Dropzone Custom Action Development Program

June 21st, 2016

custom-actionsdev
 

Do you need Dropzone to do something a bit more specialised? Maybe you have a great idea for a Dropzone action but you don’t have the time or skills to code it. Maybe it’s some repetitive task you find yourself doing over and over on your Mac, and you’re sure it could be automated but you’re not sure exactly how.

Over many years of developing Dropzone I’ve found that users often need it to do something a bit more custom and I’m not able to accomodate their request because what they want is too specialised and the majority of users wouldn’t benefit from me implementing it.

So I’ve decided to try charging a small fee to develop actions that are more specialised. This way you get your custom action developed and I’m not so concerned if the action isn’t useful for all users, because I can use the extra income to supplement my income from selling the app. Everybody wins.

To begin with, The price will be $200USD to develop a custom Dropzone action according to your spec, with a delivery time of 1 week. If the demand is there and I get a lot of people paying for actions then this price may increase. I’m excited to finally be able to tackle some of the more advanced uses that people have for Dropzone.

I’ve created a dedicated page to explain the process to get a custom action for Dropzone developed here. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below or drop me an email.

YouTube Downloader action released

June 7th, 2016

yt-download

Today I’m excited to show off a new Dropzone action I’ve been working on. This action is something I’ve wanted to make for Dropzone for a long time but all the right pieces weren’t quite there until now. The final missing piece was that the Dropzone API now supports Python and the youtube-dl project is written in Python so it became possible to combine the two. What results is a Dropzone action that lets you quickly and easily download videos for offline use from dozens of sites.

I’ve made a quick video to show how to use it:

You can find a full list of video sharing sites supported by the action here.

I hope you find it useful and let me know if you have any feedback in the comments below. You can can install the action from this page.
Note that it requires the non-Mac App Store version of Dropzone.

Dropzone 3.6 Released

May 26th, 2016

Dropzone3.6

Dropzone 3.6 has been released and is now available from our website and via the Mac App Store.
This update is free to all existing Dropzone 3 customers. You should be updated to this version automatically or you can force the update by going into the Updates tab in the Dropzone settings and clicking the ‘Check Now’ button.

I’ve covered what’s new in this version in detail below:

The Overlay

In this version, the way you activate Dropzone when dragging files has changed slightly. In earlier versions of Dropzone you would activate Dropzone by dragging files directly to the top of the screen. However, since OS X 10.11, Apple have made it so dragging a file to the top of the screen opens mission control – presumably so you can drag files onto a different space or fullscreen app. Unfortunately this conflicted with Dropzone so the mechanism Dropzone uses had to be changed.

In Dropzone 3.6, when you start dragging a file you’ll see an overlay appear under the Dropzone menu item and you can drag a file onto this overlay to open the Dropzone grid. This overlay has the added benefit of reminding you that Dropzone is an option when dragging a file.

overlay

The overlay has been somewhat controversial with half of customers loving it and the other half hating it. If you fall into the latter camp then there’s a hidden preference so you can disable it. If you disable it then you can instead open the grid by dragging items onto the Dropzone menu item. The downside of disabling is that the menu item provides a much smaller dragging target and is harder to hit.

In a future version of Dropzone I’m most likely going to provide a UI for this option in the Preferences and also add another option so that you can re-enable the old method of dragging to the top of the screen. This option can still work, although it’s quite easy to drag too far upwards and accidentally activate mission control.

If you prefer, you can disable the overlay opening a Terminal and copy pasting the following command:

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.aptonic.Dropzone3.plist ScreenTopDragEnabled -bool false

That command will work for the non-Mac App Store version only, for the Mac App Store version the command is below:

defaults write ~/Library/Containers/com.aptonic.Dropzone3/Data/Library/Preferences/com.aptonic.Dropzone3.plist ScreenTopDragEnabled -bool false

Just change the false at the end of the command to true to re-enable it.

Locking Items in Drop Bar

Also new in this version is the option to lock items in Drop Bar so that a reference to the files remain in Drop Bar even after dragging elsewhere. This was an often requested feature – a common situation where this is useful is if you have a file that you need to regularly use like for attaching to an email. After you lock an item in Drop Bar you can just open the Dropzone grid and drag the file out whenever you need it.

lock

locked

To lock items in Drop Bar, just right click on a stack in Drop Bar and choose ‘Lock Item’ from the popup menu as shown above. To unlock, right click and choose ‘Unlock Item’

Adding Items to Drop Bar via the API

Also new in this version is the ability to add files to Drop Bar using the Dropzone Ruby or Python API. This would be useful for an action that produces a file result, it could then place that file in Drop Bar for dragging elsewhere. The API documentation has been updated with information about how to do this here.

Dropzone 3 Introductory Screencast

I’ve made a short introductory video where I go over the basics of how to use Dropzone. It’s well worth watching even if you’ve used Dropzone before as it shows several features that you most likely won’t be aware of. This is embedded for your viewing pleasure below:

Updated Actions Page

The page you goto to install Dropzone actions has had a major facelift. You can check out the updated page here.

actions-list

Hope you like the update. As always if you have feedback or questions you can leave a comment below, email us. Or post on our forums.

Dropzone 3.6 Detailed Release Notes

New Features

  • New improved dragging system for opening the Dropzone grid
  • You can now lock items in Drop Bar so they don’t get removed when dragging out
  • You can now add items to Drop Bar via the Ruby/Python API using the dz.add_dropbar(file_paths) API call
  • Updated all app fonts for El Capitan

Bug Fixes

  • Updated Sparkle to 1.13
  • Updated all bundled ruby gems
  • Made new screen top drag area work with menu bar hiding enabled
  • Updated Shorten URL action to work with latest Google API gem
  • Fixed some dual monitor bugs with new screen top drag area
  • Fixed issue where Shorten URL action was failing under OS X 10.10
  • Fixed issue where new screen top drag area showed when dragging layers in Photoshop CC
  • Fixed issue where saving to keychain could fail
  • Fixed issue where task progress bars could display incorrectly
  • Fixed issue where grid could show actions incorrectly greyed out after dragging one Drop Bar stack on top of another Drop Bar stack
  • Fixed two reported crashes related to Drop Bar

Dropzone 3.5 Launched

August 26th, 2015

Dropzone 3.5

After 8 months of intense development, I’m thrilled to announce that Dropzone 3.5 is finally here. This is a major update that takes the app to an entirely new level. The update has just been approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store and also via to in-app upgrade mechanism for non-Mac App Store users. You should be notified of the update automatically shortly or you can force the update from the Updates tab in the Mac App Store app or by going into the Updates tab in the Dropzone settings and clicking the ‘Check Now’ button if you’re using the non-Mac App Store version.

If you’re a first time customer then Dropzone is 50% off (only 5 USD) for a limited time to celebrate the launch of the update so grab it now.

I’m excited to explain some of the new features in this update. But first, here’s a quick promo ad that shows off the new support for keyboard shortcuts:

User Interface Update

The new version has a brand new icon (shown at the top of this post) that fits in better with the current flat OS X design language.

The user interface has been redesigned with the fonts, action icons and dividers updated. Also a toolbar has been added at the top of the grid. Here’s how Dropzone 3.5 looks:

3.5-grid

In the toolbar are the buttons for adding actions, and a new button for opening and closing Drop Bar:

You can either click the button as shown in the video above or drag files onto the button to expand the Drop Bar/Add to Grid area. This allows you to keep this area of the grid hidden to save space if you’re not currently using Drop Bar.

Available Actions Highlighting

After you upgrade to Dropzone 3.5 you may find that certain actions in your grid are greyed out as shown in the screenshot below:

3.5-grid

This is due to a change to the way action events and dragging types are handled. When you click to open the grid, only actions that support click events will be highlighted. In the screenshot above the disabled actions only support having items dragged onto them, so they are greyed out unless you actually indicate a drag by dragging files to the top of the screen or onto the Dropzone menu item. Also, when you drag a particular type (text or files) then only actions that can handle that type will be highlighted:

Dropzone 3.5 Drag Text

This makes it easier to see at a glance which actions are relevant to the current event (a click or a drag) or content type (files or text).

Keyboard Shortcuts

You can now launch actions using the keyboard. This makes it faster than ever to use your actions. One way you can use this is to open a folder you use often, for example if I want to open my Downloads folder I can simply press F3 to open the Dropzone grid and then press ‘D’ since that’s the key I have assigned to my Downloads action. The shortcut keys are shown overlaid on your actions as shown in the screenshot below:

keyboard-shortcuts

When you upgrade to Dropzone 3.5 all your actions will be assigned shortcut keys automatically, but you can change the key assigned to an action by right clicking on an action, choosing Edit from the menu and then editing the Services Key field:

services-key

Also – one secret hidden trick. You can change the position of the letters overlaid on the action icons as follows:

Open Terminal.app and enter the following:

defaults write com.aptonic.Dropzone3 ServiceKeyOverlaysPosition -int <number>

Where the <number> is the position on the icon as follows:

overlays

So for example the below line would change the position of the overlays to the top left:

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.aptonic.Dropzone3 ServiceKeyOverlaysPosition -int 1

To reset back to center:

defaults delete ~/Library/Preferences/com.aptonic.Dropzone3 ServiceKeyOverlaysPosition

OS X Service Integration

You can now perform Dropzone actions on files and text using only the keyboard. This can be used as an alternative to dragging files or text onto the grid. This is implemented using a new system wide OS X ‘Run Dropzone Action’ service. To run a Dropzone action on a particular file or files, select the files in the Finder and use the default Dropzone services shortcut which is Ctrl+Option+Cmd+D. You can also activate the service from the menu as shown in the screenshot below:

service-integration

This will cause the Dropzone grid to popup and ask which action you’d like to use with the selected items. You can then hit the key shown in the overlay for the service you want:

services-grid

You can also use the OS X service integration to run a Dropzone action on some text. To do this you can select some text in an app such as Safari and then press the Ctrl+Option+Cmd+D shortcut (or right click on the selected text and choose ‘Run Dropzone Action’ from the right click Services menu). This will open the Dropzone grid and any grid actions that can handle text will be shown highlighted in the grid. For example, you could select some text and then have it read aloud using the optionally installed Say Text action.

Built in Goo.gl URL Shortening

Dropzone now allows you to shorten URLs using a dedicated OS X service shortcut. Simply select some text that is a URL in any app and press Ctrl+Option+Cmd+S. You can also right click on some text and choose ‘Shorten URL’ from the Services menu as shown in the screenshot below. URLs are shortened using the free Goo.gl URL shortening service and the resulting short URL is placed on the clipboard.

shorten-url

If you want to keep track of shortened URLs using the Goo.gl web interface with your Google account then you should add a Shorten URL action to your grid by clicking the white plus icon in the top left of the grid and choosing the ‘Shorten URL’ action. This will show the below window:

shorten-authorize

You should click the Authorize button to link your Google account with Dropzone. After doing this the Shorten URL service will add shortened URLs with your Google account and you can track URLs and visits etc. using the Goo.gl shortener interface at Goo.gl.

Write Dropzone actions in Python

python-logo

You can now develop actions for Dropzone using Python as well as Ruby. This should make the Dropzone API accessible to more developers and result in more actions being developed.

To start developing an action in Python, choose ‘Develop Action…’ from the add action menu and select Python as the language from the ‘Language’ dropdown as shown below:

develop-python

Full details on the Python support and API are available in the API documentation.

Preliminary El Capitan (OS X 10.11) Support

elcap

Dropzone 3.5 has been tested under the latest El Capitan beta and the most pressing issues have been fixed. There are no major problems currently, and the 3.5 update will run fine under it. I will continue to address bugs and issues with the developer betas as they arise.

Improved Performance and Stability

A big focus of this release has been reducing the number of bugs and crashes and also reducing CPU footprint. There were also some issues that could cause the app to hang if there were network volumes added to the grid and these have now been addressed.

Dropzone 3.5 Detailed Release Notes

New Features

– Redesigned user interface
– New application icon
– OS X service integration
– You can now run actions using the keyboard (select a file and hit Ctrl+Option+Cmd+D) or press F3
– Goo.gl URL shortening now included (select a URL and hit Ctrl+Option+Cmd+S)
– You can now hide the Add to Grid and Drop Bar special actions
– Python is now supported for writing actions
– Clicking AirDrop action now opens AirDrop in Finder
– Status item has been shrunk smaller as you can now drag files to the top of screen
– Transitioned grid fonts from Lucida Grande to Helvetica Neue to fit Yosemite better
– Pressing escape key now closes grid
– Added support for dragging photos from the new Photos app onto Dropzone
– You can now add more than 50 actions to the grid
– Added option in Develop Action window to turn off introductory comments
– Added new PythonPath metadata field to specify alternative Python version for actions if needed
– Actions that don’t support the current event or dragged type are now shown greyed out in the grid

Bug Fixes

– Fixed issue where Dropzone could use excessive CPU when idle
– Fixed bug where dragged text onto actions containing double quotes were escaped unnecessarily
– Fixed issue where folders with a dot in the name were being truncated
– Fixed bug where the ChooseFolder and ChooseApplications OptionsNIBs would ignore the SkipConfig metadata field and force you to select a folder
– Fixed issue where proxy environment variables were not set correctly
– Fixed issue where Dropzone would sometimes hang during launch
– Fixed bug in Amazon S3 action where mime type was not being set correctly
– Fixed incorrect sizing of ‘Check for Action Update’ button when editing an action
– Changed position of ‘Remove’ in right click menu to reduce change of accidentally deleting an action
– Fixed bug where files were moved to trash when dragging from TextWrangler onto Dropzone
– Added warning not to include ‘ftp://’ at the start of server field in FTP action
– Any actions with outdated action icons are now updated during upgrade to this version
– Fixed hangs that could occur when adding network volumes to the Dropzone grid
– Fixed issue where Ctrl+Clicking on actions didn’t open right-click menu
– Fixed issue where Imgur action would not authorise correctly when using a Google account
– Fixed issue where downloaded actions with a browser added filename suffix would fail to install

Dropzone 3 featured in the Mac App Store Get Productive sale

January 31st, 2015

60percent-sale

For a limited time, you can grab Dropzone 3 for only 2 USD (60% off) as Dropzone is being featured by Apple on the Mac App Store as part of the Get Productive sale. Don’t miss out. Click here to buy Dropzone 3 on the Mac App Store.

Also, here are a few of my other favourite apps also participating in the sale (all at least 50% off):

  • MindNode Pro – I love this app, I used in the early stages of planning for Dropzone 3.
  • Clear – This is my goto app for shopping lists and TODO lists. The iOS version is also currently on sale. A beautifully designed app.
  • Byword – A fantastic Markdown writing app.

Grab Dropzone 3 and these other great apps before the sale ends.

Dropzone 3.2.3 Released and a New Feature Demo

October 31st, 2014

Here at Aptonic I’ve been busy getting Dropzone 3 working well under Yosemite and making sure all the actions are working correctly. A big update has just been released (version 3.2.3) via Sparkle for the non-Mac App Store version. The update has also been submitted for Mac App Store review and will be available for update on the Mac App Store shortly. Yosemite is now fully supported in this version.

There’s also a great new feature added in Dropzone 3.2.3 that allows you to open the Dropzone grid by dragging files to the top of the screen. This is huge usability win – I’ve made a short video to show you:

Another feature new in Dropzone 3.2.3 is support for Yosemite dark mode. If you haven’t tried dark mode, you can activate it in the System Preferences in the general tab as shown below:

enable-dark-mode

sta479rd-mode dark-mode
Standard Yosemite Dark Mode

If you’re using the Mac App Store version and want to update now you can switch to the non-Mac App Store version by downloading it from here and moving it to your applications folder replacing your existing App Store version. When you run it, it will detect you purchased already on the Mac App Store and register you automatically. Full details on this process are given here. Note that you have to run the Mac App Store version at least once first for this transition to work.

Here’s the full release notes for Dropzone 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. The Mac App Store version will combine both these updates.

Updates in Dropzone 3.2.2

  • OS X Yosemite now fully supported
  • Added Yosemite dark mode
  • You can now drag files or text to the top of the screen to open the Dropzone grid
  • Updated Amazon S3 action to use the official aws-sdk gem, support uploading of multiple files and work under Yosemite
  • Bundled fog, excon, aws-sdk and other gems
  • Fixed bug where ‘Updates Installed Successfully’ alert would show before action updates finished installing
  • Added video to splash screen showing grid activation by dragging to top of screen
  • Added warning that actions that depend on Ruby 2 cannot work under OS X 10.8
  • Added app_version task variable with the current Dropzone version
  • Fixed bug where calling $dz.error still showed success in status item
  • Fixed bug where action config window popped up if SkipValidation: Yes metadata field was set and fields were left blank
  • Fixed bug where leaving a field blank on a SkipValidation: Yes action caused keychain errors
  • Fixed bug where AuthScope, SkipValidation and RubyPath metadata fields were not copied when doing Copy & Edit on an action
  • Fixed rare bug in rsync lib where dragging files with unicode names from Safari could cause breakage
  • Fixed bug where add action alerts displayed behind add action popup menu

Updates in Dropzone 3.2.3

  • Fixed bug where ‘Update Installed Successfully’ alert showed after installing an action and then editing it
  • Fixed bug in FTP action where holding option to zip files before upload failed under Yosemite
  • Fixed issue where some Preferences button text was being cut off under Yosemite
  • Fixed bug where drawing artifacts showed underneath the grid under Yosemite
  • Fixed bug where grid showed in incorrect position after resuming from sleep under Yosemite
  • Improved $dz.inputbox API method
  • Updated FastSpring payments SDK
  • Fixed issue where FastSpring WebView showed lines through the view when scrolling
  • Made User Actions preferences panel taller if you have more than 6 actions added
  • Fixed bug where the status item would become highlighted when moving the mouse between screens under Yosemite
  • Fixed some OAuth flow issues with the Imgur action
  • Updated Imgur and Save text action to use $dz.inputbox method
  • Bundled rest-client and httparty gems

New Dropzone 3 actions released

September 18th, 2014

Wanted to let you know about some new actions and action updates released recently for Dropzone 3.

Google Drive

icon

You can easily upload files to your Google Drive account by dragging them onto this action. Simply drop the file or files you want to upload onto the action and then choose which folder in your Google Drive you want to put the files in. Major thanks to Alexandru Chirițescu for his hard work developing this action.

You can install this action from here.
Note that this action requires a minimum of Dropzone version 3.2.1 to work, for more info on this see the note at the end of this blog post.

Google Image Search

icon

The idea for this action came from a customer on the Aptonic forums. You can drop and image on it and then it shows the Google Image search results for that image in your browser. You can also drop multiple files on it and the search results will open in separate tabs.

You can install this action from here.

Send iMessage With Attachment to Phone Number

icon

This one was another great idea from a customer. The use case was a father who wanted to send pictures regularly of his son to a particular phone number (his grandparents) using iMessage. After you add this action to your grid, drag a file onto it and it will prompt you for the phone number (which is then saved) – you can also have multiple instances of the action with different phone numbers and you can send multiple files with it at once.

You can install this action from here.

Zip Files

icon

This was a popular action in Dropzone 2 and its now been updated for Dropzone 3. When you add it to your grid you’ll be asked which folder you want the zip archives placed. You can then drop files or folders onto it and they will be zipped.

You can install this action from here.
Note that this action requires a minimum of Dropzone version 3.2.1 to work, for more info on this see the note at the end of this blog post.

Say Text

icon

This is a really simple but handy action. You drop text on it and it reads it aloud to you using the system voice.

You can install this action from here.

Print (Updated and Improved)

icon

This action has always been a bit troublesome. At the start I developed it to be a really quick and dirty way to print a file and it originally only supported printing image and PDF files but many people requested support for more file formats (Especially MS Office docs). I originally did a bit of a hack to make Word/Excel/PPT docs print – they used to be rendered by capturing and printing the QuickLook preview so the formatting tended to be pretty terrible. I’ve now updated this action to actually open the appropriate MS Office app (such as MS Word), tell it to print using AppleScript and then close. This seems to be working better.

You can install this action from here.

Dropzone 3.2.1 Note

Due to recent API improvements the Google Drive and Zip Files actions require a minimum of Dropzone version 3.2.1 to work. The non-Mac App Store version of Dropzone 3.2.1 has already been released and the Mac App Store version will be updated to 3.2.1 soon. If you’re using the Mac App Store version and want to get the 3.2.1 update now you can switch to the non-Mac App Store version by downloading it from here and moving it to your applications folder replacing your existing App Store version. When you run it, it will detect you purchased already on the Mac App Store and register you automatically. Full details on this process are given here. Note that you have to run the Mac App Store version at least once first for this transition to work.

TwitPic Action Removed

Twitpic will be shutting down September 25th so the TwitPic action has been removed from the main actions list and will no longer work after this date. Fortunately there are many other alternatives such as the built in Imgur action Dropzone 3 ships with or the ImageShack action.

If you have feedback on the new actions or have an idea for a great action, let us know in the comments below!

Dropzone 3 Updates

September 10th, 2014

dropzone3-updates

Time for some news and updates regarding Dropzone 3.

The launch was a great success. Apple featured the app on the front page of the Mac App Store in the ‘Best New Apps’ category and Dropzone made it to the #1 paid app in the productivity category. I’m also super thrilled that you’ve given Dropzone 3 a perfect five star rating on the Mac App Store. Thanks so much for your incredible support!

awesome

Meanwhile, I have been coding non-stop and have already released several big maintenance updates to Dropzone 3. The latest version is Dropzone 3.2.1 and it is being released right now as a Sparkle update if you use the non-Mac App Store version. The Mac App Store version of Dropzone is currently still 3.2.0. Version 3.2.1 will be released on the App Store in the next week or two after App Store approval. You can update from the Updates tab in the Dropzone 3 preferences if you’re running the non-Mac App Store version.

If you’re using the Mac App Store version and want to get the 3.2.1 update now you can switch to the non-Mac App Store version by downloading it from here and moving it to your applications folder replacing your existing App Store version. When you run it, it will detect you purchased already on the Mac App Store and register you automatically. Full details on this process are given here. Note that you have to run the Mac App Store version at least once first for this transition to work.

As well as many general fixes, Dropzone 3.2.x adds preliminary Yosemite support. There are still a few Yosemite related bugs, but I’m working through them and expect to have Yosemite fully supported on time for its release.

yosemite

I will also be announcing some new actions for Dropzone later this week.
Full release notes for 3.2.1 and 3.2.0 are provided below:
 
Updates in Dropzone 3.2.1

  • Added RubyPath action metadata field so you can bring your own ruby
  • ActionFile metadata field values now get trimmed of whitespace during parsing
  • Fixed rare issue where grid did not animate opening the grid correctly
  • Fixed issue where the copy action would move instead of copy if destination was on external drive
  • Added new $dz.inputbox API method
  • Added new $dz.read_clipboard API method to get contents of clipboard
  • Added a SkipValidation metadata field to make OptionsNIB fields optional
  • Fixed issue where rsync lib would call $dz.begin with the same message multiple times
  • Fixed issue where the Save Text action would not work with certain filenames or folder names
  • Made the MinimumVersion metadata field work
  • Made the CurlUploader library more flexible
  • Made $dz.finish optional
  • Now shows unzipping progress when installing a zipped action bundle
  • Fixed a memory leak when tasks were run
  • Added a field to specify the Amazon S3 server endpoint
  • Added a GoogleAuth OptionsNIB
  • Added a Follow on Twitter and mailing list subscribe to the splash screen

Updates in Dropzone 3.2.0

  • Preliminary OS X 10.10 support
  • Fixed issue where where going to full screen app caused dragging to menu item to stop working under 10.8
  • Made dragging items to the menu item smoother and more reliable
  • Fixed issue where hyphens were not being allowed in S3 bucket names
  • Fixed crash when copying an action and having an empty name, creator URL or description
  • Added back Install Application OptionsNIB
  • You can now use the option key in toggle grid shortcut
  • Made it so ENV[‘path’] gets set in user actions as well as ENV[‘EXTRA_PATH’]
  • Fixed issue where upload URL was not being quoted properly in curl_uploader.rb lib
  • Now sets http_proxy and https_proxy when running tasks so command line tools such as curl will use proxy if required

On the wall at Aptonic

August 31st, 2014

One of my friends runs a picture framing business in Christchurch and they just framed this nice poster for Dropzone 3. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

If you need something framed be sure to check them out.

Dropzone-3-framed

Dropzone 3 Launched

July 1st, 2014

dropzone3

Today I’m thrilled to announce the launch of Dropzone 3. This is an update two years in the making and is the biggest update to Dropzone ever.
If you haven’t already, you should first checkout the brand new website and watch the launch video. After that, come back here for a more detailed overview of what’s new.

Redesigned Grid

First of all, the grid has been totally redesigned. As you can see below, it has been split up into 4 different sections. There’s now a FOLDERS / APPS section an ACTIONS section and a TASK PROGRESS section as well as Add to Grid and Drop Bar at the top.

Dropzone-Hero2

Adding actions to the grid is now much faster and easier. You can simply drag a folder, app or action onto the ‘Add to Grid’ area or use the new quick menu which you access by clicking on the white plus in the top left of the grid:

add-actions

Updated Preferences

The preferences have been simplified. If you’re a Dropzone 2 user, you will notice that the ‘Destinations’ tab has gone. This is because adding, removing editing and rearranging actions is all now done directly in the grid. A new ‘Toggle grid’ shortcut key as been added. This can be used system wide to open and close the grid and is especially useful when you need to drag to the grid from a fullscreen app where the menu bar is hidden.

preferences

user-actions

A new ‘User Actions’ tab has been added. This shows the actions that you currently have installed. If you want to create your own modified action based on an existing action you can click the ‘Copy & Edit’ button. You can also delete actions you’re no longer using and reveal an action dzbundle folder in the Finder. Reveal can be useful if you want to make a copy of the dzbundle for distribution or if you want to modify an action bundle directly. There’s also a new ‘Check for Updates’ button in the bottom left, clicking this does a check to see if there are any newer versions of your actions available to install. Dropzone can now download and install the updated versions for you automatically. Note that auto-updating of actions is currently not available in the Mac App Store version due to app store rules.

The updates tab is for controlling sparkle updater preferences and in the license tab you can register with your serial number or purchase a license for Dropzone 3. Note that the Updates and License tab are not shown in the app store version of the app as updates and licensing are managed through the app store.

Quick Install Actions

The currently available actions for Dropzone 3 can be installed from https://aptonic.com/dropzone3/actions

In Dropzone 2, you had to download and install actions manually but in Dropzone 3 you can simply click the ‘Install’ link underneath the action you want to install and the action will be automatically downloaded and installed as show below:

quick-install

This is achieved using the new URL scheme which allows any action in the GitHub user actions repository to be installed by visiting the URL dropzone://action where action is the name of the action you want to install. For example visiting the URL dropzone://Print would quick install the Print action (as long as you have Dropzone 3 installed).

Imgur Image Sharing

imgur

Dropzone 3 comes with a new built-in action for sharing images with Imgur – a popular image sharing service. You can use this action to share images anonymously or by linking to your Imgur account. To use it, simply drop a single image or multiple images onto the Imgur action in your grid. If you drop a single image then the image is uploaded and the URL is placed on the clipboard. If you drop multiple images then you’ll be asked to enter an album name and the images will be uploaded to that album and the album URL will be placed on the clipboard. There’s complete instructions and a demo of this here.

Drop Bar

If you’ve used Yoink, DragThing, DragonDrop or Dropshelf then you’ll understand how to use Drop Bar. It provides a temporary holding area to store files you know you’ll want to use later. Here’s a short video showing Drop Bar in action:

Here are some example situations where Drop Bar can come in handy:

1) You want to gather several files that are in different locations into a group and then copy them to a particular folder. Normally you would need to create a temporary folder to store the files, but using Drop Bar you can simply drag each file onto a Drop Bar stack and then drag the stack either onto a Dropzone 3 action or onto another folder or app.

2) You want to gather certain images from a website or from several websites. You can drag each image from your web browser onto the Dropzone 3 menu item and then onto a Drop Bar stack and then drag this stack of files to where you want them.

3) You have an app open (e.g. iPhone or iTunes) in fullscreen mode and want to move certain files to a folder in Finder. You can find each file and then drag it onto Drop Bar (press F3 to activate Dropzone 3 when in fullscreen apps) and then drag the Drop Bar stacks off into the Finder folder to copy the files. This is quicker and easier than activating exposé and trying to find the correct window to drag to for each item.

Note that when you drag files onto Drop Bar, it simply creates a reference to that file – it doesn’t copy or move it from it’s original location or do anything with it until you drag it off Drop Bar. Therefore you need to keep the original file around even after dragging it onto Drop Bar. Some users have requested that Drop Bar have an option to take its own copy of a dragged files so that the original item can be trashed afterwards. I am considering adding an option for this in a future version.

Action Right-click Menus

This seems like a small thing but it actually turns out to be a huge win in terms of usability. In Dropzone 2 if you wanted to change an actions settings you had to first open the preferences and then find the action you wanted to edit in a list. Now it’s much simpler – you can simply right click on an action in your grid to show a popup menu and then click edit.

right-click

The right-click menu also allows you to remove actions, reveal folders in the Finder and even develop new actions based on already existing actions by using the ‘Copy and Edit Script’ option.

The right-click menu serves another purpose as well. If there’s a problem with an action (such as a missing folder or invalid metadata) then the action will show at a lower opacity with a question mark over it. If this happens, you can right click on the action to see what the issue is:

right-click2

Circles

The Circles feature from Dropzone 2 has been removed for now. This was mostly due to time constraints, but also because there were some very conflicting views from customers on Circles. Many people disliked them and disabled them immediately but just as many loved the feature and are disappointed it’s gone. They had some difficult technical and UX issues, such as accidental activation if your mouse got to close to the edge of the screen and a lot of difficult issues in dual monitor configurations. Personally I find them useful but they are also a huge nuisance to maintain from a technical perspective. For now, if you really still want them, you can run both Dropzone 2 and Dropzone 3 at the same time without ill effects – this is what I’m doing currently. It’s reasonably likely I’ll end up re-adding them in some shape or form in a future update.

Sandboxing

There are two slightly different versions of Dropzone 3 available – The Mac App Store version which runs sandboxed and the non-Mac App Store version which runs unsandboxed. Sandboxing is now required for all apps distributed via the Mac App Store and it places limits on what an app can do. Sandboxed apps can only write to certain folders and can’t use AppleScript as well as several other restrictions.

The two versions of Dropzone 3 will work the same out of the box and sandboxing only becomes an issue when installing certain add-on actions for Dropzone 3. If you’re using the Mac App Store version of Dropzone 3 then initially you’re limited to installing the actions listed on this page. If using the non-Mac App Store version then you can install the full list of actions shown here. If you purchased Dropzone 3 from the Mac App Store and want to use an action that is not compatible with sandboxing then I have provided an easy solution: You can switch to the non-Mac App Store version by downloading it from here and moving it to your applications folder replacing your existing App Store version. When you run it, it will detect you purchased already on the Mac App Store and register you automatically. Full details on this process are given here. Note that you have to run the Mac App Store version at least once first for this transition to work. Therefore it doesn’t matter if you purchase Dropzone 3 from the Mac App Store or direct from us. You can easily switch between the two versions if you need to.

Upgrade Pricing

If you have a Dropzone 2 serial then you’re eligible for a half price upgrade (only $5) to Dropzone 3 from our online store. Just make sure you select the ‘Dropzone 3 Upgrade Pricing’ option during checkout. I’m also offering a half price discount on the Mac App Store during the first few weeks after launch to give users who purchased Dropzone 2 in the Mac App Store an opportunity to upgrade to Dropzone 3. Beyond this few week window I’m unfortunately not able to provide App Store purchasers of Dropzone 2 a discounted upgrade as the Mac App Store does not support upgrade pricing. Although if you purchased Dropzone 2 in the past few months then by all means email me and I’m sure we can work something out.

More Coming Soon

As well as the new features, lots has changed behind the scenes as well – Dropzone 3 now uses FMDB with a SQLite database instead of Core Data and the codebase has been updated to use ARC. If you don’t know what any of this means, don’t worry – the end result for you will be a faster, more stable app that receives frequent updates. I’m really excited about the future of Dropzone and am looking forward to sharing many new actions and features with you in the coming months.

Thanks for your continued support of Aptonic and I hope you enjoy the app. Let me know if you have any feedback!