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Developers on Dropbox Datastore as an iCloud alternative

Lex Friedman | July 15, 2013
Developers would love to love iCloud. But many of them find Apple's syncing platform ineffective, unreliable, or worse. Some developers have even pointed to iCloud sync woes as a significant holdup in releasing new versions of their apps.

Siegel continued: "Dropbox does provide valuable services in the SDK, but these additions, while intriguing to some and potentially useful to many, do not represent an alternative to iCloud."

Of course, if you want your app to sync to any non-Apple device, or to sync to your service's website, iCloud won't work. Said Pierce, "[Dropbox's] additional flexibility of being able to access that data on Web or Android-based clients is attractive for many apps as well, and not something Apple offers."

Siegel added: "Anyone who's been working on iCloud thus far has either made it work, is in a holding pattern waiting for developments, or has gone on to devise and implement an alternative strategy. Although the Datastore API may look promising, in none of those cases do I expect a developer to drop what they're doing and try to adopt it if they already are in the process of executing an existing plan."

If your app's needs can be met by (and synced with) Datastore, added Perry, "then I think you'd be crazy to not at least consider it. The integration won't be as seamless as iCloud promises to be, but the Dropbox Datastore API opens up all kinds of business opportunities that aren't possible with iCloud."

"Ultimately," Pierce said, Dropbox Datastore "will be judged on how reliably and efficiently it can deliver sync data"—especially because "iCloud Core Data [sync] sounds great on paper, but it practice has not delivered on its promises. If Dropbox can deliver and continue to build on this platform, I think they can become a real player in the database sync arena."


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