When Facebook acquired Parse in April of last year, it got them into business-to-business services for the first time. Parse handles backend server-side hosting for apps and provides analytics. This acquisition led Facebook and Parse to compare their strong points when it came to mobile development and they discovered that they were using many of the same utility libraries in their SDKs.
They then consolidated their libraries and decided to make them available to other developers. This post will show you how this collaboration can benefit developers and how to get your hands on the code for your next project.
Bolts is an open-source collection of low-level libraries that allow iOS and Android developers to download the framework or jar file, add them directly to their current project and start using them immediately. You don't have to sign up with Facebook or Parse to use these libraries, just download the BoltsFramework from GitHub. All documentation is provided in the README files.
The primary component in Bolts is "tasks", which helps developers simplify the organization of complex asynchronous code. This has numerous advantages over other models such as AsyncTask and NSOperation. Tasks make it easier to do things such as task chaining, running tasks in series or parallel and streamline error handling.
This is just the beginning. The Facebook Developers Blog says that more Bolts will be coming soon, so keep an eye out for for them. They can go a long way to helping you speed up your app development process.
As an interesting side note, some people believe that this acquisition also gives Facebook an advantage when it comes to discovering up-and-coming blockbuster apps like Instagram, before other companies. This is one reason that some speculate that developers who are looking to be acquired may want to host with Parse.
What do you think of Bolts?