The big news coming out of Box Dev 2015 was Box Developer Edition, a new offering that lets app developers build on top of Box’s storage and other services without making it obvious they’re using Box.
The new product allows developers to use the parts of Box they want—file storage, content previews, and so on—under the hood of their own applications. Users can just use the developer’s app without having to log into Box separately.
In a demonstration of the product in San Francisco at Box Dev 2015, Box’s annual conference for developers, a sample user logged into a dummy healthcare app and gained access to different folders which had content in them. The experience appeared seamless—and Box’s role wasn’t obvious.
Later, Box engineering executives showed off an administrative dashboard. Developers using the product will have full access to information like all the users of the app, their folders, usage data, and more analytics.
“It doesn’t just integrate with our APIs,” said Box CEO Aaron Levie in a press Q&A following the keynote presentation. “You can actually build on all the technology we have. That’s what the Dev edition is all about. It’s a developer-owned instance of Box. They can store and manage all the content on their platform.”
Currently in a limited beta, Box Developer Edition will have a cost based on the number of users, according to Levie. Data storage will come free since that isn’t the focus, he said.
Most other cloud providers, like Amazon and Google, charge developers based on storage or bandwidth used. This could make Box Developer Edition appealing to certain kinds of developers, but without details on the pricing, it’s hard to know how competitive the offering will be and for which apps Box will end up being cheaper or have more of the right features.
“[The value of Box Developer Edition] has far less to do with storage and way more to do with workflow in your app that Box is enabling,” said Levie.
Formal pricing for the product will come this summer.
Photo by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite