Archive for January 30, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

In Praise of Control Center

John Gruber:

Control Center is probably my single favorite system-level UI change to iOS ever. I kind of wish you could change the apps hard-coded at the bottom (I’d replace Calculator with PCalc, for example), but I use it all the time.

I think Notification Center and Today view could still use some improvement. But cramming Control Center into the same pull-down sheet would make things worse, not better.


Update (2016-02-02): Dr. Drang:

I like the limitation of having just a few available slots, but being able to replace the “dead” spots with buttons I’d actually use would be a big improvement.


And the design inconsistency I mentioned earlier? The buttons on the top do a single thing and they do it immediately—they do not launch apps. The buttons on the bottom do launch apps, which is why the have the rounded rectangle shape of app icons. The exception, the inconsistency, is the Flashlight button. It belongs on the top. I can only assume that Apple put it where it is because they wanted six “do it now” buttons but had room to fit only five comfortably. It’s a minor inconsistency, but it wouldn’t be necessary if we could customize our button layouts.

Sunsetting Parse

Ilya Sukhar in 2013:

Some of the world’s best brands trust us with their entire mobile presence, and a growing number of the world’s brightest independent developers trust us with their next big thing. We couldn’t be happier.

As stewards of a good thing, we’re always thinking about the next step in growing Parse to become a leading platform in this age of mobile apps.


Parse has agreed to be acquired by Facebook. We expect the transaction to close shortly. Rest assured, Parse is not going away. It’s going to get better.

Via Nick Heer:

According to their brag page, Parse’s customers included some of the biggest and most popular apps on both iOS and Android. Uniqlo, Eventbrite, Plenty of Fish, Lululemon, and more all used Parse. Stubhub? Parse. Vevo? Yep. Zoosk? HopStop? The fucking White House? Their apps used Parse. Heck, even that shelved new app Panic was working on used it.

Dan Rowinski in 2014 (via Tim Burks):

Parse also sold but in a very different fashion. What Parse did well (create developer community connections to brands) worked really well for Facebook’s aim of bringing developers to its platform. Parse’s product is still alive and well—and supported by Facebook—and that isn’t going to end any time soon.

Kevin Lacker (via Natasha Murashev, comments):

Beginning today we’re winding down the Parse service, and Parse will be fully retired after a year-long period ending on January 28, 2017.


First, we’re releasing a database migration tool that lets you migrate data from your Parse app to any MongoDB database. During this migration, the Parse API will continue to operate as usual based on your new database, so this can happen without downtime. Second, we’re releasing the open source Parse Server, which lets you run most of the Parse API from your own Node.js server. Once you have your data in your own database, Parse Server lets you keep your application running without major changes in the client-side code. For more details, check out our migration guide here.

Manton Reece:

For years I had always heard great things about Parse. I eventually used it for the first time a few months ago on a client project. It’s got a well-designed API, friendly monthly pricing (free for many apps), and it seemed well supported, with new features like tvOS support and a web dashboard redesign rolling out just a month ago.

Michael Yacavone:

Entirely predictable. Even the title is blasé: “Moving On.”

Guy English:

If it had been me shutting down Parse I would have changed the home page to not point out how many “Trust Us”.

Drew McCormack:

Let’s face it: if you want it done properly, you have to do it yourself. Is this the death of SAAS?

I think the biggest problem now is just trust. If FB can’t provide guarantees for your app’s backend, who can?

Jeff Lawson:

“But seriously developers, trust us next time your needs temporarily overlap our strategic interests. And here’s a t-shirt.”

Joel Bernstein:

The subtext to the Parse shutdown is “never trust a Facebook platform ever again, for any reason”

Tim Burks:

Yes, but solutions will emerge. I haven’t looked at the SDK code but expect this can be fixed w/ a URL update.

Parse was a model for selling products to developers. But it also succeeded by burning enough VC money to suffocate its competitors.

Update (2016-01-30): Marco Arment (tweet, 2014):

For whatever it’s worth, running your own Linux servers today with boring old databases and stable languages is neither difficult nor expensive. This isn’t to say “I told you so” — rather, if you haven’t tried before, “You can do this.”

Update (2016-02-01): Allen Pike:

Hundreds of thousands of unsuccessful Parse apps will perish. Like links to long-dead Geocities pages, dead mobile apps that relied on Parse will linger in the App Stores for years, slowly accumulating one-star reviews.

As much as Parse will try to get the word out that they’re shutting down, many apps’ owners don’t even know that they’re reliant on Parse. Parse’s overly generous free plan made them popular with freelancers and consultants building quick app backends for their clients. Many of those clients don’t know what Parse is, let alone that the little app they commissioned a couple years ago is a ticking time bomb.

Marco Arment:

In particular, it’ll be problematic when possibly hundreds of thousands of iOS apps just stop working in a year because their developers have long since moved on, or their contracts expired, or they can’t afford to spend time on a significant update.

One of the most damaging side effects of unhealthy App Store economics is that developers have little motivation or resources to keep apps updated.

Update (2016-02-02): Microsoft:

If you have been using Parse hosting as the backend that supports your mobile apps, this may be the perfect time to try out Azure App Service. Due to recent occurrences, the folks at Parse have provided a way to migrate an existing backend hosted by Parse to another host. When searching for a new host, we hope that you try Azure.

Todd Hoff:

Where should you go? What should you do? By now you’ve transitioned through all five stages of grief and ready for stage six: doing something about it. Fortunately there are a lot of options and I’ve gathered as many resources as I can here in one place.

Update (2016-02-03): Sascha Konietzke (via Hacker News):

When Facebook acquired Parse back in April 2013, many people thought this meant Facebook goes all in on becoming a developer platform. If you recall, Facebook was at a crossroads back then, with a share price below IPO level, desktop traffic plateauing, and mobile revenues a big question mark. Enter Parse, which brought immediate mobile app developer reach, helping Facebook to distribute its SDKs and ensure developers are using Facebook’s login system. That in turn helped secure mobile adoption and a foothold in user profiles and mobile advertising. Fast forward to 2016, and Facebook essentially owns the mobile ads space, and its SDK is #1 in terms of mobile reach. Meaning Parse has run its cause as an SDK distribution vehicle. In other words, they never wanted to host your app, they just wanted you to use Facebook login.

Glider Pro on GitHub

John Calhoun has open sourced the excellent Glider Pro and other games (via Brendan Shanks, comments). It’s a CodeWarrior C project.

Meet iCloud’s Great-grandfather: iTools

Stephen Hackett:

iReview housed reviews and rankings of other websites. Initial reviews were written by Apple employees, and the site launched with 250 published reviews. That number grew slowly, as personal Mac users could append to existing reviews, but not create new ones.


Apple also introduced iCards, a section of the company’s website where users could go to create and send virtual greeting cards.


iDisk offered users 20MB (yes, MB!) of Internet storage, hosted on Apple’s servers. Instead of fiddling with FTP settings, iDisk was baked into Mac OS 9 — there was an icon for it right on the Desktop.

VMware Fusion

Christian Hammond (via Craig Hockenberry and Paul Haddad, comments):

Yesterday morning, the Hosted UI team, responsible for VMware’s Workstation and Fusion products, woke up to find themselves out of a job. These products, despite being award-winning and profitable, are probably not long for this world.

Rob Griffiths:

Sad about Fusion, it was always my fave. Much more “Mac like” than Parallels with great performance. Will keep using it until I can’t.

It hasn’t been canceled, but the entire local team is gone. I read something that said future dev is offshored to China.

Sean Gallagher:

When contacted to comment, a VMware spokesman said that the company was committed to continuing development and support for Fusion and Workstation and that the company was “transitioning the Fusion and Workstation teams to co-locate” with the rest of the company as part of its reorganization. “Our commitment to Fusion and Workstation products is unchanged,” he said.


VMware was acquired by EMC in 2004, which offered 15 percent of VMware’s stock in a 2007 initial public offering. EMC is in the process of being acquired by Dell, which would give Dell a majority stake in VMware (though the company will remain independent).

Fusion is a great app. I hope it lives on.

Previously: Turning Off Ads in Parallels, Parallels Desktop 9 and Parallels Access.

Update (2016-02-08): Christian Hammond (via Hacker News):

I’d like to share some thoughts and pictures from a few people in our team about what made our team great, and share some comments from some of our users. Keeping it positive here.

Update (2018-09-27): Michael Roy:

Fwiw, we’ve restructured since then. The lay-off was a call by 1 person who is no longer with VMware, and should have never happened. I went on a 2 year mission to fix, and we’ve just moved into the vSphere team and are doubling our headcount.

I’m very excited for the future :)