dropbox

Dropbox Professional

This week Dropbox announced a new individual tier, Dropbox Professional. For $20 a month you get 1 TB of storage, which is the same amount of storage with the Dropbox Plus plan at $10 a month. However, there are some additional features like smart sync, which lets you access all of your Dropbox-stored files without necessarily keeping them on your device and full-text search, which lets you search the contents of your files stored on Dropbox.

The sharing and collaboration tools also include some additional features including shared link controls which lets you manage access and visibility of shared documents.

At this point, I have largely divested myself of Dropbox except for some of its sharing features as I’ve been continuing my iCloud experiment. If iCloud didn’t exist, I probably would upgrade to the professional plan. The additional features are useful, mainly if you’re running on a laptop with limited storage. I do wish however that for $20/month they provided more storage than the same amount you get for the $10 tier. Dropbox has a page outlining the differences between the various individual plans.

Dropbox's Big iOS Update

Dropbox has long been an essential service for iOS power users but you wouldn't know that based on their app. Today that changed with the release of a new version with several substantial new improvements including:

1. PDF Signing

You can now sign a PDF document right inside the Dropbox application. It's not a substitute for a quality PDF application but in a jam, it will get the job done.

2. Messages Support

You can now link a Dropbox file from right inside messages instead of having to go back to the application for a link.

3. Widget Support

There's now a Dropbox widget so you can create, view, and upload files from the widget.

4. Notifications and Lock Screen

Dropbox supports notifications including letting you know when someone saves a new version of a file. This is another feature that will make Dropbox-based collaboration easier.

5. Picture in Picture

I've got a lot of media stored on Dropbox. I've long waited for this feature that lets Dropbox become an iOS media player.

 

Split Screen?

The feature I want most in iOS Dropbox, split screen, sadly isn't part of the update but Dropbox promises it is coming soon.

Edit in Place?

Another feature I'd like to see Dropbox support is true "edit in place" functionality. Currently, if you want to edit a Pages document or PDF file stored in Dropbox, it gets sent out to the third party application where it makes a copy and then you have all the shenanigans that result from multiple copies of documents. Dropbox does support edit in place with Microsoft Word documents and PDFs (if you'll edit them in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat) but that is far too limiting. iCloud actually does a better job at this part of the equation than Dropbox. Hopefully more robust edit in place support is on the horizon.

DropDAV, WebDAV for Dropbox

Dropbox just continues to get more useful every day. At this point, I believe it is mandatory for anybody who wants to get work done on an iPad. If Dropbox’s own developer API, letting you load and save documents to your Dropbox space from iOS devices, wasn’t enough, you can now turn your Dropbox storage into its own WebDAV server. Using DropDAV, I now have the ability to access my Dropbox storage through any Webdav enabled application. Most importantly, this opens all of the iPad iWork apps to Dropbox storage. I’ve been using it a few weeks without a hitch.

You still need to save the work back to Dropbox when you are done but at least it lets you thumb your nose at the iPad iWork team for not enabling Dropbox access. The services is free with a 2GB Dropbox account and $3/month with a 50GB account. You could also use this to sync your OmniFocus database. If any readers have ideas for other uses of a WebDAV connection to Dropbox, sound off in the comments.

Scrivener and Dropbox

Dropbox is acknowledging a problem with syncing metadata heavy files like those in Scrivener. I've been syncing Scrivener files over Dropbox for sometime with no issue. Before, when I used SugarSync, I experienced this problem and it ultimately drove me to Dropbox. Regardless, I am taking new steps to keep local copies of all Scrivener files and encourage you to do so until Dropbox sorts this out.