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Entries in DropBox (1)

Monday
Jan162012

Dropbox != iCloud Document Storage

While prepping for my appearance on iDeveloper Live, I started thinking about why more apps haven't adopted iCloud Document Storage. I mean, of the apps I use regularly, only Goodreader and Pocket God have iCloud support (and, for the life of me, I don't know why Pocket Cloud needs it).

One obvious reason is the API's complexity. It's not easy to implement. There are a lot of moving parts, and you have to get them all working together, or the entire system falls apart. But, I think there's also an issue of expectations. After all, I often hear developers say, "Why should I use iCloud, when I already have Dropbox support?"

Yes, iCloud is complex. Yes, there appear to be a few lingering bugs (though, far fewer than what most people think). Still, it's an important technology, and I feel it is well worth the time to work through its issues. After all, Dropbox is only at best a partial replacement for iCloud.

Don't get me wrong. I love Dropbox. It fills a very important role, letting me easily transfer documents to and from my iDevices. However, it's not a full-feature document syncing solution. You don't receive notifications when an application has been modified. It doesn't support tracking or resolving document conflicts. If you're going to be editing documents on multiple devices, iCloud is definitely the way to go.

And the reverse is also true. If you just want to transfer files to your app, Dropbox may be the best choice. While you could implement file transfers using iCloud, that requires building a desktop client for your app. With Dropbox, users just need a free Dropbox account and a browser, and they're good to go.

So, are you using iCloud storage in your apps? Have you given it a try? What successes and failures have you had? More importantly, if you haven't yet tried iCloud, what's holding you back?