Friday, 1 May 2009

Using Dropbox as a Host for Static Websites.

I have been a huge fan of dropbox for a while. What they have acheived is nothing short of amazing. I recently had an epiphany that may make the implications of their synchronization paradigm even more interesting.

What if I could use dropbox as a host for a static website?

Dropbox has a feature that allows you to make some files public simply by dropping them on your 'public' folder. It turns out, that placing interlinked html files works just fine. Case in point:

I presume images, etc. would work just fine as well.

What makes this observation interesting is that combined with the synchronization infrastructure of Dropbox, this means that you can keep your static website right in your desktop, edit it with your favourite editor (WYSIWYG if you have to), and have it instantly available online. It may not be the best idea for everything, but for a number of basic uses, it might just be a massive step forward. One of the most difficult steps for beginers to master, is the need for FTP. Dropbox-as-a-host completely sidesteps that and lets new users easily build their websites.

Of course, once a nice little hack is found, the next thought is to consider what can be improved and streamlined:

Can we incorporate dynamic elements to this scheme?
Can the ugly URL be replaced with something better?

I gave myself very little time to write this post, opting to write it now rather than postpone, so these and many other potential questions, my dear readers, I leave as excercises for you.