DropBox as a Web Server in 3 Easy Steps

Justin | tips | Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Important update: As of October 3, 2016, Dropbox is discontinuing the ability to render HTML content in-browser via shared links or Public Folder.

So you’ve got some web content, now what do you do with it? Typically, this is where you’d upload your content to a web server.

Maybe you’re new to creating web content and the idea of signing up with a web host is daunting. Perhaps you’re dipping your toe in the water, and you don’t yet need your own domain name. You just need a place to post your files so that others can view them.

Fortunately, there’s a cheap (in most cases free) and easy solution. You can use Dropbox to host web sites.

Step 1: Copy your site into the Public folder within your Dropbox Directory

You may want to create a subfolder, so that you can house multiple sites in your Public folder.

dropbox_public

Important note: If your Dropbox account was created before Oct. 4, 2012, you will automatically have a Public folder. If your account is newer, you may have to request a public folder. (This may now require a paid account). See the Helpful Links section below for other options.

Step 2: Right-click and choose Copy Public Link

dropbox_copylink

You can create a shareable link from any Dropbox file or folder, but if your file has dependencies (images, CSS files, JavaScript files, etc) the Public folder has an easier time linking to those files.

Step 3: Paste the link in your browser to test, or paste into an email to send

dropbox_paste

You now have a link to your site. Here’s a sample site I created using in5.

Optional: You can use a link shortener to create a more memorable URL.

Strengths of Using Dropbox as a Web Server

  • Cheap/Free
  • Fast
  • Easy
  • Built-in version control
  • Doesn’t require an File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application. Files can be managed from the desktop.

Weaknesses of Using Dropbox as a Web Server

  • No server-side scripts
  • URL is generic

Helpful links

Apparently, you can also services like DropPages or Pancake.io, you can create a small and simple website with minimal effort (even if you don’t have a Public folder in your acccount).

New to Dropbox? It’s a very useful service. Check out Keith Gilbert’s Up and Running with Dropbox course on Lynda.com to learn more about what you can do with Dropbox.

Need a Dropbox account? You can create one for free.

See also 4 Ways to Host Your Website on Dropbox.

in5 and InDesign CC 2014

Justin | extensions,HTML5,InDesign,tips | Monday, June 23rd, 2014

With the CC (2014) release of InDesign, Adobe has decided to rename InDesign to mark a new version and to archive the previous version of InDesign CC.

The InDesign team wrote a nice mechanism to copy preferences from the previous version of CC, which even copies extensions used in CC over to CC 2014.

Existing in5 users will notice that in5 appears in CC 2014 as a trial version, even if it had been licensed in CC.

Fortunately, you can still use the previous version of InDesign CC, and your activated license will remain intact. In some cases, you may need to reinstall in5 in CC, because of the transfer mechanism which moves/copies it to CC 2014. Alternatively, you can choose to activate a new seat of in5 within InDesign CC 2014.

We recognize that this is non-optimal and totally frustrating.

We’re investigating ways that our licensing might better mirror Adobe’s licensing and trying to figure out what might be best for our customers. You can provide feedback to us by answering the poll below.

How would you prefer to license in5?

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How to Create a Multi-Issue Standalone App with Baker Framework

Justin | design,HTML5,Tutorials | Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Baker Framework is pre-built, open source library for Xcode. The framework allows you to easily convert HTML and publish it to native iOS (iPad and iPhone) devices as a standalone app or as Apple Newsstand issues.

To build an app with Baker, you essentially drop your HTML into theĀ books directory within the Baker project, update a few variables in Xcode, and you’re ready to publish.

It’s well-documented that you can create multi-issue app to work with Apple’s Newsstand app (i.e., publishing a new issue each month). What is less well known, however, is that you can publish a multi-issue standalone app.

bakershelf

To create this “catalog” page, all you have to do is drop multiple folders in the books directory.

bakerfiles

You now have a multi-issue app!

How to Create Scrolling Chapters for the Baker Framework Using InDesign and in5

Justin | design,extensions,HTML5,InDesign,iOS,Tutorials | Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Several in5 (InDesign to HTML5) users have asked about creating long chapters within their Baker Framework ebooks, so I put together the following video to demonstrate how this can be accomplished using InDesign and in5.

The technique in the video is enhanced by some additional features that have been added to a recent update to in5.

Baker-specific enhancements for in5 v2.1.3

  • Vertically scrolling (tall) pages within Baker now return to the top automatically when leaving the page.
  • Added script to merge multiple pages into a vertically scrolling (tall) page.
  • Switched on zoomable by default in book.json file for HPUB.
  • Removed viewport meta tag from HPUB thumbnail page.

The Baker Framework is a free code library that allows you to publish beautiful, interactive books (or magazine issues) to the iPad and iPhone.

To start creating ebooks from InDesign today, you can

  1. Download the framework and
  2. Get a free copy of in5 >>

Early Bird Discount for in5 v2 Ends Soon

Justin | extensions,HTML5,InDesign | Thursday, April 10th, 2014

If you have an existing v1 or Kickstarter license for in5, and are not already subscribed to our newsletter, you may not have realized that you’re eligible for a discount. And, there’s an early bird discount! But it’s expiring next week, so take advantage of it now.

About the upgrade: If you choose to upgrade, your original v1 (or Kickstarter) license will remain active and you will receive an additional v2 serial number. Regardless of the number of seats in your existing license, you can upgrade to any package of v2 seats available on the upgrade page. For example, if you have a 2-seat v1 license, and you’d like to upgrade to a 4-seat v2 license, you are welcome to do so. Just keep in mind that you can only upgrade once for each v1 or Kickstarter serial number.

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