Dropbox has released a new API for iOS and Android that will let developers better incorporate Dropbox's syncing, caching and file management abilities into their apps. Called Sync API, it will let allow apps to manage file syncing, caching, offline access and track changes as if the files were stored locally. The company says that this API will be like having a private version of Dropbox built right into a third-party app.
Because the Sync API caches locally, your app works even without an Internet connection. Dropbox says it will sync files when the app has access to the Internet.
Making the poor developers' lives a teeny bit easier. One API at a time.
Previously, integrating Dropbox into apps was a messy affair as the API was quite like traditional Web APIs. As a result of this patchy integration, file syncing always seemed to be the proverbial Achilles’ heel for any integration with the service. With the previous API, a developer would need to download a file, retry if it failed, store it somewhere, set up the location, and handle re-uploads. If a user went offline, the developer had to find a way to track changes and re-upload the changed file when the user had Internet access again.
With the Sync API, the process is far smoother and Dropbox takes care of all these issues. Dropbox believes that making the integration process smoother and simpler will drive up adoption and will strengthen its relationship with developers and theirs with users.
It will be quite interesting to see what developers could do using this simple, easy to use API. If nothing else, Dropbox will find a host of new developers who will want to integrate the cloud service into their apps for saving them some serious coding trouble.
Dropbox Product Manager Sean Lynch told TechCrunch that this was yet another attempt to try and simplify the lives of developers when it comes to creating apps that can work seamlessly across platforms with remotely stored files. This API will aim to be just like Dropbox Chooser, which the company unveiled in November 2012.
“Dropbox’s mission is really to let users access their data wherever they are, and that’s not necessarily geographically speaking,” he said. “Whatever device, whatever platform, whether their computer at home, their smartphone or their tablet, iOS or Android, it doesn’t matter; what we want users to be able to expect is whatever device they plug into, they can access their files on Dropbox when they get there.”
Dropbox has been earnestly trying to please its user base by frequently adding newer features to the app. Earlier in January, Dropbox for Android got an update that allowed users to share multiple images at once, making the app very convenient for users who want to share files.
The company also gave the app a facelift before putting it into the Windows 8 Store. The revamp makes it look like it belongs within Windows 8's Modern UI.