If you want proof that Parse lets you build an app quickly, here it is! Quote Melody, created by new developers Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė and Aleksandr Pasevin, was not only built in one day during the Facebook London Hack 2012, it also won the Best Open Graph App award at the event.
We spoke with co-founder Gintarė about her experiences using Parse to build the award-winning app.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Aleksandr.
Aleksandr and I both come from a creative background. Aleksandr started out in graphic design and worked for several years creating designs for clients such as Bentley, Casio and the Terrance Higgins Trust. I studied art critique and business management for my BA, creative entrepreneurship for my MA and worked for several years with a range of art projects and creative companies. We have both been working with interdisciplinary art projects and started our first creative media outlet, www.artpit.org, in Eastern Europe.
We started to code just six months ago. I attended an Apps for Good course where I got an initial grasp of HTML and CSS. We both signed up for a Freeformers TechJam, which is an immersive learning workshop around how easy, quick and inexpensive it is to build things on the web. The emphasis is on enabling non-tech people to make things by remixing what is already out. This led to us building our first app in two days.
Just a month after working with Freeformers we entered the Facebook World Hackathon in London, where we built Quote Melody in one day and it won the best Open Graph App Award. It was amazing, given we were competing against 150 professional developers.
Tell us about your award-winning app.
Quote Melody lets people collect their favorite quotes and discover unique playlists based on each quote they like. It’s a social network and music discovery tool based on quotes and inspiring images. We started from MVP and iterate as we go.
What inspired you to develop Quote Melody?
We came up with the idea during the Facebook World Hackhaton. Facebook had recently opened it’s new offices in London’s Covent Garden and they have amazing quote posters all around it. One quote in particular, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid,” inspired us to build Quote Melody.
And how did you find Parse? What made you decide to use it?
We started to play with Parse at Freeformers bootcamp and we have used it for all of our digital creations since then. It’s an amazing tool for people who are new to the tech world, allowing you to build really quickly and make ideas happen! Without Parse we would never have won at the Facebook Hackathon and built Quote Melody so quickly!
How is Parse used in Quote Melody?
We use Parse for all of our backend. We save data from Facebook login and we even use code snippets to save some of the data we need for statistics. For example, we track and save to Parse how many people come to our app from each story shared on the Facebook ticker.
What are the benefits you have found while working with Parse that keep you coming back?
First of all, the Javascipt SDK. We don’t need to learn PHP or any other server side language! Also, there’s really great documentation and examples; most services are hard to use just because they don’t provide those. We also love how the data we save is organized and how easy it is to analyze and even explain it to clients. It just makes sense so quickly and easily! If we would need to choose just a few words about Parse, we would say it is quick, flexible, efficient, has well structured syntax and provides rapid communication.
It’s great to hear that you’re making such great use of the platform! What would you say is your favorite thing about it?
We love that Parse is a tool that can be used by creative people and early adopters rather than just ‘techies’ and professionals. We also like that the Parse community is getting bigger and it’s getting easier to find answers to problems.
We’d really like to emphasise that you don’t need to be a coder or even a tech person to make great things on the web. Simple and cheap tools, like Parse, are out there for everyone to use so the most important thing is creativity and diversity of ideas.
Read coverage of the event by Apps Junction and the video of award ceremony as well as coverage by Freeformers. Gintarė and Aleksandr also visited the Wired UK conference to share their story here.