Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DropIt

Your Own Personal File Sharing Service for FREE

Like a lot of other people, I was kind of disappointed when Droplr discontinued their free service. I already had a Pro account, so there wasn't an immediate impact to me. But I don't use the service enough to really warrant the Pro account and was going to downgrade to a free account when my year was up. Because there is now no free account, I just dropped it altogether. Not that much of a problem as my sharing needs are little and I already have accounts with SkyDrive (for my documents), Copy (for my music), Google Drive (for archiving stuff I don't need), and Dropbox for simple sharing. However, I kind of liked the simplicity of Droplr. So I decided to see if I could write my own little file sharing script. DropIt is what I came up with.  

DropIt is originally based on the simple file-manager by jcampbell. I liked the simple look and feel of the file manager, but it didn't offer any sharing ability. And the upload process was limited by your webservers php settings. I tweaked the script considerably, changed the upload mechanism to plupload, and added some sharing abilities, including short-links.  

You can download the script here. Feel free to change and improve it as you wish.

Simply unzipped all the files to a subdomain on your web server, and direct your browser to the directory... and away you go. The default username and password is "admin". I suggest you change that once you are initially logged in.  

If all goes well, everything should just work out-of-the-box. Depending on your server, you may have to tweak the ".htaccess" file a bit to get sharing to work if your server isn't set up similar to mine. The script uses a SQLLite3 database to keep track of short url links you create. No need to mess with MySQL.  

You can easily create and delete directories and/or files. You can upload files by selecting them, or dropping them in the upload box. All the upload is powered by plupload. I have set the script to allow files up to 500MB in size, but that can easily be changed. The uploads are all managed by Ajax, so you can monitor the upload progress. The screen is updated automatically. If an error occurs, you will get a message.

Click on the share button to bring up a screen with a Short URL link, a Direct Download link and hidden Download link. You can specify if you want the Short URL to expiry in a certain number of days, or after a certain number of downloads, or whichever comes first. The Short URL is not active until you save it. At this point the Short Url is not automatically copies to the clipboard, so you will have to copy and paste it.

Note that every time you hit share, a NEW Short URL is generated. this way you can have multiple links to a single file. Perhaps you want to share the file with a number of different people but you don't want to give them all the same access rights to the file. This is the perfect way.

I wanted the website to be easily accessible, and since I'm primarily using a Mac, I found a little app called Fluid that allows you to turn any website into it's own app. The paid version (only $5) allows you to put the app in your menubar. So now I have a sharing app directly accessible from my menubar. Perfect!

The only thing left for me to do was to get myself a short url. This is not necessary, but I like the idea of really short links. I got mine from IWantMyName. Like trying to get any domain name today, you have to play around with combinations of letters to find something that works for you. Some of the combinations the website suggests are pretty expensive. I managed to find a good one for only $12/year.

If your sharing needs are not too great, this may be the perfect solution for you... for free, or relatively free. If you already have a web-server, why pay someone else to enable simply file sharing. Do it yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download DropIt

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