A Web Developers Workflow with Dropbox - Online Backup, File Sync and Sharing Made Easy
By: Steven Seiller on Monday, October 11, 2010
In case you are not one of the 4 million+ users who have used Dropbox since 2008, it is a file service which stores your files on back servers as well as synching them to your various computers and mobile devices. Known as a freemium service, the synchronization software is free and Dropbox gives you a complimentary 2 GB of online storage space and a 30 day archive of file history. Paid plans are available which expand storage space and provide unlimited file history. Dropbox has a referral program which rewards you with additional 250 MB increments of storage space for each referral you make. So, if you sign up with this link you will receive a bonus 250 MB of storage space and so will I (thank you!)
When I first starting using Dropbox in 2008, it was primarily to take advantage of the file synchronization and sharing features. When you place a file in your Dropbox on one computer, it almost instantaneously appears on all your other computers which you have linked. This feature alone makes this service ultimately convenient over shuttling files via USB memory stick or FTP.
Over the years, I started folding these file management and sharing features with web development projects. This year, I was hired as part of a developer team on a large web site project. One of the first things the client did was to share a Dropbox folder with their specification documents, code snippets, database definitions and graphic mockups. During the project, as the client or other team members revised files they were placed in the Dropbox and hence distributed to the rest of the team. I recall at the time appreciating the simplicity of this method as compared to sorting through numerous email attachments and trying to determine which was the most current version.
Now, Dropbox is an integral part of my new web development projects. The simplicity of the software, as well as the benefits of the file sharing features described above make Dropbox a very client-friendly way to get work done. I'll describe below a workflow that you can use with your clients to dispense your specification files, collect client assets, share drafts, keep version history and even deliver that final invoice!