Getting Started

Cloud Code is built into Parse Server. The default entry point for your Cloud Code is at ./cloud/main.js.

What is Cloud Code?

For complex apps, sometimes you just need a bit of logic that isn’t running on a mobile device. Cloud Code makes this possible.

Cloud Code is easy to use because it’s built on the same JavaScript SDK that powers thousands of apps. The only difference is that this code runs in your Parse Server rather than running on the user’s mobile device. When you update your Cloud Code, it becomes available to all mobile environments instantly. You don’t have to wait for a new release of your application. This lets you change app behavior on the fly and add new features faster.

Even if you’re only familiar with mobile development, we hope you’ll find Cloud Code straightforward and easy to use.

Want to contribute to this doc? Edit this section.

Cloud Functions

Let’s look at a slightly more complex example where Cloud Code is useful. One reason to do computation in the cloud is so that you don’t have to send a huge list of objects down to a device if you only want a little bit of information. For example, let’s say you’re writing an app that lets people review movies. A single Review object could look like:

{
  "movie": "The Matrix",
  "stars": 5,
  "comment": "Too bad they never made any sequels."
}

If you wanted to find the average number of stars for The Matrix, you could query for all of the reviews, and average the stars on the device. However, this uses a lot of bandwidth when you only need a single number. With Cloud Code, we can just pass up the name of the movie, and return the average star rating.

Cloud functions accept a JSON parameters dictionary on the request object, so we can use that to pass up the movie name. The entire Parse JavaScript SDK is available in the cloud environment, so we can use that to query over Review objects. Together, the code to implement averageStars looks like:

Parse.Cloud.define("averageStars", function(request, response) {
  var query = new Parse.Query("Review");
  query.equalTo("movie", request.params.movie);
  query.find({
    success: function(results) {
      var sum = 0;
      for (var i = 0; i < results.length; ++i) {
        sum += results[i].get("stars");
      }
      response.success(sum / results.length);
    },
    error: function() {
      response.error("movie lookup failed");
    }
  });
});

The only difference between using averageStars and hello is that we have to provide the parameter that will be accessed in request.params.movie when we call the Cloud function. Read on to learn more about how Cloud functions can be called.

Cloud functions can be called from any of the client SDKs, as well as through the REST API. For example, to call the Cloud function named averageStars with a parameter named movie from an Android app:

HashMap<String, Object> params = new HashMap<String, Object>();
params.put("movie", "The Matrix");
ParseCloud.callFunctionInBackground("averageStars", params, new FunctionCallback<Float>() {
   void done(Float ratings, ParseException e) {
       if (e == null) {
          // ratings is 4.5
       }
   }
});

To call the same Cloud function from an iOS app:

// Objective-C
[PFCloud callFunctionInBackground:@"averageStars"
                   withParameters:@{@"movie": @"The Matrix"}
                            block:^(NSNumber *ratings, NSError *error) {
  if (!error) {
     // ratings is 4.5
  }
}];
// Swift
PFCloud.callFunctionInBackground("averageRatings", withParameters: ["movie":"The Matrix"]) {
  (response: AnyObject?, error: NSError?) -> Void in
  let ratings = response as? Float
  // ratings is 4.5
}

This is how you would call the same Cloud function using PHP:

$ratings = ParseCloud::run("averageRatings", ["movie" => "The Matrix"]);
// $ratings is 4.5

The following example shows how you can call the “averageRatings” Cloud function from a .NET C# app such as in the case of Windows 10, Unity, and Xamarin applications:

IDictionary<string, object> params = new Dictionary<string, object>
{
    { "movie", "The Matrix" }
};
ParseCloud.CallFunctionAsync<IDictionary<string, object>>("averageStars", params).ContinueWith(t => {
  var ratings = t.Result;
  // ratings is 4.5
});

You can also call Cloud functions using the REST API:

curl -X POST \
  -H "X-Parse-Application-Id: ${APPLICATION_ID}" \
  -H "X-Parse-REST-API-Key: ${REST_API_KEY}" \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{ "movie": "The Matrix" }' \
  https://api.parse.com/1/functions/averageStars

And finally, to call the same function from a JavaScript app:

Parse.Cloud.run('averageStars', { movie: 'The Matrix' }).then(function(ratings) {
  // ratings should be 4.5
});

In general, two arguments will be passed into cloud functions:

  1. request - The request object contains information about the request. The following fields are set:
  2. params - The parameters object sent to the function by the client.
  3. user - The Parse.User that is making the request. This will not be set if there was no logged-in user.

If the function is successful, the response in the client looks like:

{ "result": 4.8 }

If there is an error, the response in the client looks like:

{
  "code": 141,
  "error": "movie lookup failed"
}

Cloud Jobs

Sometimes you want to execute long running functions, and you don’t want to wait for the response. Cloud Jobs are just meant for that.

Define a Job

Parse.Cloud.job("myJob", function(request, status) {
  // the params passed through the start request
  var params = request.params;
  // Headers from the request that triggered the job
  var headers = request.headers;

  // get the parse-server logger
  var log = request.log;

  // Update the Job status message
  status.message("I just started");
  doSomethingVeryLong().then(function(result) {
    // Mark the job as successful
    // success and error only support string as parameters
    status.success("I just finished");
  }, function(error) {
    // Mark the job as errored
    status.error("There was an error");
  })
});

Note that calling status.success or status.error won’t prevent any further execution of the job.

Running a Job

Calling jobs is done via the REST API and is protected by the master key.

curl -X POST -H 'X-Parse-Application-Id: appId' -H 'X-Parse-Master-Key: masterKey' https://my-parse-server.com/1/jobs/myJob

The response will consist of an empty body and contain the X-Parse-Job-Status-Id: a1c3e5g7i9k header. With the _JobStatus’s objectId that has just been created.

You can pass some data alongside the call if you want to customize the job execution.

Scheduling a Job

We don’t support at the moment job scheduling and highly recommend to use a 3rd party system for scheduling your jobs.

Viewing Jobs

Viewing jobs is currently not supported on parse-dashboard, but you can query the _JobStatus class with a masterKey call to fetch your recent jobs.

beforeSave Triggers

Implementing validation

Another reason to run code in the cloud is to enforce a particular data format. For example, you might have both an Android and an iOS app, and you want to validate data for each of those. Rather than writing code once for each client environment, you can write it just once with Cloud Code.

Let’s take a look at our movie review example. When you’re choosing how many stars to give something, you can typically only give 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 stars. You can’t give -6 stars or 1337 stars in a review. If we want to reject reviews that are out of bounds, we can do this with the beforeSave method:

Parse.Cloud.beforeSave("Review", function(request, response) {
  if (request.object.get("stars") < 1) {
    response.error("you cannot give less than one star");
  } else if (request.object.get("stars") > 5) {
    response.error("you cannot give more than five stars");
  } else {
    response.success();
  }
});

If response.error is called, the Review object will not be saved, and the client will get an error. If response.success is called, the object will be saved normally. Your code should call one of these two callbacks.

One useful tip is that even if your mobile app has many different versions, the same version of Cloud Code applies to all of them. Thus, if you launch an application that doesn’t correctly check the validity of input data, you can still fix this problem by adding a validation with beforeSave.

If you want to use beforeSave for a predefined class in the Parse JavaScript SDK (e.g. Parse.User), you should not pass a String for the first argument. Instead, you should pass the class itself:

Parse.Cloud.beforeSave(Parse.User, function(request, response) {
  if (!request.object.get("email")) {
    response.error("email is required for signup");
  } else {
    response.success();
  }
});

Modifying Objects on Save

In some cases, you don’t want to throw out invalid data. You just want to tweak it a bit before saving it. beforeSave can handle this case, too. You just call response.success on the altered object.

In our movie review example, we might want to ensure that comments aren’t too long. A single long comment might be tricky to display. We can use beforeSave to truncate the comment field to 140 characters:

Parse.Cloud.beforeSave("Review", function(request, response) {
  var comment = request.object.get("comment");
  if (comment.length > 140) {
    // Truncate and add a ...
    request.object.set("comment", comment.substring(0, 137) + "...");
  }
  response.success();
});

afterSave Triggers

In some cases, you may want to perform some action, such as a push, after an object has been saved. You can do this by registering a handler with the afterSave method. For example, suppose you want to keep track of the number of comments on a blog post. You can do that by writing a function like this:

Parse.Cloud.afterSave("Comment", function(request) {
  query = new Parse.Query("Post");
  query.get(request.object.get("post").id, {
    success: function(post) {
      post.increment("comments");
      post.save();
    },
    error: function(error) {
      console.error("Got an error " + error.code + " : " + error.message);
    }
  });
});

The client will receive a successful response to the save request after the handler terminates, regardless of how it terminates. For instance, the client will receive a successful response even if the handler throws an exception. Any errors that occurred while running the handler can be found in the Cloud Code log.

If you want to use afterSave for a predefined class in the Parse JavaScript SDK (e.g. Parse.User), you should not pass a String for the first argument. Instead, you should pass the class itself.

beforeDelete Triggers

You can run custom Cloud Code before an object is deleted. You can do this with the beforeDelete method. For instance, this can be used to implement a restricted delete policy that is more sophisticated than what can be expressed through ACLs. For example, suppose you have a photo album app, where many photos are associated with each album, and you want to prevent the user from deleting an album if it still has a photo in it. You can do that by writing a function like this:

Parse.Cloud.beforeDelete("Album", function(request, response) {
  query = new Parse.Query("Photo");
  query.equalTo("album", request.object.id);
  query.count({
    success: function(count) {
      if (count > 0) {
        response.error("Can't delete album if it still has photos.");
      } else {
        response.success();
      }
    },
    error: function(error) {
      response.error("Error " + error.code + " : " + error.message + " when getting photo count.");
    }
  });
});

If response.error is called, the Album object will not be deleted, and the client will get an error. If response.success is called, the object will be deleted normally. Your code should call one of these two callbacks.

If you want to use beforeDelete for a predefined class in the Parse JavaScript SDK (e.g. Parse.User), you should not pass a String for the first argument. Instead, you should pass the class itself.

afterDelete Triggers

In some cases, you may want to perform some action, such as a push, after an object has been deleted. You can do this by registering a handler with the afterDelete method. For example, suppose that after deleting a blog post, you also want to delete all associated comments. You can do that by writing a function like this:

Parse.Cloud.afterDelete("Post", function(request) {
  query = new Parse.Query("Comment");
  query.equalTo("post", request.object);
  query.find({
    success: function(comments) {
      Parse.Object.destroyAll(comments, {
        success: function() {},
        error: function(error) {
          console.error("Error deleting related comments " + error.code + ": " + error.message);
        }
      });
    },
    error: function(error) {
      console.error("Error finding related comments " + error.code + ": " + error.message);
    }
  });
});

The afterDelete handler can access the object that was deleted through request.object. This object is fully fetched, but cannot be refetched or resaved.

The client will receive a successful response to the delete request after the handler terminates, regardless of how it terminates. For instance, the client will receive a successful response even if the handler throws an exception. Any errors that occurred while running the handler can be found in the Cloud Code log.

If you want to use afterDelete for a predefined class in the Parse JavaScript SDK (e.g. Parse.User), you should not pass a String for the first argument. Instead, you should pass the class itself.

Want to contribute to this doc? Edit this section.

Networking

httpRequest

You can use your favorite npm module to make HTTP requests, such as request. Parse Server also supports Parse.Cloud.httpRequest for legacy reasons. It allows you to send HTTP requests to any HTTP Server. This function takes an options object to configure the call.

A simple GET request would look like:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  url: 'http://www.parse.com/'
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  // success
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
},function(httpResponse) {
  // error
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest returns a Promise that will be resolved on a successful http status code; otherwise the Promise will be rejected. In the above example, we use then() to handle both outcomes.

A GET request that specifies the port number would look like:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  url: 'http://www.parse.com:8080/'
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

Valid port numbers are 80, 443, and all numbers from 1025 through 65535.

Query Parameters

You can specify query parameters to append to the end of the url by setting params on the options object. You can either pass a JSON object of key value pairs like:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  url: 'http://www.google.com/search',
  params: {
    q : 'Sean Plott'
  }
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

or as a raw String like this:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  url: 'http://www.google.com/search',
  params: 'q=Sean Plott'
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

Setting Headers

You can send HTTP Headers by setting the header attribute of the options object. Let’s say you want set the Content-Type of the request, you can do:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  url: 'http://www.example.com/',
  headers: {
    'Content-Type': 'application/json;charset=utf-8'
  }
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

Sending a POST Request

You can send a post request by setting the method attribute of the options object. The body of the POST can be set using the body. A simple example would be:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  method: 'POST',
  url: 'http://www.example.com/create_post',
  body: {
    title: 'Vote for Pedro',
    body: 'If you vote for Pedro, your wildest dreams will come true'
  }
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

This will send a post to http://www.example.com/create_post with body that is the url form encoded body attribute. If you want the body to be JSON encoded, you can instead do:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  method: 'POST',
  url: 'http://www.example.com/create_post',
  headers: {
    'Content-Type': 'application/json;charset=utf-8'
  },
  body: {
    title: 'Vote for Pedro',
    body: 'If you vote for Pedro, your wildest dreams will come true'
  }
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

To ensure that your HTTP request body is encoded correctly, please always include the charset in your Content-Type header.

Following Redirects

By default, Parse.Cloud.httpRequest does not follow redirects caused by HTTP 3xx response codes. You can use the followRedirects option to change this behavior to follow redirects:

Parse.Cloud.httpRequest({
  url: 'http://www.example.com/',
  followRedirects: true
}).then(function(httpResponse) {
  console.log(httpResponse.text);
}, function(httpResponse) {
  console.error('Request failed with response code ' + httpResponse.status);
});

The Response Object

The response object passed into the success and error will contain:

  • status - The HTTP Response status.
  • headers - The response headers
  • buffer - The raw byte representation of the response body.
  • text - The raw response body.
  • data - The parsed response, if Cloud Code knows how to parse the content-type that was sent.
  • cookies - The cookies sent by the server. They are Parse.Cloud.Cookie objects.
Want to contribute to this doc? Edit this section.