The Mac is a lucky platform because it has so many great ways to quickly upload files with a simple drag and drop or stroke of the keyboard. Among all the options, Dockdrop is our favourite thanks to its simplicity and versatility.
- Upload files quickly by dragging them onto the dock icon and get a URL in your clipboard when the upload has finished.
- Use a user-definable keyboard shortcut to upload files from the Finder, iPhoto or iTunes.
- Upload to FTP, SFTP/SCP and WebDAV servers.
- Upload to your Flickr account.
- Provides an option to automatically close the app after an upload so it's never running unless it's actually in use.
Dockdrop is really great and super simple to use. When you first open the app, you enter in your information for an FTP, SCP/SFTP, or WebDAV server or authenticate your Flickr account. Once you've done that, you just drag a file onto Dockdrop's icon and it uploads to that destination. If you've configured multiple options, you'll first see a screen that asks you to press a number 1 through 4 and tells you which service each number corresponds to. Once the upload has completed, you'll have a URL in your clipboard. Instead of dragging, you can also initiate this process with a global keyboard shortcut you specify in Dockdrop's preferences. It's really handy, and I used it to create my own file sharing service (here's how you can do that, too). It's one of the quickest and simplest ways to upload files from your Mac.
Perhaps the biggest downside of Dockdrop is that it is limited to four service types and you can't reorder them. For the most part, FTP, SCP and WebDAV server should be enough for most people. In general I only set the app up with a single destination because it saves effort. Nonetheless, it would be nice to have the option to add a larger number of sources. Additionally, the ability to upload multiple files as a zip and opt to remove an spaces in the filenames (or replace them with other characters) would be helpful.
Dockdrop also hasn't received an update in a while. The official site for the app only seems to support OS X 10.4 and 10.5, but I've been using it on both 10.6 and 10.7 without any issues at all. While it works just fine now, the lack of official support for the two latest versions of OS X doesn't bode well for the future. Although Dockdrop is a simple app, you never know if it may break at some point. Hopefully development will continue in the event that there's an issue, and the web site may as well get an update since it still functions just fine.
Dropzone ($US14) offers similar functionality but provides a nearly unlimited number of destinations. Additionally, it allows you to drop files to applications and other sources that don't necessarily involve an upload. The interface is very nice and offers a few options. Although a little on the pricy side (considering some of its competition), if you need additional versatility it's worth a look.
Dragster ($US19) and Filechute ($US18) are both pricey alternatives that offer a little more flexibility than Dockdrop mostly by providing additional sources and a few other options here and there. Worth the extra money? Not really. I've owned both for a while now and I still use Dockdrop because it's easier, but if you find it too limiting you might want to take a look.
CloudApp (freemium) is a favourite among Mac users. You upload to Cloud App's service directly by dragging a file onto its icon in the menubar. It can also upload screenshots automatically. While it's free and a pretty good app, you are limited to its service and its service has limits. If you don't pay, you can only upload so many files per day. If you do pay, you're looking at a minimum of $US45 per year. That isn't much, but if you have a place to store your files online already (like your underused web hosting) it may be a little excessive. Nonetheless, if you prefer to have everything taken care of for you in a simple and attractive package, CloudApp is definitely the way to go.
Courier ($US10) isn't exactly a drag-and-drop quick uploader, but it saves time because you can add one file and upload it to multiple locations. Courier has destinations like FTP servers, Flickr, Vimeo, and more built-in but third party plugins can add support for additional online services.
These are just a few options available for the Mac. Got a favourite we didn't mention? Share it in the comments!
Lifehacker's App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.