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This is your
goto reference for building great apps on the Dropbox Platform and sailing through the app review process. Be sure to also refer to the developer branding guidelines and terms and conditions as you design your app.
When you start building an app on the Dropbox Platform, you'll need to create a Dropbox app in the App Console. As part of the process, you'll need to choose the right permission for your app. Your app's permission (sometimes referred to as access type in the documentation) determines what data your app can access in a user's Dropbox.
Strictly speaking, this isn't a permission. When you use Drop-ins, your app only gets specific access granted by the user. In the case of the Chooser, your app will have access to files selected by the user. In the case of the Saver, the user will save files from your app to the location they choose. Because Drop-ins don't grant your app direct access to a user's Dropbox, using them doesn't require production approval like other permissions do.
The File type permission gives your app access to all files of a specific type (such as text or image files) across a user's entire Dropbox. You can choose any type appearing in the list below.
With File type permission, your app sees a filtered view of a user's Dropbox containing only the files which match your selected type. All other files simply don't appear to your app through the API. That means faster performance because you don't spend time fetching information about files you don't need. Your app can see all the user's folders, and even create new folders, but can't move, copy, delete, or share folders (since they might contain files your app can't see).
A dedicated folder named after your app is created within the Apps folder of a user's Dropbox. Your app gets read and write access to this folder only and users can provide content to your app by moving files into this folder.
You get full access to all the files and folders in a user's Dropbox.
Your app should use the least privileged permission it can. When applying for production, we'll review that your app doesn't request an unnecessarily broad permission based on the functionality provided by the app. If your app will require a broader permission based on functionality that is planned but not yet implemented, be sure to mention this in your production request.
Apps that are linked to Dropbox Business team admins have a different set of permissions, described in the Dropbox Business API documentation.
When you first create a Dropbox API app, it's given development status. Your app functions the same as any production status app except that it can only be linked with up to 500 total Dropbox users. However, once your app links 50 Dropbox users, you will have two weeks to apply for and receive production status before your app's ability to link additional Dropbox users will be frozen, regardless of how many users between 0 and 500 your app has linked. For more details, please read the Applying for production status section below.
You can enable development status from your app's info page on the App Console by clicking Enable additional users. Many apps such as those for demos, hackathons, staging environments, and internal tools can stay in development status. However, if you'd like to open your app to more users, you'll need to apply for production status.
If you want to share your app with the world, apply for production status from your app's info page, accessible via the App Console. Before applying for production, make sure your app adheres to the developer branding guidelines and terms and conditions. It will be rejected if it doesn't.
When you apply for production status, you'll be prompted to supply additional information such as how your app uses the API, and to upload an icon for the app. Your request will then be submitted to us for review.
While you may submit your request for production status anytime, it will not be reviewed until your app has linked with at least 50 Dropbox users, indicating that it will likely require production status.
Once your app has linked 50 Dropbox users, you will have two weeks to apply for and receive production status approval, if you have not already done so. If after two weeks you haven't applied for and received production approval, your app's ability to link additional Dropbox users will be frozen until you submit an application and are approved for production status. Once your production status application has been submitted, your app will be reviewed to ensure it adheres to the above guidelines.
Please note, for apps that have been temporarily frozen, the only way to unfreeze your app is to apply for and receive production status. Simply unlinking all of your users will not unfreeze your app.
When submitting an application, please be descriptive! The more info you provide when applying, the faster we may be able to approve your app once it reaches 50 linked Dropbox users.
Once your app is approved for production status, any number of Dropbox users can link to your app. Keep in mind that once your app has production status, you can't change its name. Make sure you're comfortable with your app's configuration before applying. Remember, your app is required to adhere to the production status requirements even after it has been approved.
Some apps may be eligible for production status review before reaching 50 linked Dropbox users. If you feel there's a compelling reason for why your app should be reviewed ahead of time, please provide evidence and a detailed explanation under the Request early review field in the production status application form. Otherwise, your app will be reviewed soon after linking 50 Dropbox users.
This section includes many of the practices that great Dropbox Platform apps have in common. For the best possible user experience (and your own sanity), try to apply these to your own app as much as you can.
This is especially important when your app is similar to one of the official Dropbox clients. To avoid user confusion over who built what, please be extra careful to follow the three points above.
If your app only needs the user to select a single file so you can print/publish/post/share it, use the Chooser. It's the easiest way to integrate with Dropbox and simple for users to use as well. If you only need to access files created by your app, use an App Folder. Requesting Full Dropbox access to pick a file when you could use the Chooser isn't a good use of the permission.
We find that users are far more likely to upgrade to paid apps when they've already linked their Dropbox account to a free app. Use Dropbox to get more engaged users and offer Dropbox support in both the free and paid versions of your app.
While we encourage developers to use our official SDKs and libraries, we know there are a lot of different approaches to building frameworks and APIs. Regardless of how an app makes use of the Dropbox Platform, we need to know what that app is so we can let users know which apps are accessing their data. For that reason, if you provide software or services that wrap the Dropbox Platform for other developers to use, those developers must still sign up for their own Dropbox app key.
If you build multiple apps, use one and exactly one key for each app you make. This makes it much easier for us to debug issues when they arise. That said, if you're just building the same app for different platforms (for example, iOS and Android), you can use the same key.
This section describes the types of apps that are not allowed on the Dropbox Platform. Our goal when we first wrote this list was to prevent you from being surprised or disappointed after putting a lot of passion and effort into a project that we can't approve for general use. It's a terrible conversation for everyone involved. This list isn't exhaustive; any apps that violate either of our developer Branding Guidelines or Terms and Conditions won't be approved.
If you feel like your app is an exception, please contact our developer support team.
Just don't do it.
Dropbox requires that users have the right to store the stuff in their Dropbox. If the purpose of your app is to allow users to download content from other services without having the proper legal rights, we won't be able to approve it.
Dropbox doesn't support building publicly searchable file sharing networks on top of Dropbox.
The App Console provides details about how your app is using the Dropbox Platform and APIs.
The app metrics feature shows statistics on the number of users and activity of your app. You can use the app metrics in combination with your own logging and analytics to help track your app's usage and growth.