse, a startup with a cloud-based platform of scalable cross-platform services and tools for developers, in April 2013 for an undisclosed sum. The Parse came with tools designed for development on iOS and Android devices.

Since then, Facebook engineers have elaborated how Parse fits into the company's platform, bolstering the world's largest social network for more third-party apps and B2B clientele -- not to mention more data.

Although not as flashy or consumer-focused as some of Facebook's other acquisitions (see: Instagram, Oculus VR, Whatsapp), the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has invested considerably in the unit over the last two years.

That started in September 2013 with the addition of a custom analytics service, equipping developers with a dashboard displaying custom-designated events against data automatically being tracked by Parse.

Facebook and Parse followed up in January 2014 with a library of low-level code dubbed Bolts for iOS and Android, aiming to speed up mobile app production by allowing developers to drop code into projects without a Facebook or Parse account.

By May 2014, the Parse team expanded their footprint to London to support the growing developer community using the service in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

More recently in December, Parse tacked on crash reporting for registering, tracking and resolving app crashes beyond iOS to Android devices as well.

The "simpler" crash reporting method, according to Parse at the time, and corresponding SDKs track bugs on a per-version basis while also automatically caching and resending crash reports when connectivity is spotty.

Following up on speed and stability options, Lutsenko highlighted in Thursday's announcement how Parse uses an internally-built, "loosely coupled architecture model," which should make the SDKs more reliable.

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