Dropbox Exposes Application Metrics to Developers

When it comes to applications running in the cloud, most developers are starved for information. To help alleviate that issue, Dropbox has created an App Metrics dashboard.

Steve Marx, developer advocate for Dropbox, says the App Metrics dashboard is designed to give developers more insight into not only the number of users of their applications but also the number of API calls being made every day.

At the moment, Marx says, more than 300,000 applications are running on top of Dropbox. Those applications generally access three classes of APIs. The first is a basic HTTP-based API. The second is a Data Store API for storing data other than files in Dropbox using a NoSQL database. The third is a recently updated Sync API through which Dropbox appears to be a local file system to any application.

Marx says Dropbox is providing metrics to make it more attractive for developers to deploy applications on top of Dropbox rather than a basic infrastructure-as-a-service platform. Unlike an IaaS platform, Dropbox gives developers access to a robust file system that they don’t have to create themselves.

In fact, the developer ecosystem that is emerging around Dropbox is giving rise to an emerging bring-your-own-workflow (BYOW) phenomenon though which users of mobile computing applications are invoking services such as Dropbox to share data across multiple applications.

One of the most appealing attributes of Dropbox, says Marx, is that as a cloud service it is one of the few platforms that allows users to share data across multiple applications running on a wide variety of mobile devices.

While Dropbox was once considered something of a shadow IT service pariah in enterprise circles, it and other cloud services have emerged as workflow platforms that are optimized for the needs of mobile computing users. To fuel that trend, Dropbox has been competing for the hearts and minds of developers that create applications that drive more usage of Dropbox.

Critical to that effort is providing developers with statistics that give them not only more insight into usage of their applications, but ultimately information that leads to the development of higher-quality applications. Dropbox as yet is not providing any metrics that developers could use to compare how their applications are doing relative to others or which applications on the Dropbox platform are gaining the most traction.

But as time goes on, it’s clear that the greater the level of analytics that any given cloud platform makes available to developers, the more likely it is to attain the critical developer mass it needs to ultimately succeed.

Be sure to read the next Dashboards article: Leftronic's Fetch Tool Retrieves and Visualizes Data from Any HTTP API