Email platform startup Inbox has emerged out of stealth mode on Monday with the hopes of making it easy for developers to create email apps faster and with fewer bugs.
Inbox provides an API with REST endpoints for accessing, modifying and sending email. Unlike Google’s recently announced Gmail API, Inbox works with Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft Exchange, and others.
“Email is the database of your life. It’s the digital home for your conversations, memories, and identity,” Inbox cofounder and CEO, Michael Grinich said. “But for developers, working with email is incredibly difficult, and requires learning archaic protocols and formats. The Inbox API solves that, and lets you focus on building your app.”
The San Francisco-based Inbox was cofounded in 2013 by Grinich, who formerly worked as an engineer at Dropbox, and Christine Spang, a MIT alum who was formerly a Linux kernel engineer at Ksplice.
While the cloud service is still in beta, Inbox is currently offering free resources including an open-source sync engine and rich client SDKs. The open source sync engine currently works with Gmail and Yahoo, but Inbox plans to expand it to all IMAP providers soon. According to Inbox, enterprise users on Microsoft Exchange can request access to the Inbox Developer Program, which supports ActiveSync and is currently in private beta.
Inbox plans to release a hosted version in the coming months that will allow developers to deploy applications without their own infrastructure.
As developers look for ways to avoid vendor lock-in and get apps to market quickly, open source platforms and APIs will be instrumental in enabling the development of the next-generation of email apps. For service providers that want to attract developer customers, offering APIs can help appeal to this clientele. Recently, cloud provider DigitalOcean launched the public beta of its API.