MacDropAny 1.5 review

We love Dropbox. It's a desktop application and Web service that  syncs data between your Macs and other Dropbox-configured computers, using online servers as a go-between. It even syncs with your iOS devices.

One criticism of Dropbox is that it requires you to store your synced data in a particular location - the Dropbox folder. You can place that folder anywhere you like, but anything you want Dropbox to sync must be placed inside that folder.

Dropbox can sync folders located outside your Dropbox folder, but you need to do some UNIX voodoo with symbolic links to make it all work. So, stand up and give a ripple of applause to MacDropAny, an application that does it all for you without needing to open the terminal.

Now a Dropbox folder can be any folder on your Mac. Just use MacDropAny to create a special symbolic link.

MacDropAny gives you two easy ways to make symbolic links. The first is to use its file-navigation dialog to choose a folder and link it to your Dropbox directory. Name the link and you're good to go.

The second method is even easier: Just grab the folder you want to sync and drag it onto the MacDropAny application icon. You then choose the destination and name for the symbolic link.

On your other Dropbox enabled computers, you'll see the actual folder and its contents - not a symbolic link - letting you access and modify the data inside the folder. The changes are immediately synced back to the original Mac.

OUR VERDICT

There are a few caveats to keep in mind when using symbolic links with Dropbox. If you’re thinking of linking to your Applications folder to sync your applications between your Macs, don’t. Similarly, don’t link to your iPhoto library - or any folder chock-full of bandwidth intensive media. Second, don’t link directly to a file; link only to folders. Keep these golden rules in mind and MacDropAny will be a useful addition to online storage and back-up routines.

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