Better ParseCallbacks

I recently built an Android app using Parse as my mBaaS (mobile backend as a service). It is a pretty cool service and while it does have it's issues, it certainly saves a lot of time when you are just worried about getting an MVP to market.

One common problem faced by Android developers is handling the callbacks from threads started from Activities and Fragments. Here is a little snippet I used to work around the issue I faced when ParseCallback would execute on an Activity or Fragment that has been garbage collected.

For example:

package com.bryanstern.parsecallbacks;

import com.parse.ParseException;
import com.parse.ParseObject;

import java.lang.ref.WeakReference;
import java.util.List;

public class FindCallback <T extends ParseObject, U> extends com.parse.FindCallback {
    WeakReference<U> weakRef;

    public FindCallback(U object) {
        weakRef = new WeakReference<>(object);

    public void done(List list, ParseException e) {
        done(list, weakRef.get(), e);

    // To be overridden
    public void done(List<T> list, U a, ParseException e) {


FindCallback keeps a weak reference to the Activity, Fragment, or whatever other object you want. This allows the garbage collector to still do it's job and prevent memory leaks, but it also let's you handle the case in which your Activity no longer exists.

For example, in your Activity:

ParseQuery<ParseUser> query = ParseUser.getQuery();
query.findInBackground(new FindCallback<ParseUser, Activity>(this) {
    public void done(List<ParseUser> list, Activity activity, ParseException e) {
        if (activity != null) {
            if (e == null) {
                // display list of users
            } else {
                // handle error

This pattern can easily be extended to CountCallback, DeleteCallback, etc...

The Parse Android SDK does save a lof of work in most cases. However, if I were to tackle this project again, I would probably have used their REST API in combination with Retrofit or Volley.