Brace Aims To Make Website Hosting Idiot Proof

Illustration for article titled Brace Aims To Make Website Hosting Idiot Proof

Here's something for Scooby and the gang. A new service called Brace is using Dropbox to organize and sync files to personal websites. Seemingly targeted at consumers looking for a simple, drag and drop alternative to things like FTP and Github, Brace is offering a clean and straightforward interface for managing files and styles on a website. But where did Brace come from?


Commenters on Hacker News have noticed similarities to the service Backlift, and even spotted a Backlift email address at 0:44 in the Brace demo video (below). Maybe there's some rebranding or off-shooting going on? Brace looks similar to other services like Pancake, site44 and, oh yeah, Backlift, but it could be a solid contender in this space because of its feature set.

For example, Brace creates two versions of your website so you can see changes show up as you make them in one version without actually publishing them until everything is just right. You put changes live with a blue button that says "Ship It," the git commit of the drag and drop world. Since you can preview everything in the first version, it's unlikely that you would accidentally "ship" something before its really ready. The demo video also makes some claims about methods for hosting websites across Brace servers to keep things running even in case of unexpectedly heavy traffic, but it's too soon to tell about that. Early access starts in October, and maybe things will get less secretive between now and then so you know what you're signing up for. [Hacker News]



It uses Dropbox to host your Website? I've been doing something similar with my clients for about 6 months now. I set up WAMP on their end and make it run on startup. I then set up Dropbox and create a symlink from their Dropbox folder to their WAMP root. The end result has the following benefits:

1) They don't need to know anything about how a server works. It just automatically runs in the background and is "magic" to them.

2) I don't have to host their files. So if I have, say, 10 clients, each of them only hosts their own Website and I don't have a cluttered computer (meaning I don't need to buy a dedicated server, either).

3) I can add, remove, or change anything for a client at any time from anywhere in the world. One of my clients was in New Jersey, and shortly after my main meeting with him, I had to travel down to Florida. Doesn't matter; I was able to continue working on his Website from Florida with no difficulties or changes in my workflow.

4) High robustness. If the server on their end goes down for some reason, all the files are safely stored in Dropbox's cloud, and as soon as they get their computers back up and running, they'll auto-sync and all will be as it was.

Another minor benefit is I can even set up DNS records for them from anywhere, without needing any info from them, because Dropbox logs the IP of any computers connected to the account.

So basically: This Dropbox setup makes my job as user-friendly and idiot-proof (or, less harshly, "screw-up proof") as possible, while also making my job easier on me.

I may be on a tangent here, as it's slightly different from the service in the article, but it's definitely relevant.