Dropbox

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,showcase | Friday, March 11th, 2011

Dropbox

I’m amazed how long I’d been avoiding Dropbox. I knew about the service for ages and a few friends of mine and collegues had kept on suggesting me starting using the service. But I’ve always preferred FTPs and other methods of distributing and sharing data.

The thing is, for my clients, FTP will always be the best way to share data with them, but for my collegues and partners, Dropbox just beats everything else! Hell, I even considered writing tools that’d automatically synchronize my dirs at work and at home over the VPN etc… but then I recently “discovered” Dropbox and I felt ashamed I hadn’t started using this awesome service before!

What I use Dropbox for right now is rather simple. I setup two accounts, one for me personally and one for my company’s file server. I linked the two together using simple folder sharing Dropbox offers and I use that folder to synch all my plugins, scripts, settings etc… between my workstation and my file server. This “centralized repository” is then being synced individually among all my render nodes and workstations at the studio using another brilliant piece of software, Deadline, so that everything is up to date and all the machines are using the current tools.

I’m planning on installing a company Dropbox account on all my workstations so that all the workstations are up to date immediately and only the render nodes get the full synch using Deadline. Or, perhaps, I’ll finally finish writing the Deadline plugins that allow for running Python scripts as jobs on all the nodes, so I can perform maintenance and synch operations without actually having to execute any of the rendering apps. We’ll see about that.

However, another thing I’m going to definitely do is sharing my public Dropbox folder with my collegues so we can easily skip the upload – download hassle, especially when there is no FTP access (yes, some companies have weird security policies).

Anyways, Dropbox is an easy to use, very flexible, genius service that everyone needing to transfer files or carry files on them should definitely check out. Did I mention it’s also free? ;)

2 Comments »

  1. I’ve recently come to the same realization with Dropbox. Also, at work I maintain a fully python scripted Deadline workflow, an inherited responibility but still I learned a lot and the code is now mine to upkeep. So it is possible to have a full automated system with just one person being the rangler. Are you using Deadline for another purpose though? I got confused at the end of your writeup. Also, just a tip, I use Link Shell Extension on Win 7 so create symlinks to folders outside of Dropbox so they automatically sync as well.

    Comment by Jonas — April 11, 2011 @ 06:54

  2. Thanks for the LSE tip, I’ll look into that, but as far as sym/hard links go, I’m trying to get this through IronPython (which seems to be a little bit of a pain, though). Anyways, as for Deadline, I use it for both the rendering (obviously) and maintenance. I finally got IronPython scripts being processed and distributed across the render nodes, so I can partially automate all the needed tasks (installing software, updating, synching scripts/plugins etc…). It’s awesome! :) Check it out here: http://blog.duber.cz/misc/duber-studio-plugin-distribution-system

    Comment by loocas — April 11, 2011 @ 10:12

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