The rush to develop apps for Apple’s two newest products has kicked into high gear, as platform providers roll out tools to facilitate this trend. The latest entry comes from Parse, which today has launched two new SDKs for devices built around Apple’s watchOS 2 and tvOS systems — the Apple Watch and TV, respectively.
Nikita Lutsenko, a mobile software engineer at Facebook, wrote that Parse’s primary goal “has been to build SDKs that are familiar to anyone using our existing iOS or OS X SDKs, while making it easier than ever to build native experiences for tvOS and watchOS 2.”
This latest offering builds on top of the company’s existing SDK that was released for the Apple Watch earlier this year. Now compatible with watchOS 2, it allows developers to more quickly build native integrations, leveraging a multitude of third-party APIs.
But the process of building the watchOS 2 SDK was unusual, in that it relied a lot on contributions from the open-source community. Lutsenko explained that Parse reached out to them for assistance with testing and feedback, “which resulted in an incredibly rapid release.” The company began open sourcing all of its SDKs earlier this summer.
It’s estimated that there are over 2,600 apps available in the tvOS App Store, and this number will continue to grow over the next couple of years. Parse is certainly playing a part in that growth with its tvOS SDK. For the most part, developers will have all the same capabilities as they would with the company’s other SDKs. However, there are two notable exceptions: The first is how Parse has dealt with local data storage.
With tvOS, local data is treated as temporary storage and can be removed by the system if the app isn’t running. This is contrary to the way Parse’s mobile SDKs operate. The company wound up re-architecting its local data component to find a way to make it persistent, but still native to tvOS. Now user data can be stored on the device’s storage to keep the same app experience as on mobile.
Another tvOS feature has to do with the way users input data, especially since there’s no hardware device that can be readily affixed to the Apple TV. To compensate for that, the SDK leverages Facebook’s own tvOS SDK, which will eliminate any friction users may have in logging into third-party apps.
While there are many platforms out there similar to Parse that also offer SDKs, until now, none has built an SDK specifically for tvOS. But there are a growing number of tools available for developers, including SDKs from the likes of not only Facebook, but also Twitter and AppLovin.
Today’s news coincides with the release of new platform metrics. Parse announced that more than 600,000 developers have now created apps using its service and that there are more than 800 million user-app pairs for apps built on it. The company is now serving an average of 2 billion daily API calls.
Parse’s two new SDKs are available as of today.