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

post #1 of 29
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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.
post #2 of 29

Just wait until Google or Microsoft acquires them... I can see it now. Apple should've bought them before they got so popular.

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post #3 of 29
Well, that would be nice. I just configured a friends' iPad and he wanted to have all his MS Office documents locally on his iPad. So I looked around the Dropbox app, and all I could do is add it as a favourite. But I couldn't do it on folders, just files. And you loose the file structure, meaning all files tagged as favourite, available offline, were in one large list. Totally useless, unless you only have a few files to be made available offline.

I wonder if annoyances like these will convert people to use Macs with iWork. Are there any solutions to convert a whole Windows/Office PC to iWork? Or should I try something like this with Automator? (Talking about 3000 Office Word and Excel files here)
Edited by PhilBoogie - 7/10/13 at 1:44pm
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post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Just wait until Google or Microsoft acquires them... I can see it now. Apple should've bought them before they got so popular.

Word has it that they asked a 9-digit price, and Apple thought it was too much.
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post #5 of 29
Jeez, next will be the iDrop Phone. /s
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post #6 of 29

<3 Dropbox

post #7 of 29
Dropbox is still my go to app for cross platform data storage. Documents in the cloud needs lots of work for it to be a serious solution. The fact that it is tied to an app and there is no file system makes it difficult to work with.

I am hoping that the new labeling system can be a solution, but I am not hopeful. There needs to be a way to have different types of files all in the same place. I teach and create folders for each class. These folders contain Word Files, PDF's and Keynote presentations. If there was a way to create a label for each of these files, such as the name of the class. Then they could all be viewed at the same time, this would be very helpful. I could live with converting all the Word files to Pages files without a problem.

Also, there is no version of Preview for the IPAD. Hard to believe but true. This means that I can't store a PDF file in iCloud and then view it from my IPAD. Apple how hard can this be to do? Add collaborative abilities to the new IWork in the Cloud would be a big plus as well.
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post #8 of 29
Actually Apple wanted to buy dropbox and put down a large figure on the table but Dropbox said that wanted to be just like Apple and didn't want to be bought.
post #9 of 29

I <3 Dropbox as well. Love it.

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post #10 of 29
Love dropbox for storing all my work files, and only use icloud for backup and syncing basic Apple content between devices.
Edited by FreeRange - 7/9/13 at 5:50pm
post #11 of 29
I'd get more use out of it if they upped the free storage quota. It's OK, but definitely not something I'd pay a subscription fee for. It's really annoying that a shared folder takes up the full amount of storage on all connected accounts. So if a friend drops a hugs file into a shared folder I have to put up with nags from dropbox about limited storage space.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Word has it that they asked a 9-digit price, and Apple thought it was too much.

What I heard was Jobs drank from his tea cupped with both hands and offered $800M and the Dropbox guys said they weren't for sale.
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post #13 of 29

NSA will definitely love this technology.  Get more people addicted to the cloud, so they can process your information and see what kind of secrets you have and maybe some insider information they can front-run to make some quick bucks.  :)

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickwalker View Post

NSA will definitely love this technology.  Get more people addicted to the cloud, so they can process your information and see what kind of secrets you have and maybe some insider information they can front-run to make some quick bucks.  1smile.gif

The faster we have a new political class in Wash the better. There needs to be some major major reform and power restructuring put in place before the whole thing really implodes. Not that it hasn't already.
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post #15 of 29
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Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Jeez, next will be the iDrop Phone. /s

they break if you do that! :-)

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post #16 of 29
I'm surprised no one has mentioned other competitors.
 
I'm a big fan of Dropbox but their limited space is something I have to manage constantly and their pricing is quite expensive in my opinion.
 
I don't know how long this promo will last since Copy.com will offer 15 gigs free plus 5 per referral for early adopters. You start with 15 gigs when you sign up. Plus using the referral link you get an additional 5.

Please use this referral link to get your 20 gigs. Thanks.
https://copy.com?r=YjTxeO
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickFaced View Post

I'm surprised no one has mentioned other competitors.
 
I'm a big fan of Dropbox but their limited space is something I have to manage constantly and their pricing is quite expensive in my opinion.
 
I don't know how long this promo will last since Copy.com will offer 15 gigs free plus 5 per referral for early adopters. You start with 15 gigs when you sign up. Plus using the referral link you get an additional 5.

Please use this referral link to get your 20 gigs. Thanks.
https://copy.com?r=YjTxeO

 

 

I was thinking the same thing. I got a Box account that gave me 50GB free. They still offer 50GB I believe but now require an business or school email address to get the 50GB. Sign up with a gmail for example and you only get 5GB free like dropbox. Don't overlook your ISP either, I use Cox Cable and get 15GB free and they have a very nice OSX and iOS app to help sync. 

 

Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. 

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post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


The faster we have a new political class in Wash the better. There needs to be some major major reform and power restructuring put in place before the whole thing really implodes. Not that it hasn't already.

 

Man, you are soooo naive!   Do you really believe that shit?  

post #19 of 29

F*ck Dropbox.  

 

(and her little dog too)

post #20 of 29
I wonder if they see the writing on the wall with Apples data centers being built. Apple has a habit of making third party stuff part of their OS and services. Of course one could argue they already had this with iDisk and scrapped it, though they could be coming out with a second revision in the next year or two as part of iCloud. I am sure Skydrive and Google Drive has also entrenched on some of their turf as well.
post #21 of 29
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Originally Posted by iSteelers View Post

I wonder if they see the writing on the wall with Apples data centers being built. Apple has a habit of making third party stuff part of their OS and services. Of course one could argue they already had this with iDisk and scrapped it, though they could be coming out with a second revision in the next year or two as part of iCloud.

With the EOL of iDisk, I think Apple really wants to kill the hierarchical file structure as they 'promote' to have your documents 'within' the app. Just look where iWork for iCloud is taking us. Then again, they've improved on the Finder in 10.9, making my point moot as well.
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post #22 of 29
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Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

I'd get more use out of it if they upped the free storage quota. It's OK, but definitely not something I'd pay a subscription fee for. It's really annoying that a shared folder takes up the full amount of storage on all connected accounts. So if a friend drops a hugs file into a shared folder I have to put up with nags from dropbox about limited storage space.

I think it's really annoying that people think other people's work should be free. I have no problems at all to pay for a great service such as dropbox.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

With the EOL of iDisk, I think Apple really wants to kill the hierarchical file structure as they 'promote' to have your documents 'within' the app. Just look where iWork for iCloud is taking us. Then again, they've improved on the Finder in 10.9, making my point moot as well.

Yeah it's taking us in a direction where you can't organize your files anymore and you have to keep files locked inside an apps sandbox. They are taking us to a place where no one wants to be.

If you think (sub) folders are complex, just have a couple without sub folders or use 'documents' as a preset folder. What's the deal?

Hierarchical file structure as a metaphor is constantly being called 'old fashioned' but in fact it's simply the best way of organizating your files.
On the other hand, searching files greatly benefit from tags, meta-data, search filters etc.

Apple made the mistake of not separating these two things. They are solving a problem which is not a problem. No one is complaining and Apple's way of doing things is not innovative.
Apple's other big mistake is keeping iCloud Apple only.

I hope iCloud will fail or get fixed; the product is inferior to Dropbox and is in the way of people's productivity.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

F*ck Dropbox.  

(and her little dog too)

Huh?
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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post


I think it's really annoying that people think other people's work should be free. I have no problems at all to pay for a great service such as dropbox.

 

Yet, his criticism, one reason he doesn't want to pay for it, is entirely valid:

 

Quote:
... It's really annoying that a shared folder takes up the full amount of storage on all connected accounts. So if a friend drops a hugs file into a shared folder I have to put up with nags from dropbox about limited storage space. ...

 

So, essentially, Dropbox is dinging everyone's storage quota even though there's only one copy of that file that is being shared. It's double dipping on a grand scale. Yes, it has to sync that data to all the systems it's being shared to, but they don't charge you by bandwidth usage, they charge by disk space on the server, and that 5GB file is only taking up 5GB of disk on the server, not 25GB because it's shared with 4 other people.

 

Frankly, the whole thing is more than a bit scammy.

 

And, Dropbox is not all that anyway. It doesn't "just work" all the time when you have shared files, and I don't think that's going to improve with this new effort. If anything it will get worse because developers will be sloppy with their syncing.

 

 

On the other hand, I think Apple is making a mistake making the storage flat. Even with labels, it's counter to the way people think and work. People like to organize by compartmentalizing, and labeling is not as natural way of doing that as putting things in separate containers. Sure, the hierarchical file system has it's drawbacks, but it scales better than labeling.  Likewise, having apps own data is a step backwards.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

So, essentially, Dropbox is dinging everyone's storage quota even though there's only one copy of that file that is being shared. It's double dipping on a grand scale. Yes, it has to sync that data to all the systems it's being shared to, but they don't charge you by bandwidth usage, they charge by disk space on the server, and that 5GB file is only taking up 5GB of disk on the server, not 25GB because it's shared with 4 other people.

OK, I agree with you on that criticism. But just because you have a point doesn't mean it should be free.
Double dipping is probably the best description I've heard for this so far. Data supplied by a shared folder should not be eaten off your quota.
post #27 of 29
My opinion is only reinforced that when a customer buys any Apple "iDevice", they should receive an online storage account (with iCloud) equivalent to the storage of the device. If the person sells the device, they should have the option to pay to keep the online storage or upgrade to a new device to maintain the free storage status. If they choose neither upgrade/maintenance path, the iCloud account is closed after 30 days to give them time to back up their data. And if the customer has multiple devices (iPhone, iPad mini, or whatever) then the total online storage should be large enough to completely backup the contents if each device.

This remains my preferred stance for Apple, as it would retain and increase customer loyalty and encourage the purchase of costlier higher capacity mobile products.
Edited by SpamSandwich - 7/10/13 at 7:05am

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post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

OK, I agree with you on that criticism. But just because you have a point doesn't mean it should be free.
Double dipping is probably the best description I've heard for this so far. Data supplied by a shared folder should not be eaten off your quota.

Considering most use their storage for free, this is the trade off. I've been very happy with their ease of use thus far.

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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dacloo View Post

Apple's other big mistake is keeping iCloud Apple only.

I hope iCloud will fail or get fixed; the product is inferior to Dropbox and is in the way of people's productivity.

There is of course the Windows control panel which lets Windows users sync their photos, so it's not totally Apple-only. And they can login from a Windows box, using IE or, cough, Chrome.

Also, I don't think iCloud is inferior.
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