Sometimes the most useful and exciting features in software are also the simplest. While this may seem counter-intuitive, I can back this up with an example from the most recent smartfile.com software update. We included a number of useful features:
A new tree-view for browsing directories.
Ability to extract and compress archives.
Support for international file names.
Time limited accounts (expiration).
But one in particular (at least in my opinion) really makes the software much more flexible. From the title you can probably guess that this feature has to do with linking. You would be correct, the feature I am writing about today allows our users to create an ‘external link’ to a file within their FTP space which can be used to directly download a file without logging in. Such links were originally conceived to allow users to email files to colleagues quickly without having to set up a new account for them. First let’s take a look at how the feature works.
The user first locates a file to create a link for.
Then they choose the expiration and usage count options that suit their needs.
A whole host of possibilities is enabled by this simple feature. Image hosting for eBay or similar can be accomplished by setting the usage limit to unlimited and expiration to never. The link can then be used in the src attribute of an HTML img tag. File hosting can be done by placing the link onto a website to make files available for download. Links can be sent via email, instant messages or services such as Twitter or Facebook. We are currently working on an API that would allow links to be created programmatically from a shopping cart or other external application, this would enable digital distribution of pay content or software.