Source control using Dropbox

Everyone developer should use some form of source control. It’s like an unwritten law, if you don’t use it, then you should - as long as it isn’t sourcesafe.

A few weeks ago, I recently managed to get hold of an invite to Dropbox, which describes itself as “Secure back up, sync and sharing made easy”. I’ve been using it both as a basic form of source control, and because I always tend to forget my usb pendrive, as a portable storage device.

The great thing about Dropbox is that you get 2gb of free storage. So far, I’ve sync’d a few photo’s, some word documents and pdf’s and the Java source for my Project Euler code, and according to the Dropbox client on my laptop, I’ve used 0.1% of 2gb. This is more than enough for me, and more than likely I’ll use it for some more coding projects. I’d like to see how a Visual Studio project takes to being sync’d across different computers.

With Dropbox, you get complete file history, so if you mistakenly remove some code that turns out to be pretty vital… you can get it back using the simple to use web interface. While you can share folders, and allow people to modify shared folders, I’m not too sure that it would work too well for collaborative software development. I think it would be far better to get a proper form of source control running on a server both parties have access to. There are plenty of proper source control providers out there with free options, and I am considering moving my code onto one of those, if I can find one that has a reasonable yearly subscription.

For my current requirements, it suits me just fine. I realise that Dropbox is not intended to be a source control system, however… When the client is able to sync specific folders that you tell it to, it will be perfect.

Written by Stuart on 
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