Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to Use DropBox More Efficiently

Lately, we've started to use DropBox more and more. Initially, we used it mainly as a tool to keep multiple workstations and laptops synchronized, as well as a means to quickly provide someone a downloadable link to a file without having to fumble about with FTP or WebDAV or other complicated things.

Then we started using the shared folders more and more.

As we nearly always work together with other people and companies scattered all over the globe, DropBox is a godsend: we set up a shared folder, and that's it. Through DropBox, a distributed workgroup can easily share a bunch of files.

But sharing wildly with all kinds of partners created a small problem. How does one keep track of all these shared folders in DropBox. Which is shared with who? Of course, one can go find out via the DropBox web site, but that's not really a quick thing.

So, now we've started to use specific names for the DropBox folders. If a DropBox folder is shared between two parties, we refer to it as a 'tunnel', and we append the name of the two sharing parties.

If we were regularly working together with a company called, say, 'Ynapmoc', I'd use a folder called 'Tunnel_Ynapmoc_Rorohiko' or 'Tunnel_Rorohiko_Ynapmoc'. Often we tend to work on multiple projects with our partners, and we use the tunnel for shuttling shared documents between us.

If a DropBox folder is shared between more than two parties, we would instead create a new folder for each individual project, and simply use the word 'Shared' followed by the name of the project. So, if we were working with, say, three parties on a project called, say, 'Terces', the folder would be called 'Shared_Terces'.

My DropBox folder now looks a lot better organized, and I can tell immediately what each shared folder is meant for.

If you get a request to share a dropbox folder with a name that starts with 'Tunnel_...' you'll know what that means!