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Dropbox intros new platform to help developers sync app data

Dropbox kicked off its first developer conference this week by unveiling the Dropbox Platform.

Aimed at developers, the new set of tools helps determine how apps access data across desktop and mobile platforms and devices, and is designed to be "the best foundation to connect the world's apps, devices, and services," Dropbox co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi wrote in a blog post.

When Dropbox - which now has 175 million users - introduced its Sync API in February, it was able to easily cover the syncing of files and folders. But as mobile applications become more commonplace, much of the content people save no longer looks like a regular file. Instead, it could be settings, contacts, to-do list items, or even a mindless doodle.

Enter Datastore API, an extension of Sync that serves as a model for storing and syncing data beyond files. Anyone using an app with datastores will find their content is up to date across all devices, whether they're working online or offline.

"Imagine a task-tracking app that works on both your iPhone and the Web," Houston and Ferdowsi explained. "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."

The third piece of the puzzle is the new Drop-Ins, which let developers connect to hundreds of millions of Dropboxes with just a few lines of code. Use the Chooser to access files from web and mobile apps, or try the Saver, which makes saving files to Dropbox one-click simple.

Those native Chooser and Saver tools have already been integrated into Shutterstock, Mailbox, and Yahoo Mail, the latter of which revealed the new integration in a blog post this week.

On Yahoo Mail for Android, users can send files of any size while on the go. Just start a new email, tap the attachment icon, and choose "Share from Dropbox." A similar feature was introduced earlier this year for Yahoo Mail Web users, and was quickly adopted by millions of users.

"Now, it's just as easy to share documents, photos and videos from Yahoo Mail for Android," the Yahoo Mail team wrote.

Download the updated app now in the Google Play store to check it out.