As the world of apps evolves, we’re starting to see that apps can go beyond games and utilities. Apps that exist with the sole purpose of making the world a better place are starting to pop up, and in the middle of this holiday season, what better Parse-powered app to share than one that’s focused on brightening someone’s day?
Inspired by asking themselves, “What’s the opposite of cyberbullying?” the team behind the app Kindr decided to develop a technology company dedicated to making the world a kinder place. Founded in 2013 at Stanford University by co-founders Josh Beal and Matt Ivester, the small startup is based on a core belief in using technology for good, hoping that by leveraging the power and ubiquity of mobile devices, they can make kindness go viral.
The Kindr app makes it fun and easy to send compliments to friends and family, and also has a feed of good news stories, through a content partnership with Huffington Post, in the hope that the kindness of others can inspire more kindness in each of us.
App users can choose from a wide variety of pre-written compliments that range from hilarious to sentimental and send them out with just three taps. Users who login using Facebook also have the ability to send custom compliments. After the compliment is sent, the recipient can respond with a simple “smile” or a short reply. And while spreading kindness is a reward in itself, the app makes it even more fun through gamification, allowing users to earn points for sending compliments to unlock balloons, which represent lifting someone’s spirits.
After discovering Parse through conversation with Y-Combinator alums, CTO Josh explored the Developer Guide further while defining the technical strategy for Kindr. The team decided to use Parse to power all of the backend services for their iOS app; compliments, users, and good news stories are all stored via Parse Data. They’re also able to display compliments in the app and on the website with ease thanks to SDKs for multiple platforms.
Behind the scenes, the app uses both Cloud Functions and Background Jobs to power backend services. The Twilio and Mailgun Cloud Code Modules make it easy to send verification emails as well as notifications to people who haven’t joined Kindr yet. Scheduling jobs lets the team reset points weekly and update the good news feed.
On the front end, users can log in via Facebook or by providing an email and password, and the app also supports anonymous user objects with Parse. Kindr makes use of Parse Push to send push notifications to users when someone sends them a compliment, or smiles/replies to a compliment they sent. Thanks to channels, Josh says, “It’s easy for us to target inactive users with “Kindr Remindrs and send featured stories to those who opt-in to Good News pushes.”
When looking back on the decision to use Parse while building Kindr, Josh says, “Parse allows us to operate at the right level of abstraction and focus on building the best product possible. When your team has limited resources, it’s important to focus on the creative work related to your product and not reinvent the wheel while implementing your backend. Parse saved us a great deal of development time, enabling me to build a successful product, start to finish, while also juggling school and a summer internship.”
In its very first week, Kindr got thousands of users and tens of thousands of compliments were sent, so it seems to be working. Join the kindness movement today by downloading the app here and start lifting the spirits of your friends and family.