Quicksand: Automatic Syncing of Your Recent Files

If you need to work with different computers and devices throughout your day, then you are most likely familiar with all the cloud services that are around, like Dropbox, that allow you to keep your documents everywhere, always ready to be downloaded and uploaded again.

But then we’ve all been in those situations where we just forget to switch a file we are working on to our cloud folder so that it gets synced. Wouldn’t it be cool to have an app that automatically uploaded everything recent for you, regardless of its location on your computer? That’s what Quicksand’s all about. Let’s check it out!

Quicksand

Setup

Setup

Quicksand is a seemingly simple app that could potentially save you a lot of time and inconvenient situations. All it does once setup, is create a folder in your computer where it’ll start automatically making a copy of your most recent files. You can then sync this folder with your favorite cloud service, so that you can have all your most recent files available anywhere.

How It Works

Quicksand Menu

Quicksand Menu

The first thing you have to do when setting up Quicksand is specify a place in your computer where your most recent files will be copied. Ideally, you should put this new smart folder where all your cloud documents are synced. For example, if you are using Dropbox, which uses its own folder to sync everything inside it, your Quicksand folder should go inside it, where it’ll be synced with all your other cloud files.

From then on, Quicksand will live in your menu bar, continously checking for newly created files and copying them over, modifying them, or deleting them from your Quicksand folder. There will be two steps for your data to be uploaded, though: the Quicksand syncing that checks for new files, and then the periodical syncing that your cloud service uses to sync your files.

What Does It Upload?

Folder

Quicksand’s Folder

Quicksand will copy to its folder anything that it considers a “Recently Opened” file. That means, it works across many apps like Preview, Pages, Byword, and pretty much anything else that can save a file. As soon as you modify any pre-existing documents, they’ll also be included in the most recent files and it’ll be uploaded as well with all of its modifications. Although, if you export something, it won’t be perceived as a “recent document” and therefore won’t be copied over until you open it, so be careful with that.

Deep Tweaking

For being such a simple app, Quicksand lets you tweak a lot of things under its settings. There are a few options for setting a maximum number of files or size for your folder, changing the location of it, tweaking the syncing times, etc. Then there are some options for setting up rules as to what gets updated to the app.

There are two menus under the settings that allow you to set the files that’ll get synced or that won’t. “Synced Folders” lets you set specific paths where the app will exclusively work, although the default one is your whole user’s folder. If you’d like to be more specific instead of having it look everywhere for new files, you can delete the user folder and give the app just a few paths where it should look. Similarly, you can select specific paths that won’t ever get synced.

Tweaking

Tweaking

Then there’s the “Synced Filetypes” option, which lets you specify file extensions that will or won’t get synced. With these, even if you only have a few folders marked for syncing, all the files found with those extensions will get synced, making the app highly customizable and easy to adapt to your workflow.

Support It!

Quicksand (along with Broomstick, which we reviewed a few weeks ago) is developed by Zibity, a New Zealand company led by 15-year-old developer Sebastian Hallum Clarke. Zibity gives away all their apps for free, just encouraging donations but never being too annoying or pity about it. It’s always interesting to hear about these wunderkind developers, but it’s even more interesting when they take this kind of approach to sharing their work.

It might not be an approach for every developer out there (I don’t see Adobe putting out their pricey app suites for free), but there’s something to the idea that seems promising and needs exploring and refining. Getting the app out there for anyone to download guarantees that you’ll reach more people than you would if you charged for it, which can then create a powerful platform for getting your new creations in the eyes of more people quickly.

If you’ve found Zibity’s apps useful and would like to support its makers by helping them continue to do this, then I think some sort of retribution is in order. I am completely impartial to this comany and neither Appstorm nor I have any afiliation with it whatsoever, I’m just saying if we want to keep this kind of business model alive, then it is something worth supporting.

Conclusion

Quicksand is a very simple app, and once you’ve got it setup, you’ll barely remember it’s there until you’re working on your iPad or your office computer and you are in need of a document you were working on last night in your laptop. If you work at all with cloud syncing services such as Dropbox, then Quicksand is a must-have.

But what do you think? Would you use something like this? Let us know in the comments!


Summary

Quicksand creates a folder in your computer where all your recent documents will automatically be copied over, so that you can keep them in sync with your favorite cloud service.

9
  • http://ronaldsteelman.com Ronny

    So…it creates a copy of my documents on my harddrive to sync with my cloud service? Therefore, I’ll have a copy of the document in Documents, a copy in this Quicksand folder which is also on my harddrive, and then a copy in the cloud?

    • http://about.me/jorgerdz Jorge Rodriguez

      Yeah, that’s the one downside. If you are low on disk space, you could limit the number of files it syncs, you could tell it to keep the folder size to only 5 of the most recently updated documents.

  • http://johnputerhead.com @JohnPuterhead

    Not sure of the approach, mainly because it seems like it would duplicate files, taking away valuable SSD space. Systems with larger disk sizes could probably cope.

    If instead, if the Quicksand created links to your existing file structure, Dropbox at least, would follow those links and backup the files. I’m not sure how the other services handle links so the link approach may not work for all of them.

    • http://about.me/jorgerdz Jorge Rodriguez

      Yep, referencing to files in other places would be ideal, but it would only work with Dropbox I guess. However, you can tweak the app to fit your needs. You could set a maximum size for its folder, or a maximum number of items.

  • iyyy69

    Interesting utility – thanks for the review. I think the 9/10 is ridiculously generous based on my brief experience with the app.

    A couple major issues that make it a non-starter for me. First, it doesn’t seem to recognize certain types of files and/or how they are opened. So opening a recent Excel file from *within* Excel did not register and wasn’t sync’d (though going and finding the file and opening it from Finder did work). For a Scrivener file, no dice either way.

    Second, there’s no way to control by *file* size (that I can see)… for instance, I want the 1MB zip file attachment to sync, but I do not want the 500MB zip file download to sync (example being the 500MB Apple “Boot Camp” utilities zip file I downloaded last night, that immediately sync’d over).

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