Managing Web Assets Across Multiple Dropboxes

Submitted by matthew on Wed, 2013-01-16 21:48

The Problem
I contract with a few different companies at a time. I have email addresses with several of them. Each have their own clients who want to share assets - things like comps, artwork, wireframes and so forth. I've played with a variety of ways of sharing these assets. You can attach them to tickets in your ticketing system, but you may not want your client to be in the ticketing system. I've also had clients that were savvy enough to use a repository like GIT or SVN - but that is fairly rare. In comes Dropbox. Dropbox synchronizes and version controls on drag and drop. Almost any client can wrap their heads around that concept.

This works fabulously for one dropbox. However, if you are in a situation where you need (want) multiple boxes, things get a little squirrelly. Dropbox does not support this. Luckily, if you are a mac user, a little script in your terminal window will fix this lickety split, allowing you to have as many drop-boxes as email addresses you work with.

Step 1 - Synch It, open a terminal window. Type the following into the window changing "name-to-synch" whatever you wish the directory to be named.

HOME=$HOME/dropbox-name-to-synch /Applications/ &

dual dropboxes

If this has worked, it will have set up a new dropbox folder for you in your home folder:

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At this point, a second drop box icon will show up at the top of your screen and you will be prompted to authenticate. Enter in the dropbox email address and password that you want to use and run through the setup process. Once this is done, the box will start to synch. This is all well and good, but when you restart your computer, it all goes *poof*. It is perfectly ok, to go through this process each time you restart, but perhaps a bit of a pain.

Step 2 - Automate it The Mac comes with a little application called Automator. This is where the fun begins - you can create a little application that runs this script for you. Fire up Automator - if you can't find it, use spotlight in the top right corner of the screen.

  1. Choose Workflow - fot the type of document
  2. In Actions, type "Shell" in the little search window and choose "run shell script" - drag the action to the workflow pane.
  3. Change the Shell in the little pulldown to /bin/bash and replace "cat" with the command we used in the terminal. HOME=$HOME/dropbox-name-to-synch /Applications/ &
  4. Click "Run"
  5. dual dropboxes 3
  6. Run through the process of authenticating
  7. Then, in Automator, go to File -> Save.
  8. Give it a name, something like My Business Dropbox and make the File Format "Application"
  9. Quit Automator and Quit the Dropbox you just created. It has it's own menu if you click on it.
  10. Double click on the new Application you just built - it should launch your new dropbox and synch it for you.

Step 3 - Differentiate it
Dang it! Both boxes look the same! Click on your new dropbox in the top menu and pull down to preferences. In the general tab, check "Use black and white menu bar icons". Now the two boxes look clearly different!

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