Dropbox aims to replace the hard drive: new APIs promise easier data storage and cross-platform sync for every app

By on July 10, 2013, 11:30 AM

Yesterday Dropbox kicked off its first developer conference since launching in 2008 by announcing a new set of APIs designed to better integrate the service with every app on every device you own. Two APIs were specifically mentioned during the event, Datastore and Drop-ins, which aim to transform Dropbox into a platform that enables a pervasive data layer, or the “spiritual successor to the hard drive.”

Although apps have long allowed files to be stored locally on users’ Dropbox, the company is now giving developers the option to store other app data directly on their servers. This makes things more transparent for users and gives developers a additional benefits when it comes to synchronisation, with the option to work both online or offline and automatically resolving any conflicts when changes are made on multiple devices.

Dropbox says this is the easiest way to keep an app's structured data, like settings, bookmarks, and game save state, in sync across multiple devices. That’s similar to what iCloud does already but the key here is cross-platform compatibility. In other words, if Dropbox has its way, you will be able to start playing Angry Birds or any other game on your iPad and pick up where you left off on your Galaxy S4. The idea is to free apps from their iOS/Android dependence and let you work seamlessly on any device you own or might switch to in the future.


Image source: Wired

During a demo of the Datastore API, Dropbox’s Ruchi Sanghvi showed a proof-of-concept drawing app that stored any changes made to the canvas on a Mac and displayed them in near-realtime on the iPad and web.

“Nobody talks of their content anymore as my files and folders,” Sanghvi said. Instead, we talk in terms of the content itself: photos, videos, music, games. But there’s still a place for the traditional paradigm of working with files. With the Drop-ins API, developers can implement open and save buttons into their apps, allowing users to browse their Dropbox folders much in the same way they would on their desktops. The much-hyped Mailbox email app, bought by Dropbox for $100 million earlier this year, is among the first to implement this.

During the keynote, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said the service now has more than 175 million users, built-in support from some 100,000 apps and more than a billion files saved each day.




User Comments: 4

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

bough by Dropbox for $100 million earlier this year,

with supper from than 100,000 apps and more than a billion files saved each day.

I think you may have a sticky "T" key. Great read though.

RH00D RH00D said:

I don't really understand the hype behind Dropbox. All they do is resell Amazon's cloud storage and slap a nice front-end on it.

If you're tech savvy enough you can just buy cloud storage yourself from Amazon and willy nilly your own basic front-end with some free FTP programs for significantly less money.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

If you're tech savvy enough you can just buy cloud storage yourself from Amazon and willy nilly your own basic front-end with some free FTP programs for significantly less money.

Your first sentence answers your confusion to the hype. People don't want to mess with that, they just want to get an app and with entering a username and pass they get their files on multiple devices. Also, I don't pay anything for Dropbox. I have 5 GB of space, perhaps that isn't enough for some people, but I suspect it is more than enough for 90+% of dropbox users.

Guest said:

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The greater Dropbox expands its reach, the easier the NSA and the 200 other

agencies will have it when it comes to handling YOUR data! How fantastic!

What a service, WHAT A SERVICE !! ^^

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