This is a problem which two applications, Droplr and CloudApp, seek to solve. Both of these Mac-only apps try to make sharing files a simple drag-and-drop process. Simply find a file on your computer, drag it over an icon, and waa-la! The file is uploaded and a short URL is made which can be posted on social networks. However, since both Mac file sharing apps serve the same function, you only really need one. So, which is the best?
Ease of Use and Interface
As you might expect from Mac-only apps, both Droplr and CloudApp do their best to maintain a clean, minimalist design and interface. Both have very similar websites with obvious download options (CloudApp even copies the “Buy Now” button design from the Apple website). Once you install the apps you will find a simple icon in the upper right hand corner. Droplr’s icon sort of looks like a teardrop, while CloudApp’s icon quite obviously looks like a cloud. The idea is that when you want to upload a file you simply drag-and-drop the file onto the icon and it is automatically uploaded to your Droplr or CloudApp account.
However, both Droplr and CloudApp make some notable mistakes when it comes to ease of use. Both use a web interface for browsing, sorting, viewing and deleting your files. Droplr’s web interface is completely baffling at first glance. There is no text at all – just some icons. After a minute or two, you’ll figure out that the icons are a way of sorting different types of files, but would it really hurt to add a tiny label to each icon?
CloudApp’s web interface is much more clear and robust. The different sections of the interface are labeled and intuitive. The categories in the CloudApp interface are also more defined. For example, text, video and audio files are lumped into the same category in Droplr, but CloudApp places them in their own respective categories, making uploads easier to find.
But as I indicated earlier, CloudApp isn’t perfect. CloudApp apparently uses a system of extensions, which are called Raindrops. That’s great, except that CloudApp gives you no clue about what they do. None. I could find no documentation about them on the CloudApp help website.
At a basic level, the functionality of both Droplr and CloudApp is the same. You drag-and-drop files onto the icon and your file is uploaded. Simple enough.
There are, however, some major differences. For example, Droplr is very tightly integrated with Twitter. In fact, you’ll use your Twitter account to log in to Droplr. Whenever you drag and drop a file to Droplr you can click a small Twitter icon which appears. This takes you to your Twitter page and lets you instantly create a tweet containing whatever you just uploaded.
Another neat feature of Droplr is the ability to upload text messages, called notes. These notes are directly uploaded like any other file but can be viewed in a web browser. If you have something very simple you want to share – perhaps directions to a bar or a recipe for cookies – putting the information in a note is quicker and easier than putting the information into a text document and then uploading the text document.
CloudApp, on the other hand, makes it easier to share screenshots from your computer. If you have CloudApp installed any screenshot you take will instantly be uploaded to your CloudApp account. This includes both full-screen shots and shots which are targeted on a specific part of the screen. Droplr, on the other hand, requires that you use a specific, separate shortcut for Droplr screenshots.
Both Droplr ad CloudApp have their benefits and disadvantages. Ideally, the benefits of both could be combined into one application. For now, however, you’ll have to choose.
Ultimately, I throw my hat into CloudApp’s ring. What sways me in favor of CloudApp is that Droplr showed an unfortunate tendency to crash. I three times ran into situations where Droplr would act as if it was uploading a file and then become stuck just when it should finish. When this happened Droplr would become non-functional and I had to Force Quit the program. That is very annoying for a program which is supposed to make file sharing easy.
Still, it won’t hurt you to try both mac file sharing programs out, and if you really want the ability to post things straight to Twitter you may find Droplr to be the superior app.
Which do you favor? Let us know in the comments.
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