Terence Bennett - February 10, 2016

Parse had some initial success among native game designers. If you were writing an iOS or Android app and you weren’t quite sure how to code OAuth or Push Notifications, then Parse was an easy fix for the problem. They also provided help with User Management and a place to store the information on your High Scores Screen.

Unfortunately this audience didn’t have much money, and Parse didn’t have the features that an enterprise customer would need, and so Facebook decided to shut the company down and “open source” what was left. Better late than never I suppose, DreamFactory was Apache License from day one. At any rate, I’ve had a few people ask me about the differences between Parse Server and DreamFactory, so we whipped up these comparison tables.

FeaturesParse ServerDreamFactory
Active Directory Support 
Email Templates 
Call External Services
Web Based Admin Console 
System Services 
CORS Support
Role Based Access Control
Application Migration 
Interactive Documentation 
Application Hosting 
Multiple Applications 
Push Notification Support 
Server Side Scripting 
Building Custom Services 
SOAP and REST Translation 
XML Support 
Combining Multiple Databases 
User Management
Geopoint Support 
SDK / Sample Apps
Open Registration
API Management * 
API Analytics * 
Multi-tennant Hosting * 

*DreamFactory Enterprise

Data SourcesParse ServerDreamFactory
SQL Support
SQL Server 
NoSQL Support
Azure Tables 
File Storage Support
Local Storage
Amazon S3 
OpenStack Object Store 
Rackspace Cloud Files 
OAuth Support
Google  ✓
Email Support
Amazon SES 
Local Email 

There are some big differences hidden by single lines in the tables above. The new Parse Server doesn’t have a web based administration console. This will make it very hard to configure. There is no interactive documentation, but I guess that is OK because they don’t have that many services, either. They only support one backend data source, with zero support for SQL, which we consider to be the primary enterprise use case. They don’t have support for server side scripting or custom services, another major gap.

So taken all together, you can see why Facebook gave up on this. The SaaS model didn’t work for enterprise customers, and the product was falling farther behind every year. You would be better off starting from scratch. Or, better yet, install the world’s best REST API Platform today and spend your time building a real application on an enterprise-ready stack.