Getting everyone to use the same project management software is a challenge, but 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.
Sitedrop 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.
The startup is currently being incubated by betaworks in New York, and has been slowly growing its user base since its private beta debut last fall. Today, the service, which has grown to some 3,000 beta users, is opening up more broadly.
The idea for the company, built by betaworks Hacker-in-Residence Jessey White-Cinis and designed by his old business partner, Thomas Brodahl, grew out of frustrations they faced at the design agency they owned for ten years.
“We had constantly run into issues with project management at the design company, and this was our answer to it,” says White-Cinis. “Keeping [users] in Basecamp and making sure that all communication happens in one place is almost impossible,” he explains. “But we realized that the one thing that always stayed constant was that everyone always had a shared Dropbox folder.”
With Sitedrop, the idea is to try make that shared folder more useful, by allowing you to quickly turn it into a lightweight collaboration tool instead, while also filling in some of the holes Dropbox has today.
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, like slideshows. The service also supports previews for files created by Photoshop (which Dropbox does not), making Sitedrop popular among the creative set, including photographers and designers.
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 sites can also be password-protected for privacy purposes, and once logged in, users can collaborate on the content via additional tools for favoriting items and commenting. You can even drag links to webpages into your Dropbox, which Sitedrop will then render online.
In a future version, the plan is to support more robust revisioning, so you can “time travel” back through the various changes made to your shared content.
White-Cinis says that while the service appeals to creatives, its Swiss Army-like nature has seen people adopting it for other uses, too. “People are using it for scrapbooking, as a wiki for documentation…and I’ve seen a few portfolios,” he says.
Currently, Sitedrop is free and offers users up to 5 online workspaces. At a later point, the company will begin to charge for additional sites, as well as for premium features, like 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.