Facebook has announced a line of SDKs for developers who want to build Internet of Things apps.

Developers can now use Parse to help build connected home appliances, fitness trackers and other objects that could interact with smartphones.

Parse CEO Ilyar Sukar is 'looking forward' to seeing what developers create. Image credit iStock/Yuri Arcus
Parse CEO Ilyar Sukar is 'looking forward' to seeing what developers create. Image credit iStock/Yuri Arcus

One example of a firm that has used the Parse tool for IoT purposes is Chamberlain, which manufactures smart garage door openers that can be unlocked through a smartphone. Similarly, Milestone Sports, which makes a wearable running tracker and Roost, a smart battery manufacturer for smoke detectors, are using Parse’s REST API to make their products smarter.

Parse, which was bought by Facebook in 2013, offers a cloud hosting service for developers so they can focus on code rather than the back-end infrastructure. Developers pay a rolling subscription to the platform. 

This new line of SDKs for connected devices announced at Facebook's developer conference includes an Arduino Yun specific API. With a few lines of code, the Arduino Yun – a microcontroller board with built in WiFi capabilities – could read temperature data from a smart thermostat, for example.

Facebook and Parse are working on SDKs for the Arduino Zero and for Linux and Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS) for the future.

All SDKs can be found on GitHub, as well as guides for using Parse.

Over 400,000 developers have built apps with Parse so far, Ilyar Sukhar, Parse CEO said.

What else is new for Facebook?

CEO Mark Zuckerberg also revealed two ways that Facebook is opening up its Messenger app to developers and businesses.

Firstly, it will allow firms to use Messenger as a way to connect with customers, so after you buy something on a website, for instance, you can let them know you ordered the wrong item, or to track an order, as an alternative to picking up the phone.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said: "I don't know anyone who likes calling businesses; it's not fast and it doesn't feel like the future."

Facebook will also allow third-party apps to integrate with Messenger, so people can send more feature-rich messages. This will include JibJab, an app that lets you create animated messages, as well as Bitmoji and Legend, to name a just few.