Mobile backend-as-a-service provider Parse, which was acquired by Facebook in 2013, has launched Parse Crash Reporting, a solution that enables iOS and Android developers to more easily record and resolve application crashes.
According to Parse's Islam Ismailov, Parse decided to develop a Crash Reporting solution to make life easier for developers using its service. "In the past, we’ve seen Parse developers use third-party crash reporting tools, but this approach required developers to manage several different SDKs, learn new APIs, and monitor many dashboards at once," he explained in a blog post. "We wanted it to be simpler. Part of Parse’s core mission has always been to abstract away common tasks and streamline the developer’s experience — so we built a way to manage crash reports right within Parse."
Parse Crash Reporting is now incorporated into the company's iOS and Android SDKs, and developers can enable it with a few lines of code. Once enabled, crash reports are collected automatically and sent to Parse asynchronously.
In addition to Parse Crash Reporting, this month the company also announced the launch of a new Local Datastore solution for iOS. Similar in nature to the company's existing solution for Android, Parse Local Datastore for iOS abstracts the functionality required to make use of local data storage.
Parse's Ismailov says that "Many mobile apps are simple clients that display data straight from a server, losing all functionality without an internet connection. Because of this, people who use these apps face painful loading screens and broken features. The developers who build these apps want a better experience, but it’s not easy to build all the underlying logic to handle local data storage gracefully."
With Parse Local Datastore for iOS, developers can easily save data objects in their applications to local storage, and delete them when they are no longer necessary. Parse's SDK also offers a saveEventually function that allows object updates to be synced remotely after they are saved locally.
The native advantage
There are good reasons to believe there's a bright future for mobile web apps but Parse's Crash Reporting and Local Datastore solutions highlight why native apps are still as popular as ever.
While much progress has been made in advancing the capabilities of browser-based apps, thanks in large part to HTML5, the capabilities and tooling available for browser-based apps in many cases still lag what's available for native apps. For example, not all mobile web browsers provide access to file system storage yet and some limit local storage to as little as 2MB. And debugging web apps across all popular mobile browsers can still be painful.
Native app developers, on the other hand, have access to a much deeper set of capabilities and a wide range of tools like Parse Crash Reporting and Local Datastore. Until mobile web app developers have the same, expect many developers to favor native app development over mobile web app development.