API Development

Your Very Own MBaaS: How to Move from Parse to Appcelerator Arrow

Parse to Arrow Cloud

Well, we know the bad news: Parse is shutting down. This tweet sums up the feelings of plenty of devs:

The good news? Appcelerator Arrow has you covered. Whether you need data storage, APIs, push notifications, mobile analytics, or all of the above, we’ve got it. Jump into a free trial and see for yourself. We’ll also be hosting a TechTalk (replay now available) that explains the process for moving from Parse to Arrow. For a quick start, see how simple it is to host your Parse server on Arrow Cloud.

For the uninitiated, there are two key parts to Arrow:

NameWhat it doesOverview of capabilitiesDeeper Dive
Arrow BuilderAn opinionated framework for building APIs.Using Node.js, developers can connect to multiple data sources, mash them together, expose them as APIs, write business logic in between APIs, and more.Quick Start Guide
Arrow CloudAn elastically scalable Node.js container stack which includes a schema-less datastore (ArrowDB) as well as full MBaaS capabilities (this part is the nearest corollary to Parse).Services built with Arrow Builder and deployed to Arrow Cloud have the benefit of a horizontally-scaled architecture, without any of the DevOps hassle. Developers can set how many containers their services should scale to, how large each container is, and the servers will scale based on the load they receive.

This is in addition to full cross-platform push notifications, ArrowDB, and 20+ pre-built services such as Users, Checkins, Events, Files, and more.

Quick Start Guide

Moving from Parse to Arrow

If you’re coming from Parse to Arrow, here are a few initial points to bear in mind:

  • Push notifications: Arrow provides for full push notifications, very similar to Parse. Learn more.
  • Mobile analytics: Again, quite similar. Parse’s ability to write simple queries on top of the analytic data is available via our custom analytics (aka “Query Builder,” which you can see here in Appcelerator Labs). Learn more.
  • Terminology: Parse referred to data objects as Classes; we call them Custom Objects. Learn more.
  • Access Control Levels: Arrow provides for ACLs, similar to Parse, though there are some slight differences. Learn more.
  • User requirements: Parse can have anonymous users for almost everything; Arrow has explicit user requirements for some objects (such as photos).
  • Client SDKs: Arrow’s client SDKs are available for Titanium, Node.js, iOS (Objective-C), and Android. These will allow you to easily connect your apps, whether built in Titanium or directly via the native SDK. Regardless of your data source, these client-side SDKs get you access to your data faster and with less code.
  • Parse’s “Cloud Code” and “website hosting” can be mirrored using Arrow Builder (or using your own Node.js app and deploying it to Arrow Cloud. Instructions for moving an existing Node.js app to Arrow Cloud can be found here.)

Other Ways Arrow is Not Like Parse (And Why This is a Good Thing)

We’ve written elsewhere about the (diminishing) role pure MBaaS plays in a market heading quickly toward microservices. We won’t bog down on it here, but it’s a key reason why we think Arrow is a better bet for a future world of apps and other “things.”

More immediately, having come from (been burned by?) Parse, there are probably several pains you want to avoid repeating. It goes something like this…

  1. “I don’t want to run the risk of having to move my data yet again down the road. I’d rather have direct control over the database myself. And…”
  2. “…I’ll also need to stand up API services to access and orchestrate the data.”

One of the nice things about Arrow is that you can choose what you want to do. Want to manage the data yourself but need a scalable server to front the APIs? Done. Need a powerful way to quickly build new, mobile-optimized APIs? Done. Want us to manage both the data store and provide the APIs via pre-build services? Done.

Terrific. What Does it Cost?

Today, we bundle Arrow capabilities and capacity as part of our tiered Appcelerator Platform plans. However, we’ve also been working to introduce Arrow-only plans for greater flexibility. The new Arrow-only plans start at $20 per month and scale from there; these will soon be part of our online pricing. In the meantime, you can reach us at here to talk about pricing your specific needs.