It works: Hello World for Dropbox

Thanks to Steve Marx who is a developer advocate at Dropbox, we have a very nice and simple Hello World app for Dropbox.

As promised, I've packaged it up so people who come along later have it easier than I did.

  1. Before starting, think of a name for your app, and find a server with https where you can store an HTML file. I used the public folder of my Dropbox account, but I started my account a long time ago when you could access these files directly over the web. If you started your account more recently, you won't be able to use that feature.

  2. Visit the Dropbox app setup page. Click the big Create app button in the upper right corner. Screen shot.

  3. Click on the Dropbox API app option, Files and datastores, Yes, your app can be limited to its own, private folder, and enter the name of the app you decided on in step #0. Here's a screen shot with the options chosen correctly. When you're ready, take a deep breath and click the Create app button.

    • Make sure your app doesn't have the word Dropbox in its name, as illustrated in my screen shot. That doesn't fit their branding guidelines and they'll refuse to create it.
  4. Copy your App key, you'll need it later, and enter the OAuth redirect URIs. This part is a little tricky. You need to enter the exact address of the web page containing your app, which you haven't created yet. It must begin with https://, as indicated in the prompt. Here's a screen shot with the two parts highlighted.

    • Also click the Enable additional users button, if you anticipate that other people will use this app.
  5. Here's my Hello World app. Do a View-Source in your browser. Copy the text and paste it into an editor. Replace my app key with yours. Screen shot. Save. Do whatever you need to get it into your https server folder.

  6. Pray.

  7. Access your copy of the app over the web. With any luck you'll be redirected to the Dropbox site to have your app authorized. When you do so, the page reloads, and a dialog appears saying the file was written.

  8. Look in your Dropbox/apps folder. You should see a new sub-folder, with one file in it, hello.txt. That's it! When this works you can pat yourself on the back, because you've written a Dropbox app!


Last built: Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

By Dave Winer, Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 9:28 AM. It's even worse than it appears.