Popular cloud storage and file synchronisation service Dropbox is set to drop the Public folder from new accounts from August 1, drawing ire from app developers that rely on its service for their apps to function.
Announced in an email to Dropbox-registered developers, the company said that as a result of a recent change to its service that allowed users to share links to files and folders from anywhere within their account, it would be dropping the Public folder from any new account.
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Developers were warned that if their app depended on Public folders, they would need to adapt their API calls to the service.
The Dropbox email in full:
We wanted to let our developers know about an upcoming change to the Public folder for all user accounts. In April, we launched the ability to share any file or folder in your Dropbox with a simple link. This new sharing mechanism is a more generalized, scalable way to support many of the same use cases as the Public folder.
After July 31, we will no longer create Public folders in any new Dropbox accounts. If your app depends on Public folders, we recommend switching to the /shares API call. Public folders in existing accounts, however, will continue to function as before.
Many existing users are worried that they will lose their Public folders, but this isn’t the case. The change will only be enforced in new Dropbox accounts, meaning that people that have shared files from their Public folder will still be able to do so.
Since Dropbox launched, the service has become invaluable to businesses to help share project files and keep their clients updated. App developers have used the Public folder to store valuable files and link to them directly, serving as a cheap (in most cases free) option to see files shared across the Web.
A Dropbox staffer, going under the name of Michael N, explains the change and warns developers that relying on the Public folder for app functions is a bad idea:
As indicated in the email, this is a decision that we’re going with moving forward. All current users retain their Dropbox Public folder, and it’s function continues. Many people have commented on the duplication of function between Public and shared files, and most people (the users of this forum aside) use Public fairly rarely. Since the Public folder won’t be in new accounts, relying on it for App functions is a bad idea.
Dropbox’s new sharing feature utilises a different link structure, sending users to a dedicated Dropbox page. With the possibility that links are being shared far and wide, Dropbox is focusing on converting visitors into new users, taking back some control over its peer-to-peer service.