Resolved: all software that has user data should use Dropbox for its network transport API. I’m about 3/4 serious. Files are the universal datastore for software and Dropbox solves the problem of distributing files between machines. And they have a developer program to make it easy to add Dropbox to products.
I’ve been using an iPhone GPS app to track my walks. They integrate with sites like RunKeeper to upload my data. But they don’t have a convenient way for me to get the track myself, say to import into Google Earth. I have to email it to myself, then download it out of Gmail. I wish the iOS app would just write the track into Dropbox and let me pick it up as a local file.
Many apps have data that fits the Dropbox sync paradigm. My note taking app, for instance, becomes “cloud enabled” by simply storing the notes file Dropbox. People run their own private (or shared) GitHub by storing their git software repos in Dropbox. Want your music to be accessible wherever you are? No need for a special service like iTunes Match or Spotify; just put your MP3 files in Dropbox.
This idea isn’t new: there’s a lot of Dropbox hacks out there and cool services like the Dropbox Automator. But those are all presented as Dropbox addons. I want to turn that upside down, I want Dropbox to be the addon to a bunch of other products I already use.
I floated this idea on Twitter and got some pushback about how Dropbox wasn’t good enough, or not private enough, or had some other flaw compared to a custom transport protocol. I agree, it’s not perfect. But Dropbox works remarkably well and is a good match for a lot of products today. If you’re building something that needs a way to share data between machines, consider Dropbox for the transport.