Today I was lucky enough to get an invite to DropBox. What’s DropBox? It’s a cool new web service, which lets users store various files on their server, using software that integrates the service into the operating system (Windows or Mac currently – Linux client is still in development).
It mounts as a normal directory in the filesystem, and every change in this directory is immediately synchronized with the server. So it’s a bit like SVN, but much more user friendly, more transparent – you don’t have to make any commits and updates, everything updates itself automatically; and it’s faster than working directly on the server (e.g. using NFS or SFTP), because the files are available locally all the time – they’re just synchronized when they change. It can be used to make online backups, like I do with DivShare, but again – it’s much easier, you don’t have to open the browser, log in, click upload, select a file – you just copy a file to a directory and wait until its icon changes to green.
But for me the most important feature of DropBox is that I can now put in it all those files that I would like to have both at my home computer and at work. I won’t need to carry those files there and back on a pendrive, upload them to my FTP account and download from there, and so on – everything will be handled by DropBox. And if I buy a laptop one day, I’ll be able to copy my files on it too, without having to synchronize 3 computers with each other manually, which would be a disaster…
And that’s not all – you can also make files publicly accessible by copying them to “Public” subdirectory, or make online galleries by copying photos to “Photos” directory, or share selected files and directories with specific people. And all previous versions of your files are stored too, so you can revert to a previous version or restore a deleted file. And all of that is of course for free :) There will be paid accounts with bigger quota, but the standard account (with 2 GB of space – should be enough for me, unless they also count the size of deleted files and old versions…) is supposed to stay free.
DropBox is not yet available for everyone, you have to get an invite somehow. Every month or so they make a post on their blog and give away a few invites. The link from today’s post is already inactive, but apparently I can now send 10 invites to my friends, so if anyone is reading this (which I seriously doubt…), I still have 9 of them left.