ownCloud, an open-source file sharing server designed to allow individuals to store their data and synchronize it across devices without relying on third parties like Google and Apple, unveiled a "massively improved" API last week.
Part of ownCloud 8.1, the project's first public API contains more than 190 functions. These include:
- The ability for developers to implement their own encryption modules.
- A new request class designed to support unit testing.
- Custom preview providers which allow developers to add and remove file preview functionality.
- An image manipulation class.
- A new ClientService class for HTTP requests.
- An updated mailer that relies on Swift Mailer.
In addition, in version 8.1, the ownCloud API includes performance enhancements and improved documentation, such as more thorough PHPDoc annotations that indicate when a function became available.
Finally, in ownCloud 8.1, the ownCloud App Store has been updated so that users can install apps that are experimental. Experimental apps can be approved once the community has reviewed them for security and quality.
Critical to success
Despite the popularity of services like Dropbox and Apple iCloud, security and privacy concerns have led many to seek out solutions for cloud file storage, syncing and sharing that are secure and private. ownCloud, which claims over two million users and 300 contributors, is one of the projects that aims to provide such a solution, and ownCloud's API could play a key role in its adoption.
As the ownCloud team explained in the blog post announcing its public API, previously, developers were forced to rely on private APIs not intended for external consumption. "This has the downside that it makes apps dependent on a specific ownCloud release, as a newer version often changes these internal interfaces," the team explained.
With a public API, developers can more easily build applications that integrate with ownCloud, including clients that allow users to sync their data to their ownCloud servers from a multitude of devices. In addition, developers no longer have to worry that private API functions they relied on will be deprecated without warning.