Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Powered by Drop.io // Sharing pictures, files and more with a handy online service

Published by Mr. C

The Sidepodcast blog runs atop the content management system, WordPress. When we first set up the site in 2006, WordPress allowed us to get up and running very quickly with a minimum of fuss, but it hasn't done a very good job of keeping up with our needs. Specifically the platform has fallen behind when it comes to the area of commenting, and sharing pretty much anything that isn't text is a problem.

Know your limits

The two of us realised there were limitations about 12 months ago, but it wasn't until last May that we discovered a service called Drop.io, which amongst other things, offers a very simple way to share multimedia files. The first mention of said service, came way back in May 2008, and we've been making good use of it ever since.

If you're a Sidepodcast regular, you've probably noticed the changes we've been introducing to real-time commenting of late, and over the past few days, the last major piece of the puzzle was introduced. It's now possible to share images with other Sidepodcast readers directly from the comment box.

Sidepodcast real-time screenshot

Thanks to the wonders of the Drop.io API, and in conjunction with the uber-fast caching services provided by Google App Engine, we think we've found the best means of sharing images with the minimum of hassle.

If you've never tried it before, jump on over to real-time commenting, reply to a comment, select the share image option and upload one of your own images from your desktop.

Because embedding a large number of images into a page tends to slow mobile browsing to a crawl, any upload will return a link to the original file, but selecting the link will display the image full screen within the real-time environment. Hopefully this offers the best compromise of speed and flexibility for all users on every platform, while enabling better and more interactive commenting.

We're not done yet

It's worth pointing out that all of the above is still effectively in beta, and it's not yet perfect. We've also restricted uploads to be solely of the image variety, but in future that will likely expand to encompass audio, video, spreadsheets and more. There are also limitations related to mobile uploads which we plan to tackle in the future.

Big thanks go to the people at Drop.io for providing such a fantastic platform to build upon, as well as to everyone in the comments for providing brilliant feedback and direction. We have more plans in the pipeline to improve commenting further in the future, and we'll keep you posted as they come closer to reality.