Everyone seems to have a Dropbox account. Hoping to build on top of the consumer-friendly service’s popularity, a new startup called Sitedrop allows you quickly turn any Dropbox folder into a website where you can visually showcase your work and collaborate with others. The collaboration capabilities strike me as an excellent method of working with siblings, cousins, and others in a group collaboration effort. The ability to publish your own private web site without advertisements or other control by a web hosting service also strikes me as an attractive offering.
Sitedrop is primarily a group sharing/collaboration tool as well as a personal web site publishing tool. Users are able to view, comment, favorite and even upload files to the online workspace just by dragging a file or link to a Dropbox folder.
After signing up for Sitedrop and authenticating with Dropbox, the files in your shared folder are visible online through a custom subdomain, where they can be displayed in lists or in a more visual format, such as slideshows. Just choose a folder in your computer’s Dropbox folder to turn into a Sitedrop and manage it from your desktop.
Everything in Sitedrop is folder-based, so you can manage these workspaces the same way you manage your files on your desktop, and you can control whether or not others can upload files to your site, or only view those you’ve already shared. The creator of the shared Sitedrop service can easily password protect the contents to control who sees what. Once logged in, users can collaborate on the content via additional tools to share files and for commenting. The creator of the shared folder(s) can set folders to accept uploads from their invited guests. Users can even drag links to webpages into the appropriate Dropbox folder, which Sitedrop will then render online.
Sitedrop is free and offers users up to 5 online workspaces. Some time in the future, the company will begin to charge for additional sites, as well as for premium features, such as support for sharing video files, for example. However, today, there’s no limit on the workspace size, and there’s no other requirement for use beyond having a Dropbox account.
I don’t see much in Sitedrop that a technically-savvy Dropbox user could not do on his or her own. Dropbox already has capabilities to share folders with only selected users and to publish a web site. That web site can even be passord protected. However, some technical skill is required to do all that in Dropbox alone. Sitedrop simplifies the process, allowing most anyone with modest technical skills to do the same. I can see Sitedrop being used by family societies, genealogy societies, and by informal groups of siblings and cousins.
You can learn more at http://sitedrop.com. The bottom of that page contains several links to publicly-available Sitedrop sites, showing some of the possibilities of this software.
My thanks to newsletter reader Everett Stonebraker for telling me about Sitedrop.