Dropbox for Developers
Posted by John Esguerra at October 12th, 2010
Dropbox, the web-based file hosting service which uses cloud computing to provide users with storage and sharing of files between numerous desktop and mobile operating systems, has announced the availability of the Dropbox API, an interface for developers that according to the company, will allow you to “supercharge your mobile applications with online file browsing, synchronization, backup, and sharing features.”
Among some of the things that can be done using the Dropbox API are the access of Dropbox accounts from within any application, syncing of files to and from a user’s Dropbox folder, grabbing thumbnails, creating galleries from pictures, or even creating new Dropbox accounts.
The Dropbox service, which is one of the fastest and simplest ways of synchronizing files between different platforms, such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iPhone and Android, is now extended in such a way with this API, that programmers can now integrate user’s Dropbox accounts into an Internet based file system.
These features make it particularly interesting for the iPhone OS, on which iPad is also based, because that OS does not offer a local file system by default. Although currently some Apps use proprietary procedures to store files, these can only be stored locally and within the application. At this stage the exchange of files between different Apps is rather rudimentary made possible with the use of some clever workarounds.
The Dropbox API utilizes a REST-style architecture over the HTTP protocol. In other words, many of the functions in it use standard URLs via GET or POST. All messaging is delivered in the JSON format, so if you’re familiar with HTTP and methods to transmit data that use GET, POST, and JSON and are comfortable with RESTful APIs to the point where you can handle secure authentication using signed pairs/tokens, then you only need the Quick Start and to peruse the method browser or available SDKs. The SDKs contain platform-specific libraries that, in turn, reference the Dropbox API. They are designed to shorten the distance between your application and integrating Dropbox.
You can also download an implementation of the Dropbox Client API in Python, Java and Ruby. The developer’s site notes that the most heavily tested of the libraries is Python, followed by Java, and then Ruby. All libraries are MIT licensed and intended to be useful both as reference documentation and for regular use.
Dropbox also supports anyone making a 3rd party API implementation for their programming language of choice. The following libraries are also available although not maintained by Dropbox.
- Ruby on github by Tim Morgan
- Perl on github by Lenz Gschwendtner
- PHP on google code by Evert
- ActionScript 3 on google code by zeshuo
- C# .NET on codeplex by Dirk
- C# .NET on github by dkarzon
RackNine puts at your disposition a team of qualified developers that can help you integrate your Dropbox accounts into an Internet based file system.
Contact Us for more information.