Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Use WebDAV with Dropbox (or other shares)

One of the things that really frustrated me at first was the clunky way you had to use iTunes to get files (such as Pages documents) on and off the iPad, having to put files into iTunes file sharing or drag them out was a very un-Apple like way of doing things. I don't use Mobile Me or iDisk so I had no easy way of sending files from my iPad to my computer or to the cloud.

This didn't last too long as I came across the brilliant Dropbox app for IOS devices. This lets you download files stored on Dropbox to supported apps on the IOS device (either from the app or using the website) as well as syncing Dropbox folders on multiple machines, and it's free! However, Dropbox doesn't support apps uploading to it. Then I discovered Habilis, this is a service that gives you an E-mail address linked to your Dropbox folder that allows you to e-mail files tomDropbox from apps that support E-mail sharing. This is good but still clunky and it can take a while for files to appear. Also, they go into a folder called From Habilis and you then have to move them to an appropriate folder using a "proper computer".

With the last update of iWork for iPad, Apple allowed these apps to send and receive from WebDAV. Brilliant, except that Dropbox doesn't support webDAV! Step forward years of playing with (and breaking) Linux and the wonders of the Internet. Behold, a way to set up your Dropbox folder on you Mac, PC or Linux box as webDAV share that can be accessed over your local WiFi network (or remotely if you are into port forwarding and DNS) by your IOS iWork apps. I shan't go into huge detail about how to set this up here as I have produced a PDF that you can view online that shows how to do this.

How to set up Dropbox with WebDAV

The basics are, you switch on websharing (Apache, included with Mac OS X), turn on the WebDAV modules in a config file, set up an alias to a folder you want to share (I used Dropbox but you should be able to set any folder you like), use terminal to create a password file, create a directory for the alias, set permissions and then set Apache to work with WebDAV.

It works really well and gives a level of usefulness to the iPad that Apple really should provide with Mobile Me or their huge data centre they are building. Below are some screen shots of it working on my iPad.

So there you have it, an elegant way of transferring documents between your iPad and your computer. The advantage of Dropbox being that you can access said files anywhere you have Internet access via the Web or the Dropbox app.

Many thanks to the two sites below which I used to gain information to write this how to:

The Cheep Geek

Manas Tungare

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Showbie said...

It’s awesome to see how educators are having their students create work on the iPad! For teachers who are looking for a super easy to use service to facilitate assignment or project file workflow between themselves and students, we’ve created a service called Showbie. With Showbie, teachers setup a class and assignments. They invite students to the class by giving the students a class code that links the student with all the assignments in the class once the student joins Showbie. This gives students each and assignment drop folder where they can upload work from their laptop via our website, or through our provided WebDAV server. If you’re a teacher or student using an iPad app like Pages or Keynote, you can easily save work into your Showbie assignment folder by putting in the Showbie server URL (https://w.showbie.com) and then entering your Showbie login and password. Going forward, you won’t need to put in these credentials unless you log out of the WebDAV connection.
If you have any questions or want to check us out, head over to http://www.showbie.com!
Founder, Showbie.com
Learning Happens Everywhere