Finding integrated cloud services into an iOS application some time ago was something quite rare. There were not many services offering APIs to do that, and moreover just a small percentage out of the total users had a constant Internet connection (3G/4G connections, or constant access to Wifi networks). Nowadays things have dramatically changed, as technology has improved significantly and all the previous problems have been overcome. So, implementing cloud-related features in applications is now a common task, and users expect to see such features more and more to existing and new applications.
Not so long time ago I had written a tutorial about the CloudKit, the cloud solution provided by Apple. This time, I am going to present you another API that it can be used for dealing with files in the cloud, and this is not other than the Dropbox API. I really doubt if there’s even one computer or mobile device user that hasn’t heard of the Dropbox, a well-known platform allowing to keep files on the cloud. If you are not a Dropbox user, then it’s a good chance to give it a try now, as it consists of a good option for having files online, share them with other people and do even more tasks. Dropbox can be used directly in the web by using a browser, by installing a desktop application to the computer, or as a mobile app.
So, through the upcoming parts of this tutorial we’ll see how the Dropbox can be integrated into an iOS app, and how files can be uploaded and downloaded simply by making use of a framework provided by the Dropbox to developers. As you understand, having a Dropbox account is a prerequisite so you can continue in this tutorial, and if you don’t have one, it’s time to create it. It would also be good to be familiarised with it, but as it’s easy to use it, it’s not required.
As you’ll see next, before you’ll be able to write even the first line of code regarding Dropbox, certain preliminary steps are required to be done. I won’t dive into a lot of details now, as we’ll see them right next. In short, two things are required: To download the Dropbox SDK from the Dropbox website (actually from a special Dropbox website dedicated to developers), and to create an app record to a web platform so you get some unique keys that will enable the mobile app to get connected to Dropbox.
There are two options when creating that app record to the Dropbox platform. You can either select to allow access to the whole Dropbox folder, or to create a special folder that will be used by your application only. That folder will be the root for the app. In this tutorial we’ll choose the second option, but generally what you will select depends on what your app is supposed to do.
Further than that, you’ll see that using the Dropbox API is simpler than you imagine. What we’ll do here is what you need to know in the most of cases, as we’ll cover many important stuff; from getting connected to the Dropbox account, to uploading and downloading files.
And with that, let’s move to the next part so we see what we’re about to do in this tutorial, and then to go straight into the details of the Dropbox API.