Box upgrades API to make it simpler, more powerful

The company also announced that 15 new mobile applications have been integrated with its OneCloud app repository and console

Box has given its API (application programming interface) a makeover so that developers will have an easier time building and integrating applications with its software, and have those applications do more than is currently possible.

Version 2 of the API for the Box cloud-hosted enterprise collaboration and content management software is now in beta, but is expected to reach final release form soon, according to company officials.

Box plans to keep the original API active at least through the end of this year, and maybe longer if it deems it necessary to avoid disrupting the third-party applications that rely on it. Eventually, existing applications will need to be migrated over to version 2 of the API.

There are currently more than 170 applications that integrate with the Box software, making about 300 million API calls per month. Box is used by 120,000 businesses -- including 82 percent of the Fortune 500 -- and 10 million end users.

The new API is based on more modern technologies, such as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), whereas the original API used XML, for example. The end result should be that developers find it easier and more powerful to use, according to Box.

In terms of new capabilities, version 2 of the API allows for the creation of applications that can access more deeply collaborator discussions occurring in Box among end users. A new feature called Instant Mode streamlines and simplifies the process for granting end user-access to third-party applications tied to Box.

Box also announced that its recently launched OneCloud central console for third-party mobile applications now also has an improved software development kit with new documentation and libraries intended to simplify the application integration process.

In addition, 15 new mobile application vendors have built links for their applications and OneCloud, including CloudOn, iDesk and Handshake, bringing the total to almost 50 iOS-based apps. OneCloud will support Android applications later.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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