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Filepicker - Upload, Download, Connect and Synchronize Files from your App to the Users Cloud

by Anand Narayanaswamy on Mar 20, 2013 |

Filepicker provides an ability to upload files from Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Google Drive, Flickr, Skydrive, Evernote, Github, Picasa, Box, Alfresco, Gmail, FTP and WebDAV using a single dialog window. It automatically stores the uploaded images in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and and generates an unique URL as soon as you complete the uploading process.

Filepicker provides support for Web, iOS, Android, PhoneGap platforms and works by enabling image post processing and hence the images will be in right size regardless of what type of file a user uploads either from the cloud or their local devices. Filepicker is free for upto 5,000 files/month which includes e-mail and community support.

InfoQ had a chat with Anand Dass, Chief Operating Officer at Filepicker to know more about the product.

InfoQ: What is the real purpose of using Filepicker?

Content interoperability on the web and mobile is broken. Filepicker.io’s purpose is to solve this problem. Here are some examples on how it is broken; ever tried using a mobile productivity application and tried to access that PDF sitting in your email application? Or after editing the PDF in the editing app, wished that the PDF automatically saved itself to your Dropbox or Google Drive? It is hard to do these actions currently on your mobile phone. These are just a few of the symptoms of the problem

Our goal is to build technology infrastructure for applications so that no matter where your content is, no matter what device you are on or what application you are using, you will be able to pick, edit, view and perform all the actions you want to perform seamlessly. The current version of the product is only the beginning where we support the pick use case.

InfoQ: What prompted you to develop Filepicker?

The broken experience we had on the web and mobile. Any website I go to and try to upload a file or picture, I ended up first downloading the picture from Facebook or the file from Google drive to my desktop and then uploading it to the website and finally erasing the copy from my desktop.

The current way we build apps assumes that the content a user cares about is on the harddrive which is no longer the case. In case of mobile phones there is no concept of downloading and uploading files and I just could not get work done on my mobile. This prompted me to build Filepicker.io.

InfoQ: What is the benefit of using FilePicker from user point of view?

Our product is for web and mobile application developers who are building applications for end users. So if we do our job right and are successful in motivating the developer community, the user wouldn’t have to worry about where his content is and how to get it when he wants it.

InfoQ: What type of file formats are supported by FilePicker?

Pretty much everything including crazy custom formats. So documents, images, audio, video, photoshop files are supported. With the rise of mobile apps the notion of files is changing. Apps on iOS have their own data containers and these data aren’t in the form of files. In the near future, Filepicker.io will be enabling data interchange for content that are not represented as files.

InfoQ: How easy it is to integrate FilePicker with the apps?

2 lines of code is all it takes. Add our JavaScript library and change the tag to <input type=filepicker> and you are all set. 10 minutes is all it should take for a simple web application. iOS and Android obviously take a bit longer but we have had customers tweet out that they got the integration up and running in 30 minutes or so!

InfoQ: Does Filepicker provide support for mobile and tablet devices?

Yes. iOS, Android, mobile web, PhoneGap platforms are supported. Some of the strongest positive feedback that we have received has been from mobile users who are now able to perform open and save actions from an application directly to the cloud. It is something they can’t do otherwise and when folks see it, it blows them.

Liyan Chang, Head of Product and User Experience has created a video demo which highlights the usage of Filepicker iOS library.

InfoQ: What is the difference between free and premium services?

The only difference really is the # of files per month. Upto 5000 files/month is free and if you want more # of files you will have to subscribe to paid plan ($99 per month). We are big believers in enabling any developer build a best in class experience. So we chose not segment our plans based on any other feature. For our enterprise customers we have customized plans based on throughput, SLAs and uptime requirements.

InfoQ: Does Filepicker provide support for Windows Phone 8?

Yes. We are working hard to provide support for Windows Phone and you can expect something from us later this year. It's very much on our roadmap.

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