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July 10, 2013

Dropbox Announces New Platform to Sync App Data

Dropbox wants to be more than a storage system for photos and documents — it wants to replace the hard drive.

The company announced its Dropbox Platform — a group of developer tools that enable apps to sync data easily — at its first-ever developer conference Tuesday in San Francisco.

“We’re proud that Dropbox has become the home for millions of people’s most important stuff,” co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi said in a blog post.  “So we want to be sure that stuff is always available, no matter if you’re on your laptop at work, a tablet on a plane, or a Smartphone on the bus. Keeping devices and apps synced with your most up-to-date info has gone from “nice-to-have” to essential, which creates a real challenge for the people developing apps.”

The main aspects of the Dropbox Platform are:

Sync API — Introduced five months ago, this API handles the complexities of caching, syncing and working offline so developers can focus on creating apps.

Datastore API — This API enables developers to store and sync app data. “Imagine a task-tracking app that works on both your iPhone and the Web,” the blog post said. “If it’s built with the Datastore API, you can check off items from your phone during a cross-country flight and add new tasks from your computer and Dropbox will make sure the changes don’t clobber each other.”

• Drop-Ins — Drop-ins, which allow developers to connect to Dropboxes with just a few lines of code, have two components: the chooser and the saver. The chooser gives users access to the files in their Dropbox from Web and mobile apps, while the saver enables users to save to Dropbox with one click.