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Dropbox-Hosted Websites (brace.io)
105 points by joeblau on Sept 14, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments

How is this different than backlift - https://www.backlift.com is already doing the same thing.

See also https://harp.io/

Damn, just how many of these services are there?

Eleventy seven.

These are the backlift guys, rebranding.

Oh. So they dropped the back end feature?

I don't know another explanation. https://backlift.com/ appears to be an effort to maximize profit, by having brace.io look like another service.

And the only scenario where this is useful is maybe a website for a client that cares shit about tech and just wants to manage his site on his own, to save his freelancer cents.

Actually I think they are related to backlift.

If you look at the demo video at 0:44, you can see a 'Our support email:' section on the page that is generated. The email in that section is 'support (at) backlift.com'.

I think the convenience part is very interesting. I would be more curious to see how they plan on monetizing it.

The favicon's are the same - rebranding?

The brace.io homepage also looks like "drag&dropped" from the backlift folder

In 0:58 of the demo video you can see Backlift and Backlift Pro folders in /Apps. Same guys?

See also http://900dpi.com and http://cloudcannon.com, which offer CMS capabilities in addition to hosting.

Or TinySite (https://github.com/niko/TinySite). (Shameless plug). Ok. TinySite will separate designer and editor roles. Editors will edit Textile document.

Exact same color scheme, down tot he forest green, so I'm guessing it's either a blatant ripoff or made by the same guys.

How does it feel realizing it's the same service?

The demo video talks about files being copied to a 'network of servers' to provide load balancing, so does this tool really produce 'Dropbox hosted' websites, or does it just use Dropbox as a mechanism for transferring files between the user and what amounts to a web host?

If it's the latter, why even bother with Dropbox as a middle man?

It looks like the main use of Dropbox is just as a mechanism to upload to their service. To be fair, this is a lot easier for an end user to deal with than something like FTP, SFTP, and especially git.


Nothing is more easier than just drag n' drop few files into a folder.

There are tons of static-generators in Ruby/Python/Nodejs/whatever, but none has the simplicity of Dropbox publishing.

Think of it, dropbox as a versioned storage for Markdown source files, third party platform to publish full-fledged rendered HTML with analytics, sitemap, feeds, mobile views, pdf/json/xml formats, etc. This is how should cloud platforms work.

Need collaboration or external contributors? Just invite your friends on Dropbox!

In theory, gvfs with FTP is that convenient. The problem is that it's a little, shall we say... "quirky".

You can't gvfs in iOS/Android/Windows/OS X

And FTP port is not as ubiquitous as 80/443

Your FTP server availability is always worse than Dropbox's EC2 cloud.

FTP has account/mask/chmod/filename encoding problems

You have to backup your data on server and resolve file name conflicts in some odd way.

The list goes on.

Great idea and awesome landing page -- sat through the introductory video and was really impressed with the simplicity and ease of the idea.

Also - would you like to say anything about PHP/scripting support? I saw some PHP files in the folder that was copied during the demo vid, was wondering about support for that

Given that they said they are pushing your files to their servers for load balancing, they will mostly likely add support for dynamic stuff.

That confused me too, especially since right under the video, the third header says "Just HTML and CSS".

Surely Dropbox itself will offer metered web hosting from DB folders soon enough. Google Drive already touts itself as a web host, despite not publishing official limits.

Indeed. Amazon S3 has had this capability for some time.

Maybe Dropbox will just acquire the one that becomes most popular? Let the market pick a winner, then buy it!

So there are a handful of other services doing this same basic concept (see other comment), and none of them seem to have a story about how this scales past a single developer: sure, you can share the Dropbox folder and all work in the same place, but on something like a website with common CSS files and other centralized assets it seems like that would rapidly become unmanageable.

I think the market for these types of services is not multi-person dev teams. Instead, this is for your solo freelancer who doesn't want to deal with the hassle of hosting and where git is overkill.

Shameless plug: Solving high-quality web site production (for a multi-person dev team, including non-developer personas such as designers, content writers, reviewers, translators, etc.) is actually part of a new project I'm working on (http://grow.io). If you (or any other reader) has an immediate need for this type of product/app, I'd love to talk to you to learn more about your requirements (and share more about my project).

My problem might only be my current company, but large scale systems development tools are a mess. There isn't a better method than Office to track large sets of requirements, timing, and assets for a good view of project status.

I guess what I'm saying is I wish someone tackled the organizational issue for product management of large systems in my domain (encompasses software, hardware, mechanical) other than IBM.

Does anyone know what API call they are using to create the auto-sync relationship?

From my review of the Dropbox API they seem to support this push in their iOS and Android SDKs but for web-based SDK it appears you can only poll their API for changes. But clearly there's an event-based push going on here. Any thoughts?

So, it saves you the extra click to upload via SFTP? I really am not sure I get the point. Are they targeting people who are confused and befuddled by normal file synchronization?

That's not very convenient, even for power users. My blog runs on a custom CMS I wrote, yet it was enough of a pain that I eventually added Dropbox integration. This setup has the added advantage that all the state is always in Dropbox, backed up, and I can set up as many read-only mirrors that autosync as I want:



just mount an ssh folder on your local machine...

This is a dynamic CMS, the content is markdown files, and it's hosted on GAE. Plus, I don't like the latency SSH has when saving.

ie: the majority of computer users?

Seriously: the only reason Dropbox exists and is wildly successful is that "normal file synchronization" is such a pain, even for us hackers, let alone mere mortals.

There's a reason that you see Dropbox peeking out of the system tray of so many business professionals and other non-techies. Why not piggyback off that success?

Simplicity is the key to Dropbox. Their MO is to reduce the number of answers a user needs to know. This is a (rather fantastic) evolution of that.

What confuses me is why it is so expensive? The ones I've seen go from 5$ to 10$ a month while for a little more than $3 I could have mutualized hosting from OVH or any other host. Hell, I could probably have it preinstalled with a CMS and it would require even less work. Is the dropbox sync worth that much, or is there some benefit I am not seeing?

I'm totally confused (once again something on HN makes me feel like an idiot). Doesn't Dropbox already give everyone free hosting? Dropbox has been hosting my website, on their dime, for quite a while already (http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41075/brentnoorda/index.h...). So, um... What?

Just a quick heads up using Dropbox as web hosting - Google and the rest won't ever index your site as the domain has a deny-all robots.txt


I hadn't thought about the indexing problem. So I moved all my pages to github.io, which google does index. Thanks.

Presumably this service serves the site at the root of your own domain, rather than on an untypeable Dropbox URL.

> Brace is the new way to host websites

This website needs to get over itself before I'll pay any attention to it.

You were this offended by a cheap little marketing quote? What do you suggest?

Brace is kinda like 50~ other services, we just have a nice UI and are easier to understand. Check it out!

No, not offended. I just assumed there was pomposity involved in the decision to use this quote.

Anyone has any experience reaching quota limits on Dropbox, GH-Pages etc? Would you feel comfortable hosting a very high traffic site (or even a smaller site that gets Reddited occasionally) there?

Looks like they don't host it on dropbox. They use dropbox like an FTP replacement.

got it. thanks!

Can't you do the same thing with Github pages?

Yes, you can. The thing is that Github is still intimidating for a lot of people. They can use this as a simpler alternative.

If someone put a simple UI in front of github pages, I think they'd have a winner...

It's been something like 2 years of me saying that. I even considered starting my own github competitor just do have this single feature as a difference... but somehow I feel it wouldn't be enough for people to switch.

I don't think you could get people to switch. But if you build a familiar UI, that publishes to github, I'd use it.

Why would I use this and not GitHub Pages?

Not everyone is familiar with/wants to set up git or github for mac. Remember that git users are a tiny minority among those who have or want a static site.

Not sure what the advantage of this is. I guess just simplicity and easy DNS setup?

The value add on this doesn't seem very high... it can be useful in limited circumstances.

I agree.

Scenarios where you need extremely simplified website access are unlikely to be those where you need well distributed hosting.

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