Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Developer Challenge to Connect Box & Podio: And the Winner is…

By

Ryan Nichols is the VP of Apps at Podio, a work platform for collaborative project management. Ryan’s passion is bringing together tech and business to change how people work – you’ll often find him tweeting about the #FutureOfWork, and Podio’s impact on that revolution.

A few weeks ago, we were thrilled to see Box offer $1000 to the developer who built the best integration between Box’s powerful file sharing service & Podio’s work platform. This is one of our most requested integrations, and we were excited to see what the CloudSpokes developer community could do!

Well, the results are in, and we’re impressed. The specific challenge was to develop a web service that integrates Box into Podio. It required of two parts: a public web site for users to setup their connection, and a backend service to check for new or changed files in Box and put them into a custom Podio App, where they can be associated with Projects, Customers, Events, or any other workflow.

This is a good example of how multiple cloud services with open APIs can be loosely coupled by a new ecosystem of cloud developers to do amazingly innovative things. Podio makes it easy for businesspeople to build their work apps, oftentimes centered around documents and files. Box has a fantastic file sharing service. With a $1000 prize and 3 weeks of time, the 30,000 developers on CloudSpokes brought Podio and Box together in a great proof of concept. Just think about think about what would have happened if you’d put out the same challenge to a Sharepoint developer community!

Congrats to our winner, Akkishore. You can watch a technical walkthrough of the integration that he built here, but here are some of the things we found most interesting reviewing his submission:

  • Integrations can be simple: The app build by Akkishore consists of less than 500 lines of Python code, including the code for authenticating and communicating with the Podio and Box APIs.
  • Auth doesn’t need to be a headache: With OAuth evolving to become the de-facto standard for authentication, it has become much easier for developers to authenticate users with 3rd party apps and much more secure for users to provide access to their data. Passwords are never shared with 3rd parties, and users can revoke the given permissions at any time.
  • APIs are more than just data: The Podio API allows developers to do anything users can do through the Podio interface. This means that Akkishore’s winning solution is not limited to just creating, updating and deleting items on Podio, it can also create the app the file items are put in. The user is free to change the app through the Podio interface– this will not break the integration. 3rd party solutions can create all kinds of apps on Podio, thus making an experience tailor-made for the specific integration.
  • Full integrations > Mashups: The automatic synchronization between the folder in Box and the app in Podio is a powerful feature that enables users on Podio to be notified if a file is changed in Box, and ensures that the two are always in sync. Automatically running 3rd party integrations like this can really help drive helpful information into Podio, right into your workflow.

 

By

See all of Ryan's articles.

  • Howard Greenstein

    Is there a way to do this now in an “automatic” fashion or is this code available somewhere?