Creating iOS and Android apps with Dropbox functionality built right in has been simplified due to the company releasing its Sync API — allowing apps to work as if Dropbox was a local file system right on the device itself.
It turns out developing apps that featured a Dropbox integration were a bit of a headache, the company said in a blog post. Dropbox is moving to speed things up for third-party developers, and has built some of the heavy lifting app integration right into the Sync API.
Working Offline, Caching
When developers go to build an app that integrates some Dropbox features, their jobs will include a bit less coding because the Sync API includes things like caching, retrying uploads and downloads and discovering changes. Caching is handled locally, so working offline is possible, and updates sync when an Internet connection is reestablished.
Dropbox has streamlined this process so developers will be more readily able to integrate its features into their apps. Third party apps can now have their own private Dropbox client right inside.
Developers will likely be thrilled with this move because it should simply make building those apps a bit less painful. Obviously, Dropbox doesn't want to make it too easy though, otherwise its own products might not be as attractive to some users.
Document Previews, Photo Collection Sharing Updates
Dropbox is giving a sneak peek at a couple of other features it is close to rolling out. Previewing documents will soon be available, and it will allow users to see documents in the browser without downloading them first. Additionally, sharing groups of photos will be updated so that people don't have to create a shared folder to do so.
Photo collections will be able to be shared all together, but there is no timetable given for either feature to be released. There is an early sign up for both features, however.
Share photo albums without the added step of creating a shared folder and copying images into it.
Android + Windows 8 Updates
Android users already have the photo collection sharing update. It came out last month, and it makes photos sharable with a link so even people who don't have Dropbox can enjoy them. Windows 8 devices got a taste of Dropbox last month as well, and the free app is in the Windows Store for downloading.
One other recent move we're waiting to hear updates on is the Snapjoy photo viewing app, bought in December. There's no word yet on just what the company plans to do with it, so if you are a Dropbox photo sharer, be on the lookout for that tidbit.