One of the great promises of iOS 5 and iCloud at launch was the ability to sync app data. Sadly, with iCloud being a proprietary Apple service, most devs didn’t even bother. The issue primarily is that many game and app makers create programs for multiple platforms. And so, spending time, money and energy on making the apps iCloud-sync friendly doesn’t make sense. Thankfully, Dropbox is here to rescue us from our cross-platform app-syncing hell.
At its developer conference today, the cloud king announced a brand new API for developers. Aptly named ‘Datastore API’, it allows third party developers to sync app data with it. And, since Dropbox is available on all popular smartphone and computer platforms, it’s a much more wide-reaching solution.
The Datastore API provides developers a new way to sync data beyond files across a variety of devices and platforms. The Datastore API allows developers to save their app’s structured data (e.g. contacts, to-do items, and game state) on Dropbox and handles all the magic necessary to sync it quickly and reliably. Users of a Datastore-enabled app can be sure their data will be up-to-date across all their devices whether online or offline.
As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of cross-platform solutions. I use anything I can to ensure that I’m not entirely tied down to iOS. So, I use Wunderlist (as an example) instead of Reminders. I use Dropbox and compatible productivity apps over Documents in the Cloud. I use Spotify over iTunes. The list goes on. What this new API does is open up a new world of freedom. Imagine, picking up Where’s My Water? on your iPad, then picking it up later on your HTC One, without losing any saved data.
Obviously this doesn’t just apply to games. It applies to any app. And – to me at least – it’s possibly the most exciting news for a long time.