Storing files offline has never been easier and with Dropbox you get more than the simple file sharing so common everywhere these days. Device independence is a major feature of using cloud storage as the user simply needs a browser to access files. Most file sharing is a simple case of allowing others access but Dropbox has a little extra that turns out to be a big deal if you are a developer who needs a convenient way to see and share their work online without heavy duty domain admin etc.
Clicking on the >Advanced Settings link opens up a more detailed settings dialogue. There is a field at the bottom of the dialogue for the user to enter the URL of the custom CSS they are using; this can be a Dropbox location containing the custom CSS which can be run directly from Dropbox. To do this you need to start with a Dropbox account– these are a breeze to setup and cost nothing for the basic version. The Dropbox interface is easy to use and supports familiar drag and drop activities. Dropbox offers these services free up to 18GB per user which, unless you are sharing videos and larger files, is ample to use as a shared resource.
Pro versions offer bigger storage accounts for those who need it but cost a monthly fee. Once you have set up your free account at http://www.dropbox.com you will be given your own dashboard to access your files. This is the opportunity to use the system for the hosting of your custom CSS to be used with FeedWind RSS.
Creating the necessary folder for publication of your CSS files is straightforward from the icon in the dashboard toolbar. This folder must be named “Public” for it to be usable.
The following screen is displayed, where the name “Public” is entered.
The new folder is created and remains highlighted. Right away you are able to select that folder and open it and then upload files using the “upload” icon in the toolbar or dragging and dropping files to the Dropbox main screen. There are manual links onscreen that can be used too.
The easiest way is to open the parent folder of your CSS files, select the folder with a single click of the mouse and drag it complete into the public folder you just created in a browser window. The Dropbox interface will automatically take over and upload the files/folders etc. that you have uploaded.
That’s easy too. Simply hit the “copy public link” from the right-click menu dropdown as you select the file you wish to get a link for; a small popup advises you of the link URL which is copied to the clipboard. This is the link that is used in the FeedWind widget to access the custom CSS that you have created.
The page does not have to be labeled “index” or anything similar such as in a regular domain as the link is a direct link and not merely a domain address.
Overall Dropbox is very simple to use as a CSS host and offers collaboration and file sharing, making it a very useful solution indeed. FeedWind developers would find this ideal when trying out new versions of customized code or regular site developers might want to try out FeedWind in conjunction with their own CSS in a sandbox environment before applying it to their sites. Others may simply want to write some CSS and see if it works!