Keep it simple, Keep it light…smart storage solutions for the designer/developer.

October 8, 2013

Around this time ten years ago when I wasn’t loading up the internal hard drive on my 1000 lb. EMac, I was usually storing various Photoshop and Illustrator projects on my $99/250 megabyte Western Digital along with my equally bulky iTunes backup. These days the Emac and the Western Digital collect dust in the closet, while my laptop’s hard drive rarely stores anything beyond common utility applications. The two reasons for this monumental shift: Google Drive & Github.

Google Drive makes up for every zip disk that ever got stuck into a neon Macintosh G3 by my clumsy paws circa 2000. Simple to the max, I log in and grab files from either the upload button on the left or by simply dragging files into the list view. With 15GB off the bat, it’s a winner and paid subscriptions can garner anywhere from 100GB to 16TB. The maximum single file size is 10GB. So whether it’s large jpegs from the DSLR for a family wedding, a PDF presentation for work, or a Flash project that you want to transfer to your desktop at home, Google Drive has become my go-to app for storing and transferring large digital files.

While slightly more complicated, Github has become my de facto versioning software, when such a system is unavailable. A few years ago, I became spoiled by a former employer with the ease and organization provided by two versioning clients: Qwin and Tortoise SVN. The ability to checkout files, make edits, and remerge those files into the source code without interfering with the work of other developers was magnificent. With Tortoise and subversion, I learned more about the importance of branching while designing websites for a java platform. Nevertheless, when I left that employer and was hired by a company that lacked a versioning system for both designers & developers I really missed the organization provided by qwin & tortoise.

Github allows me to upload jQuery projects, personal website files, etc. and enables me to comment on pushed files or branch and merge code. Although some IDE’s like Dreamweaver and Eclipse offer similar versioning features, Github allows you to share your work with anyone signed up as a user with Github. Users who don’t have read/write access to a project that’s stored in a “repository” can fork a repository into their account, make changes and send push requests to the owner of the repo. Do you share code demos from a tutorial on a tech blog? Even folks, not signed up for the service can download your demo files if your repo is made public. Make a user a collaborator to your project and they have the ability to add, push, merge, and more. Although, it may take a half an hour or so to get set up with the installation and the command line, I highly recommend learning to use Github. Here’a few extremely helpful resources.

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