Box announced ‘Box Developer Edition‘ at its yearly BoxDev event today. The new approach allows developers to run their own Box “instance” inside of their application — their very own Box, in other words.
This turns Box on its head in a sense because instead of running the Box application, and building apps on top of it, you are building something and embedding Box services inside of it. The Box app will continue of course as before, but this gives developers access to a range of Box services in whatever they’re building.
The new product “brings the full power of Box into your applications,” according to the company, and lets developers take advantage of all the work Box has already done.
Box has recognized for some time that cloud storage is a commodity. Knowing that and noting it on stage, the company pressed its various services that it has built on top of storage, like permissions, access statistics and content management. Box Developer Edition is a bet that developers want to integrate storage and file management into their apps, but don’t want to bother with all the hassling details, something that Box has spent significant time and resources figuring out.
Box is billing this as a new use case, but it’s something the company has been hinting at for some. In fact, last year at South by Southwest in an interview with Jessi Hempel, Box CEO Aaron Levie predicted that within five years, it was possible that the Box app might not be the most important part of the Box business. If the product announced today takes off with developers, his statement could prove prescient, but it’s a big if whether developers can adapt to using Box in this fashion.
Alan Pelz-Sharpe, an analyst at 451 Research who has followed Box for a long time, believes today’s announcement could be significant, especially since the company already enjoys a substantial developer following.
“The simple fact alone that developers can now run their own Box instance is a major step forward. Of course time will tell what applications and processes truly emerge from this — but it was a must-have addition for Box to their service offering,” Pelz-Sharpe wrote in an email.
What’s most interesting in this particular news is that Box is happily allowing other kids to run with its product, baking it into their own, while creating, managing and controlling their own users. Box believes that by allowing others to use its technology in this fashion, it can more quickly grow use of its service, and thus revenue.
Box Developer Edition is entering a “limited beta,” as of today.