I work on a lot of projects and inevitably I have to share files with someone else on the project at some time – unless of course I’m just working on the project myself Easy, right? Just send them an email…Nope, therein lies the heart/crux of the problem (and the project just started)…
What type of file sharing utility do yo use? Email is fine if you want to send the final results to someone, but it has no version checking, and also is rubbish at “sync” capabilities. So, what other options are there? Well, its no exhaustive list, but here are some of the tools people commonly use:
The list obviously goes on and on. Of course, depending on the project, it will dictate more or less which tool might be right for the task. Let’s take a quick look at the ones above:
Dropbox is a newer technology that claims to be speedy and benefits both Mac and PC users, but at present is like GMail was at one time – by invite only. Based on initial reviews and looking at it, maybe for a few users, but not a corporate player. Good for sharing files between multiple PC’s or a few friends.
Groove is an older player in this segment, though wasn’t really talked about too much until Microsoft bought them it from Groove Networks and bundled it with the Office 2007 suites. Groove is the collaboration creme de la creme, but can be overkill if you are doing a simple project with a few people. One other problem Groove currently faces – its only available for the Windows (and further has existing issues with x64 platforms). However, if you are a Windows shop or are only going to be working on a project with people who are using Windows – give Groove a look, as there is a lot to use and gain from this tool.
CVS (common versioning system) was written for the blokes in the corner who, when going out in public, wear the whirly-bird hats. Over time it has matured, but still is for the hard core programmers and is meant to help keep all of your code in-line. Really good when it comes to text files, works across multiple platforms, but pretty much meant for text files and not really what might be involved in a big project. Again, perfect for programming.
Used to be owned by ByteTaxi and now part of Microsoft’s entourage of tools. FolderShare isn’t really a “corporate game player” so if it is a small project or a home-grown/friend-friend task, that might be the tool to use, similar to Dropbox, but watch this space as I’d bet Microsoft are going to try and integrate this further in to their “Live” offerings (see SkyDrive in the next section).
SkyDrive is the Microsoft Live tool that allows a user to upload files to a portal and then make them available for others. Sort of one to many and quite difficult for others to collaborate, but a great tool for “sharing files” if you need to. All the end user needs to collect your SkyDrive files is a web browser (oh and the URL of course).
Well, it can be said for itself…send one email and you get two back. Also try searching through archives of loads and loads of email. Maybe when a project completes it is the way to collaborate the final goods, however to send copies of a document (or maybe even multiple copies of multiple documents) via email and keep in line with the project and changes throughout – good luck. A tool that probably was a strong contender 10 years ago (when people thought only geeks used email), but now a days, definitely surpassed by other stronger tools.
So, which tool is best suited for the project? Definitely a lot of factors to consider, but I quite fancy Groove and if it is given the TLC it needs, it could be seen more and more throughout corporate environments and coming to a desktop near you
So, when it comes to file sharing and collaborating, you’ve got some choices and there are obviously differeces as noted above. What do you think about it all?