Sharing files between computers has become far easier in recent years with tools such as Dropbox making the process a breeze. Today I’ll be taking a look at a different type of system, for easily publishing specific types of content and sharing a URL immediately.
Droplr is currently an invite-only service, so this is very much a quick “preview” of the functionality on offer. If you’d like to be one of the first to use the new application, enter your details on the site to sign up for an invite code.
The Purpose of Droplr
Where applications such as Dropbox are used primarily for synchronization, Droplr focuses mainly on the idea of sharing. By dragging a particular type of content over the Droplr icon (image, links, text or files), the application will immediately upload it to the cloud and generate a short URL. This can be tweeted directly from the app, or copied to your clipboard. Simple!
Droplr sits as a menubar utility, with a minimal interface and a simple icon. It has two actions: (1) clicking the icon will display the URL to your most recently shared data, along with a small icon to start a tweet, and (2) dragging a file/text snippet/image to the icon will initiate a new upload:
This simplicity is appealing, and Droplr is certainly gunning for the category of an app that does one thing, exceptionally well. Three preference panes are available, allowing you to customise the way in which the software acts:
The most notable settings are support for a few different Twitter clients (currently Twitter.com, Bluebird and Tweetie), and the ability to assign a shortcut key for immediately uploading the selected item to your storage space. I imagine that the range of Twitter clients used will mean that demand for options such as TweetDeck increases as Droplr becomes more widely available.
Web App Interface
No self-respecting cloud storage application would be complete without a great looking web interface, and Droplr is no exception. It clearly categorises the files you’ve uploaded into images, links, notes and files. There’s no folder hierarchy as such – just a simple list ordered by date uploaded:
Droplr stores the number of views each of your items has had, a useful statistic to know when sharing files or images. The only other information on offer is the link generated, which you can copy and paste to use elsewhere. The web application feels fairly basic, but offers all the functionality most people will need.
Custom Domain Names
The other notable feature of the web app is the ability to use a custom domain name for generating short URLs. This means you are not tied into one particular “short URL” service, and can link to files through your own domain name. It requires a simple change to your domain name’s A record settings.
Droplr is a service still in the development stage. That said, it worked reliably in my testing – both will small text snippets, and larger files. It’s a fast and seamless way to share a small number of files either via Twitter, or any other medium.
One area in need of improvement is the inability to upload more than one file at a time. I understand that this will be a challenge for the developer (as it would mean producing and returning several URLs in a meaningful way), but at present it feels a touch limiting to only move one file at a time.
Also, there is no obvious limit on storage space at the present time. It will be interesting to see where the developer goes in this regard, particularly if the long-term aim is to keep the service free.
If you’re looking for a straight-forward way to occasionally share files, keep an eye on the development of Droplr. It fits in perfectly to the simple experience you’d expect from OS X, and is a simple, well-executed solution.