When we first started the iOS programming course, we built a simple Recipe app together and walk you through the usage of table view. The initial version of Recipe app is very simple. All the recipe data are stored locally in an array. Later, we enhance the app by putting the recipes in a property list file. That’s better as it’s a good practice to separate static data from code.
However, both approaches face the same problem. Suppose you’ve published the Recipe app on App Store, what if you need to add more recipes or change some of the recipes?
Obviously, you’ll need to update the code (or the property file), re-build the app and submit to App Store again. And your users have to upgrade the app before viewing the updated recipes. That’s a lengthy process (normally it takes a week for Apple to review and approve your app).
A common solution is to put the recipe data into a backend database. Every time when the app launches, it retrieves the data from the backend via web service. As the data is saved and loaded remotely, you’re free to edit the recipe without rebuilding the app.
The downside is that you have to develop the backend. Apparently, this requires a different skill set and huge amount of work if you’re a beginner. Fortunately, several companies have pre-built the backend for you that your app can be easily integrated with the backend using API. This kind of service provider is usually known as Backend as a Service provider (or BaaS for short). Most of them offer the service for free to get you started. You only need to pay when the requests reach a certain volume.
In this series of tutorial, we’ll show you how to integrate the Recipe app with the Parse cloud. We’re not affiliate with Parse. We choose Parse as it is one of the leading BaaS providers and now a part of Facebook. Parse provides an easy-to-use SDK which is another reason we select Parse for the tutorial.
We’ll break the tutorials into two parts. The first part focuses on data retrieval from Parse backend. We’ll leave data update and deletion to the next article.
Okay, let’s get started.