Box launches Elements, a tool that lets developers add Box tech to their apps

Box UI Elements Content Picker, running on Facebook Workplace. (Box Photo)
Box UI Elements Content Picker, running on Facebook Workplace. (Box Photo)

Box is ready to release the first in a series of embeddable components that software developers can use in their apps to manage file sharing and storage.

The cloud storage company plans to get started Thursday with Box UI Elements, a shortcut that lets developers use Box-designed technology to manage files in their apps. Developers can keep Box’s design philosophy or add their own design elements and just use Box’s technology for the plumbing.

There are four different aspects of Box UI Elements, said Jeetu Patel, senior vice president of platform and chief strategy officer for Box. They allow developers to quickly include a Box-designed method for their users to view, select, and upload content into their apps, rather than having to build that part of their application themselves.

“Not all customers have the skillset internally to be a content management provider,” Patel said. Box, on the other hand, would be happy to provide developers that expertise, along with a monthly subscription to Box Platform services.

The UI Elements will be joined later this year by other Box Elements for specific types of apps and backend services, Patel said. Keeping developers happy with new services is a pretty smart strategy for any software platform company, and he noted that Box now has 100,000 developers using its services in their apps. Adding useful features also helps keep developers from defecting to other cloud storage platforms, such as Dropbox or storage options available through the big public cloud vendors, all of which compete with Box to some extent.

Box was founded in 2005 by four Mercer Island High School graduates and has grown into one of the largest enterprise storage players after going public in 2015. After building out the basic storage service, Box has focused on enterprise accounts and enticing developers into building apps that keep users engaged on its services over the last few years.