Of the many reasons behind Dropbox’s popularity, its desktop client is possibly one of the more obvious ones. It simplifies uploading files and makes it so much easier to work on an item on your desktop, and still be able to save the changes directly to your cloud drive. For users who just can’t be bothered with uploading a file using the web interface of a service, Dropbox is a welcome solution. A while back, the little Dropbox folder on your system would have been the most amazing thing ever, but now, many services (like Google Drive) have created similar desktop clients, some even better than the former. Granted Dropbox’s desktop folder that syncs is still impressive, but in an OS like Mac, where users are accustomed to making better use of the Menu Bar, it sometimes feels like adding files to Dropbox is a bit of a drag (no pun intended). Droplings is a free Mac app that lends better functionality to your Public Dropbox folder by way of the Menu Bar. Files that you drag & drop on to this app’s icon are automatically added to your Public folder, and you can easily retrieve the public link.
Droplings takes nothing more than a drag & drop gesture to use, but setting it up will probably take a minute or two. Open the Dropbox website, sign in and visit your public folder. Right-click any file in the Public folder and select Copy public link. A small popup will open with a link, which should look something like in the screenshot below (blurred slightly, as it can identify an account).
The number after http://dl.dropbox.com/u/ is your Dropbox ID. Copy this number only and paste it in the Dropbox ID field in Droplings’ preferences. If you visit the Themes tab, you can specify your own theme for the preview page. The developer’s website has instructions for creating your own theme.
To add files to your public folder, drag & drop them onto the Droplings icon (a water drop) in the Menu Bar. The icon will turn blue and your Dropbox will begin syncing as the file uploads. Once the file has been uploaded (you will know when your Dropbox folder is no longer syncing, as indicated by the Menu Bar icon), the Droplings’ icon will turn grey again. Right click it, and the file you just uploaded will be listed there.
Clicking the file will copy its short URL that you can paste in your browser to preview the file. If you hold down the Shift key and click the file, its direct URL will be copied to the clipboard, and you can paste it anywhere you like. Holding down the Control key and clicking a file will open it in Finder.
The utility of this app, to a great extent, depends on how often you upload and share files from your Public folder in Dropbox. While it would be nice to have this same functionality for other folders in Dropbox, it is, no doubt, limited by technical constraints. Other than the preferences window, the app does not have an interface to speak of, and is unobtrusive for the most part. As per the developer, the app was created so that users who need to, can customize the page a file is previewed in. No matter which of the two uses you put it to, its usefulness doesn’t diminish.