Here's something I'd like to see: an open source project to produce client and server code to make it easy to upload files to websites.
[Update: we have a mailing list! Mail
firstname.lastname@example.org to join.]
It's not hard to add file/image upload support to a website, but some functions just work so much better on the client. If you can resize a 2MB JPEG down to 100K on the client, for example, you can send 100 photos over a 128K DSL line in 11 minutes rather than three and a half hours.
And... it seems that everything needs file/image upload support. Certainly all of our projects at work - Structured Blogging, OurMedia, GoingOn and PeopleAggregator, to name a few. Also a couple of my own personal projects, and pretty much every blogging tool. I think Marc has to resize images using Photoshop then upload them with FTP to get them on his blog. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to resize/crop inside a simple client and get the upload for free?
A few websites do this really well. Flickr's Uploadr is excellent. OurMedia users seem to have managed to upload quite a bit of audio and video with its uploader, so I assume it's not bad either. Then some sites don't use a client - Cyworld uses a Flash widget, which is OK, whereas MSN uses an ActiveX control that I completely failed to get to work on my neighbour's computer and haven't bothered to try at home. Outlook Express is good - it has an excellent little resize dialog that pops up when you e-mail image files.
... however, there doesn't seem to be a universal way to do this, that can be easily integrated into apps. So, who's gonna build it? :-)
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Here's an initial stab at the work required:
- A client app like Flickr's Uploadr that can:
- Resize/convert images
- Upload multiple images.
- Upload larger files - e.g. videos and audio recordings.
- The server side plumbing for this:
- Some way of hooking this into a website - perhaps using a small chunk of XML that gives authentication credentials and an ID for the image to be uploaded.
- Protocol to receive large files over unreliable connections, perhaps using multiple HTTP requests. WebDAV might suit here, if it's implementable in every brain-dead server environment.
Places to start to steal code for the client would be the FotoBilder client(s) and the OurMedia uploader.
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Comments invited... is there an easier way to get the same functionality? Has someone already build this?