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Facebook today announced that it will open-source all of its software development kits (SDKs) for Parse, the mobile backend service that it acquired in 2013.

Parse’s iOS, Android, and Mac OS X SDKs are already available on GitHub for developers to download and build on. More SDKs will be coming later.

“Our SDKs are widely used by the mobile development community — in fact, Parse SDKs now power more than 800 million active app-device pairs,” Facebook Parse engineer Nikita Lutsenko wrote in a blog post on the news today. “They’re a critical part of our platform, enabling developers to get up and running with Parse in minutes. Today we’re excited to show developers what’s under the hood for the first time.”

In a sense, then, developers will be able to understand better than ever how Parse works — and perhaps even get ideas about how best to build a service that can do similar things. Of course, Facebook also gets access to better code, with more people working on the SDKs, and access to non-Facebook collaborators who it could well hire one day. And Facebook might be able to increase Parse usage considerably, as a result of this move.


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Facebook regularly open-sources code. Previous contributions include the Bolts Framework, the React JavaScript library, and the Nuclide integrated development environment (IDE). Today’s release is interesting because it’s part of the underlying machinery of a cloud service that Facebook has operated since the acquisition.

Parse announced SDKs for Internet of Things (IoT) devices like the Arduino in March. In April, Parse’s iOS and Mac OS X SDKs got support for local data storage on the Apple Watch.

Developers have built more than 500,000 apps on top of Parse, Facebook said in December.

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