As someone who has used the Parse platform extensively in my Android mobile app to win the CodePath 2015 Hackathon, I was very sorry to hear the news. Parse.com will be shutting down for good by this day next year! You can read all about it from their blog. For those of you who have been using Parse to prototype and release your beloved mobile apps to the app store, let me just say that I feel your pain. The coming year will be a frantic one, as we rush to port all of Parse’s mobile SDK features and CloudCode onto other mobile platforms. For everyone who has been using Parse Push Notifications, we’ve got a solution that would soften the blow – Magnet Message.
What is Magnet Message?
Magnet Message enables everything that you did with Parse Push, but adds some very intriguing features, such as real pub/sub channels, chat history, and rich multimedia messaging. You can find out more about our messaging capabilities from our developer portal. Best of all? Though we offer a hosted service, our messaging platform has been completely open source right from the start. Say goodbye to vender lock-in and the long, stressful nights moving away from a service which has reached it’s end-of-life.
What can Magnet Message do for me?
To give you some context, the app my team and I created for the CodePath hackathon connects you to a community of friends, family, and others nearby interested in buying your children’s used gear. As with most other popular apps, we relied heavily on communication to enrich the buying/selling experience and build up user engagement within the app.
First and foremost, we wanted our users to be able to chat with potential buyers and sellers. We didn’t want to bring them out of the app in order to accomplish this. Unfortunately, at the time Parse only supported sending messages from server to client. As a workaround, we ended up creating our own “Message” model to store our messages and track sender and recipients, and used the afterSave hook within CloudCode to deliver messages to users when a new message record was created. We could have avoided all this with Magnet Message, which has user-user chat built-in. With a simple API to send a message and handle received messages, we could have built real-time chat into our app within minutes.
Push with wakeup
When new items are posted into the marketplace, we wanted to notify nearby users via push notification. Due to the time-sensitivity (potential users might leave the area), we used Google’s GCM service to send a notification and wakeup the phone if it wasn’t active. Magnet Message handles all of this with a powerful broadcast receiver which allows you to handle incoming messages in any way you want.
One idea we had was to have a chat channel for each posted item. While viewing details about an item, users could leave comments or questions for everyone to see. Channels are a flagship feature of Magnet Message. By simply subscribing a user to an item’s public channel, a user can view all the messages published to the channel.
Sounds Interesting! How do I start?
I’ve pulled together a simple migration guide for iOS and Android which will show you how easy it is to migrate off of Parse Push and onto Magnet Message. Happy hacking everyone!