Simple, but less ugly way to present items in an online folder?
March 28, 2009 11:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm sharing files by dropping them into a folder in my public_html folder. Is there an easy way to generate a tasteful, simple front-end that's more appealing than the standard web-browser's text list?

For a while, I was putting together simple HTML pages, which is obviously not very efficient. (By the way, this is through web-hosting, not my own server.)

I'm imagining some kind of standalone database thing that I drop into the same folder as the files. Or maybe a "miniature" WordPress that's as simple as an FTP client, and presents a file hierarchy along the lines of the MobileMe iDisk.

I suppose I wouldn't rule out trying WordPress, if that's the best (or only) way to do it. Any suggestions for plugins and themes for this purpose?

Files/video (.mp4) are downloaded. It wouldn't hurt, but there's no need for streaming, or viewing within a browser window. I know this is sounding like an FTP thing, but I can't ask people to download and poke around with FTP clients.

There are lots of file-sharing sites out there, but I'd like this material to reside on my "site". However password-protected and secure file distribution services are, the data is confidential, health-related material, and any branding at all would cause people to wonder about security.
posted by huron to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There are lots of PHP-based file managers. Relay is pretty but was released a couple of years ago and hasn't been updated, and may potentially throw up incompatibilities with your host's setup. Ajaxplorer is pretty and well-featured, and under active development. They are, of course, only as secure as you make them.
posted by holgate at 12:08 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're somewhat handy at hacking code together, BolGallery and Single File PHP Gallery might be worth looking into. They're super-lightweight (no database whatsoever, each a single file) that you drop into your directory and let it autogenerate images and lists. They're geared towards images, however, so you would have to modify it to display mp4 files.

Alternatively, you can use this PHP File Tree which is created with a single Javascript file. Also very lightweight. There's a pretty JQuery version, too!
posted by suedehead at 1:17 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Perhaps Filebrowser? Although it's geared a bit towards images, it works with all files. You can check out the demo and see what you think.
posted by bjrn at 5:16 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use this little PHP File Lister. You just drop it in the folder and you're done. Could you perhaps list the features you're looking for? There are literally thousands of directory listing scripts out there, with varying degrees of customizability. For example, do you need user logins with different levels of access? Preview icons? Tags?

And because no one else has said it, WordPress would be enormous overkill for this, and it's really not meant for something like this. It will require a ton of tweaking and extensions to get it to act the way you want it to.
posted by bcwinters at 6:07 AM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

I'd agree with the suggestions to write your own. If you can already handle writing the HTML then this is an extremely simple task in any scripting language: all you have to do is call the API that fetches the list of files in the directory and then set up a single loop to generate a link or icon or whatever for each file.
posted by XMLicious at 7:56 AM on March 29, 2009

About the FTP thing, I know Firefox handles it seamlessly, and I think IE does too. So, if you had some way to make FTP look pretty, then I'd try that + a browser.
posted by philomathoholic at 8:17 AM on March 29, 2009

Best answer: I use either snif or fileNice. Both can be customized to your liking. Wordpress is definitely overkill for this.
posted by Dr.Jeckyl at 10:17 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

If the web server in question is Apache, you have a number of options about how those default index listings are presented. The Apache documentation for mod_autoindex describes most of the options, but there's a nice write-up with screenshots here.
posted by paulg at 10:33 AM on March 29, 2009

Response by poster: Not such an obscure thing then! I'm not sure why I didn't get too far with Google, but I'm glad I asked MetaFilter; I'm not sure I would have hit on some of those choices in particular. Thanks for the ideas!

fileNice is beautiful, and I'll definitely use it for some things. I'll try both Relay and Ajaxplorer too, since they have additional features. Thanks again.
posted by huron at 10:48 PM on April 2, 2009

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