Earlier this month, DrawChat hit the iTunes App Store, generating an addiction to interactive drawing for many of their new users. DrawChat allows anyone to draw on an uploaded photo or on an array of pre-loaded photos while sharing and chatting with friends directly in the app. The Parse-powered app was created by a dynamic trio consisting of Jeremy Orlow, Gabor Cselle, and Chloe Bregman in only 6 short weeks.
Each team member was crucial to the development of DrawChat and the creation of a wonderful user experience for the DrawChat fanbase. Jeremy was previously a software engineer on Google Chrome where he was a tech lead of IndexedDB, the new storage standard in browsers. He has also worked on Google’s data center software and at mobile security startup 3LM. Gabor was a Product Manager on Gmail and Android after selling his previous startup, reMail, to Google. With Jeremy’s extensive knowledge of APIs and data storage and Gabor’s love for product, they decided to collaborate on a project they could complete in a 5 week sprint. Together with their talented UI designer, Chloe Bregman, DrawChat was created and launched to great reviews.
DrawChat uses Parse for all data storage, push notifications, user logins, and the team was able to create a powerful and beautiful app in a very short amount of time with the time saved using Parse as their mobile backend.
The DrawChat office was buzzing on the day of their launch as we sat down with Jeremy Orlow to chat about their latest project and how DrawChat uses Parse for their mobile backend. Read the interview with Jeremy below.
How did you find Parse?
Gabor met Tikhon [Parse Co-Founder] while he was a co-founder at Scribd and Gabor was the VP of Engineering at Xobni. Both companies were in the same building, one floor apart, and they’ve kept in touch since. When Parse was first announced, Gabor tried it out and fell in love.
When the two of us started on DrawChat, there really wasn’t much of a decision; we were going to use Parse!
What were the key benefits you have found while working with Parse?
For an application like DrawChat, one would typically spend a week or two (minimum) building a backend before starting on the app. Or one would build the app with a bunch of test data hacked in until the server side of things was ready. With Parse, we were able to dive right in and had basic phone to phone chatting working on day one.
Parse is perfect for people who don’t have experience writing their own backends. But it’s also great for people who do, like me. I’ve implemented push notifications, RESTful APIs, etc. myself. I could have done it for this project, but I’m glad I didn’t have to. We saved so much time and were able to jump straight into things by using Parse.
How much time would you estimate was saved by using Parse?
We developed this app in 5 weeks with a super aggressive schedule and a very small team. The development time could have easily been twice as long, had we decided to write our own backend. And then we’d be stuck with all the ongoing maintenance and support associated with running your own backend. Services like Heroku do help, but they don’t remove the burden to the same extent that Parse does.
What Parse features do you find most useful?
We can’t wait to start using Cloud Code. Most of what we need to do can be done directly from the client, but it’s pretty hard to completely avoid a little bit of server side logic; for example, when aggregating data across multiple users. Doing that work directly on parse servers will be a big win for us.
We also love the push notification feature. I’ve worked on custom push notification code before, and Parse definitely abstracts a lot of the pain away.
How does DrawChat use push notifications?
Whenever a user sends a message to another user, we use push notifications to alert them.
What do you love most about Parse?
By far, the most amazing thing about Parse is the time it saves you in development.
If someone asked you, “Should I use Parse for my mobile backend” how would you answer?
Any app developer would be crazy to not check out Parse before developing their own backend. Even if only a few of the features apply to you, using it will probably be a win.
Download DrawChat in the iTunes App Store here.