If you are developing a new software application and need functionalities for managing unstructured data, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. ownCloud explains why it is worth integrating an existing file platform instead.
Many software applications create files with unstructured data: be it Word documents, images or scans. The functions for storing and managing these files are usually created by the developers of the applications themselves. However, it would often be better to integrate existing solutions. There are powerful file management platforms on the market that are used by companies for digital collaboration, for example.
“With such platforms, application developers can offer end users extensive functionality and great convenience right from the start,” explains Klaas Freitag, CTO at ownCloud. “Often, they only develop simple file system-based components at the beginning and are then gradually confronted with more and more new requirements and wishes. If application developers integrate a platform for file management instead, their application immediately benefits from features that they themselves often didn’t even have on their radar.”
These features include in particular:
- Easy access. End users can easily upload and download files via the internet. They can choose from various clients such as web, desktop and mobile clients, which are available for all common operating systems such as Windows, Mac, iOS or Android.
- Convenient sharing. Files can be shared conveniently. The application and end users can store files in a structured way in directories, make them available for retrieval and download via public links or create special directories for uploading specific files.
- Individual metadata. The platforms can process comprehensive metadata. This includes not only standard information such as file creator or timestamp, but also any individual metadata. This makes files classifiable and efficiently searchable.
“Suitable platforms offer application developers APIs for file, sharing and metadata management as well as flexible authentication and authorisation methods for user management for integration,” Freitag explains. “Ideally, they also have the option of making the platform completely invisible to end users or customising colours, logos and fonts of the interfaces as needed, thereby seamlessly integrating the platform into the design of their own application.”