Mobile APIs That Rocked in 2014: Facebook Parse and Login / Graph

Facebook has had one of its busiest API years in recent times, with help from the Parse API. Facebook has also been working hard on updating the Graph API, as well as Facebook Login and Facebook Anonymous. Facebook also introduced the Facebook Audience Network, helping developers to monetize mobile apps on the Facebook Platform.


Parse API is a multiplatform cloud storage platform that is popular with iOS, Android and Web developers alike. Positioned as an alternative to working with Core Data--and all its complicated Back-end server and database logistics--Parse API is considered the de facto cloud storage tool for mobile developers looking to rapidly develop their minimum viable product. Parse provides a more extensible set of offerings over Apple’s, including a simple push notification process across multiple platforms; multiplatform support, from one database; back-end custom script logic support; and a real-time app-usage tracking tool. We hope to see in the near future performance boosts for high data-intensive apps using Parse, as well as other analytical features added to the real-time usage tool. We also would like to see the plan prices reduced, to compete with Apple’s iCloud solution, as Parse looks to solidify itself in the marketplace. Facebook should also be rolling out additional features announced in late December, adding important features such as crash reporting and local data store support for iOS. This would give developers the ability to work with model objects offline, delivering business parity with CoreData.

Facebook Login/Graph API

Facebook has also updated its Authentication component, Facebook Login, and released  version 2.0 of Facebook Graph API. The latter is mostly concerned with changes to permission requests, allowing users to edit what permissions they are willing to provide to third-party apps making use of the Facebook Login API. Facebook expended the Open Graph process to Login, ensuring that only the required permissions are asked for when users log-in, minimizing gratituous non-required permissions being bundled in the permission request. This makes the whole process less intimidating for those using Facebook’s Login API. A beta release of Facebook Anonymous released earlier this year uses the existing Facebook authentication mechanism but doesn't require users to create a password or share their personal information. The idea is to provide quicker access to users, and to convert users from anonymous to authenticated later on.

Facebook Audience Network

In April, Facebook delivered its comprehensive answer to in-app advertising, Audience Network, providing the ability to target the right ads for the right app audience via the data Facebook has collected as users log-in using its interface. In 2015 we should see more apps using this network and more advertisers coming on board. The sheer number of publisher and consumer growth should increase the value of this network.

Be sure to read the next Mobile article: Mobile APIs That Rocked in 2014: Twitter Crashlytics, Digits & MoPub