Jun 24 2009
A customer often needs to share files for his clients. The clients need to see the photos of his products before deciding to buy. The photo files are often large in file size.
He has been using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software for this purpose. He created a specific directory on his web server, uploads the files into that directory, and asks clients to download from that directory.
While this has been working for his purpose so far, it is not a very good way for file sharing. For one, non-technical users may not know how to download files using FTP. Either they need to know what to type on the address bar in Windows Explorer (such as ftp://firstname.lastname@example.org), or they need to install and use some FTP software to download the files. Worse, some companies do not allow employees to install new program without proper authorization.
Also, if the files are to be shared among more than one client, a client who can access the directory can often see the files shared to other clients. Of course, my customer can create different directories for different clients. But it’s simply more work.
Also, his clients just want to look at the photos. By using FTP, they need to first download the files in order to view the photos. But download wastes time, especially for large files.
FTP as its name suggests, is used for “file transfer”, that is to upload and download files from and to a server. It is not really meant for “file sharing”, which is to share files between and among more than one user.
Since my customer needs to share photos, instead of using the more technical FTP, why not use Flickr instead? Just upload the photos to Flickr, decide who can view the photos, and share the web address which contains the photos to the clients. The clients will be able to view the photos without needing to download.