Webapp for collaborating with large files
January 12, 2011 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend... need a webapp for collaborating on large binary files. Any suggestions?

"Are there any good webapps for collaborating on large binary files (like images or music)? I'm looking for something that lets me upload files that a client can view and comment on. It should support some kind of versioning (or at least let me upload multiple files in a thread), support fine-grained permissions (i.e. users from client A can only see stuff for client A and not for client B), and it would be great if it was extensible enough to let me write my own viewers for files. I figure something like this must exist in the marketing, music, game development, or customer service worlds, but I don't know what magic words to search for.

posted by olinerd to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
basecamp, alfresco, and trac are all options for this. Some are free software (you'll need to buy hosting), some are subscriptions, etc etc etc.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:50 AM on January 12, 2011

Hmm...sort of counter-intuitive, but I bet you could make this work without a lot of trouble with git/github (or some other hosted VCS, I just know github best). Not exactly what your friend is looking for but it supports a lot of the features you listed, like versioning, supporting binary files, permissions structure, and of course there are multiple APIs in multiple languages that you can use to work with git. It's going to be a heck of a lot more robust than a CMS at handling versioning and managing multiple versions of documents while allowing multiple people to contribute with various levels of permissions; that is, of course, the whole point of a VCS. Of course there are down sides, git or most VCS systems I know don't really handle binary files with a lot of grace, and wrapping your head around how git works right away can be tricky, even with a gui client.

Not sure exactly how the commenting would work but may be possible somehow, maybe even integrating with something like basecamp which jenkinsEar lists, or writing a simple web front-end that just exposes the part of git the clients need to see with a simple commenting interface.

Anyways, hopefully this isn't too off-base, and provides food for though at the least.
posted by dubitable at 8:19 AM on January 12, 2011

Hi! I'm olinerd's friend. Thanks for the answers so far.

Basecamp is a pretty good candidate, but I'm worried about writing custom viewers for wacky filetypes. That certainly doesn't rule it out, though! I'm worried about limiting the visibility on things with Trac, though I love using it for my own software projects. I hadn't run into Alfresco before, and I'm grateful for the suggestion.

I'll also look into github, but I'm not quite sure it's quite the model we're looking for. Still, I don't know much about it and will dig in to see what I can do.

Thanks again!
posted by CHABOXERS at 9:38 AM on January 12, 2011

As someone who is working on an app for just this purpose (hopefully out by summer), I haven't found anything that has all the features you are looking for. Soundcloud, Bandcamp and other sites are good for uploading, displaying and playing back music, but I don't think they have versioning or any formal collaboration features.
posted by rhizome at 10:34 AM on January 12, 2011

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