As Cole Krumbholz, Brace’s co-founder, told me earlier this week, the service is mostly aimed at web designers who can use it to push their work onto a live site without the need to know about setting up and managing servers. With Brace, they simply upload their files to a designated Dropbox folder and Brace will then sync it with its Amazon-hosted servers.
One nifty feature here is that Brace distinguishes between production and development servers. By default, all new files are only synced to the development server. This way, developers and designers can just continue to work on a site without running the risk of taking the production site down. Then, once they are ready to push the updates live, they simply hit the “ship” button on Brace’s web interface and their new code goes live.
Brace offers its users the ability to select custom URLs, but otherwise, the service keeps things extremely simple for now. In the long run, though, Krumbholz said, the team wants to add more collaboration features.
The main advantage of using Dropbox – something Krumbholz also did with Backlift, his back-end-service for front-end developers – is that developers can just continue to use whatever editor they are comfortable with. Brace simply wants to give them an easier way to provide the basics of hosting their content. Krumbholz believes that there is still a lot of room to improve the usability of hosting in general. Hosting is still “stuck in the past,” he told me, and many tools for designers are still tied very closely to a developer workflow that many designers aren’t comfortable with.
Brace currently offers two hosting plans. A Prototype plan for $2.99 per month (or $19.99/year) that includes unlimited sites and custom domains, but has a limit of 1,000 views per month (so it’s really just meant to test sites or show them to clients). The Personal plan for $12.99 per month (or $59.99/year) includes unlimited sites, domains and views. These sites will also be distributed across Amazon’s CloudFront CDN network. Soon, the company will also launch Professional and Enterprise plans, but as Krumbholz tells me, “the features for those plans are still in flux.”