Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Pancake.io Provides an Even Simpler Web Site Based on a Dropbox Folder

2011-11-29 SNAG-00Pancake.io is a web service that allows one of your Dropbox folders to become a web site capable of showing a collection of files that automatically display as public web pages. I thank colleague @PetaHopkins for the heads-up.

Back in March this year I posted about DropPages.com, a way to turn a Dropbox folder into a web site. My test site at mrees.droppages.com still works well. A free DropPages account gives you a URL and allows the download of a set of files giving you a fairly sophisticated web site with templates and styles. Straightforward but not easy.

Pancake is much, much simpler. Get your free account at Pancake.io and grant it access permission to create the Pancake.io folder in your Dropbox files. Then just add files to your Dropbox folder, and each will be served as web page. Supported files are:

Text (.txt)
Markdown (.md)
JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg)
PNG (.png)
GIF (.gif)
PDF (.pdf)
Word (.doc, .docx)
Excel (.xls, .xlsx)
Powerpoint (.ppt, .pptx)

Find the URL for each page in your Pancake.io dashboard. I created the home.txt file and its URL as at http://pancake.io/823a85/home. I put a small PDF file of slides in the same folder. The text files can be edited on the Pancake.io site or, of course, with any text editor from all machines with access to your Dropbox files. I added the script provided to embed the list of files in the home.txt file. Simple and impressive.

The downsides are an obscure web site address, but you can use a URL shortener, and Pancake hint at using your own domain soon. Our old friend Markdown syntax is also present again as all text files go though the Markdown filter. Fortunately if the text content looks like HTML then it is rendered correctly.