Dropzone is a neat little app that seems like a basic file sharing utility, but when you look further you'll find it actually provides fantastic shortcuts for moving, copying, and uploading files, perform various tasks, and use information. Everything is handled via drag-and-drop, saving you time with common, tedious tasks.
Before we get into Dropzone, you should know we're not talking about free software. Dropzone will cost you $US14. The software we like to feature is generally free or close to it, but Dropzone turned out to be so much more capable than initially expected that it was worth an in-depth look. With that said, let's take a look at what it can do.
Be sure to watch the video above for an in-depth look at Dropzone and it's many capabilities. For additional information, read on.
How Dropzone Works
Dropzone lives up in your Mac's menubar, allowing you to drag files, text, or whatever onto its icon and then a specific action you want to use. You can also specify five actions to show up as circles on the side of your screen. These actions, wherever you choose to keep them, allow you to perform helpful actions with nothing more than a drag and a drop. Dropzone comes with a bunch of useful built-in actions that mostly focus on file uploading, but there is so much more it can do. Below are some of my favourite built-in and downloadable actions that are available to use freely with the app.
Upload To FTP (Built-In)
Uploading to an FTP server allows you to use any online storage you have, such as underused web hosting space, to store files. If you configure the FTP Upload Dropzone you can simply drag a file onto it, watch it upload and get a URL in your clipboard when you're done. Additionally, if you hold down the option key when dragging multiple files onto the action then Dropzone will zip them all up, upload the zip and provide you with that URL. To get it to work you just have to enter your FTP server's information, tell it where you want the files to be uploaded, and click the Add button.
Upload To Flickr (Built-In)
Uploading your images to an image sharing service is not always the quickest process. Flickr's desktop uploader can take a bit of time to process each image as you add it and the web uploader requires logging in, finding your photos, specifying information after they've finished uploading and a few other tedious tasks. If you use the Flickr Upload Dropzone, however, you can just grab a bunch of photos, drag them on to the action, and let them upload. It's a super-fast way to share your photos.
Install Application (Built-In)
Install Application is a very clever action. When you download an app in a .dmg disk image file, it takes a few clicks to mount it, install the app, and eject the disk image. Instead, just drag it to the action and everything will be taken care of for you. You can even have Dropzone trash the .dmg file upon completion.
Zip & Email (Built-In)
Need to send a file or two via email? The Zip & Email Dropzone takes care of the process for you. Just drag a few files onto it and it'll zip them up, then compose a new message in Apple Mail. The downside, of course, is that this action only seems to work with Apple Mail. It would be nice if it worked with other email clients, like the fantastic Sparrow, or at least whatever you have set to be the default. Nonetheless, if you're an Apple Mail user this action is pretty great.
Need to print a few files? The Print Dropzone will take care of that for you. Just drag any files you want to print onto it and they'll print right out. If you have multiple printers, you'll be prompted to select a printer first. Very simple and saves you time.
Set Desktop Picture
Sure, you can right-click any image in the Finder and set it as your desktop image but what if you've got an image somewhere else? The Set Desktop Picture Dropzone will let you drag an image from most sources, such as your web browser, and update your wallpaper as instructed. You can even hold down the command key to choose which desktop you want to set if you have multiple monitors.
Send to iPhone
If you've got an iPhone, you've likely struggled with moving data from your Mac to it and back again. That's what myPhoneDesktop, a simple data transfer app, can help you do. The Send to iPhone Dropzone makes the transfer of information faster by just letting you drag and drop want you want to send and let the myPhoneDesktop app handle the rest.
If you're not in the mood to read or want your computer to speak text for any reason, just drag that text onto the Say Text Dropzone. It'll speak the text for you automatically, saving you the trouble of copying it into an app like Text Edit and trying to remember where the speech options are.
For more downloadable actions, check out the full list here.
Extend Dropzone Further By Creating Your Own Actions
Dropzone is highly extensible thanks to a simple Ruby-based API. You only need to know basic Ruby (which you can learn here) to create something simple. Dropzone also offers excellent API documentation to walk you through the process. This way you can create quick, new shortcuts to make Dropzone do whatever you want it to do. If the above list of actions doesn't cut, you'll always have a DIY option to change that.
Dropzone 2 ($US14) [Aptonic Software]