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Tuesday, July 09, 2013, 02:37 pm PT (05:37 pm ET)

Dropbox announces 'Dropbox Platform,' aims to sync everything in the cloud

At its first-ever developer conference on Tuesday, Dropbox unveiled an ambitious initiative called "Dropbox Platform," a set of APIs that promise to deliver an easy cross-platform syncing solution for just about any form of data.

Dropbox Platform


At the heart of Dropbox Platform is a new API called Datastore, which allows apps to sync almost all types of data, including settings, to-do lists, and game saves, across a number of platforms. The new platform was detailed at Dropbox's event and on its official blog.

"When you use an app built with datastores your data will be up-to-date across all devices whether you’re online or offline," writes Drew Houston. "Imagine a task-tracking app that works on both your iPhone and the web. 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."

While a few apps have already been using Dropbox in this manner, the new API will offer developers an easily accessible method to tap into the company's cloud.

Bolstering the Datastore API is Drop-Ins, which allows app developers to build in Dropbox integration with a few lines of code. Drop-Ins has two main parts: Chooser and Saver. Chooser lets users access and extract files and data stored on Dropbox from within a third-party app, while Saver allows access to a Dropbox account for saving data.

Dropbox Platform


Other companies are trying to create similar cloud-based solutions, including Apple with iCloud, though Dropbox's promise of multi-platform compatibility could make it the more attractive option. The service is also growing exponentially, and now has 175 million users, which is up from 100 million in November.

One of the first apps to benefit from the new platform is the Dropbox-owned Mailbox, which rolled out an update for its iOS app on Tuesday. Version 1.4 of the Gmail client takes advantage of Chooser, allowing users to attach files directly from their Dropbox folder.

According to the Dropbox developers webpage, Datastore beta, Chooser and Drop-Ins are available now for iOS, Android and Javascript.