The real power of OS X lies in all of the hidden gems beneath what you see at first glance. Technologies like Expose, Spaces, Stacks, Spotlight and others help users tap the power of their Mac, while keeping the experience sleek and elegant. Aptonic’s Dropzone, a third-party application designed to further simplify your Mac experience, fits into this group perfectly and naturally.
It’s Like an Intern for Your Dock
Dropzone is an application that resides in your Dock like any other app. The power of Dropzone comes into play when you begin dragging files onto its icon. Similar to the appearance of a Stack, Dropzone will expand giving you options of what to do with the file or files you’ve selected. Think of it like Automator for your Dock.
For example, if I have a handful of files selected, and drag them onto my Dropzone icon, I am presented with a series of choices, one of which is “Zip files and email.” As simple as it sounds, dragging the files onto this icon zips the files automatically and attaches them to a new email message inside of Mail. Gone are the days of right-clicking to compress the files, attaching that to an email and then deleting the zip file when I’m done.
Another “destination” included is the ability to install applications quickly by dragging a DMG onto the “Install Application” destination. Behind the scenes, your Mac will mount the DMG file, locate the application inside, copy it to your Applications folder and launch it, unmount the DMG and move the DMG file to the trash.
Other destinations include quick access to uploading images to Flickr (including copying the image URL to your clipboard when its done) or upload files to your FTP server. Want those files zipped before upload? No problem. Just hold down the option key as you drag the files onto the icon. It’s quick and simple and really does save time.
I’m the type of Mac user who likes to keep my Dock as simplified as possible, but I do enjoy the ability to be able to drag files onto an application icon and force the file to open in that application. Dropzone allows me to throw applications I use frequently inside of it and then I have the ability to do just that. Compared to attempting the same thing with a stack in Leopard, I only spawn Finder windows.
Taking It Further
Several optional downloads can extend the functionality of Dropzone. There are add-ons to allow you to start your screensaver, mount/unmount firewire drives, and set your computer to sleep, in addition to many others. Dropzone even includes support for popular web services, including the ability to quickly share photos via TwitPic, shorten a dropped URL via the Is.Gd service (and copy it to the clipboard automatically), and quickly share photos and documents on Posterous.
If you are comfortable programming ruby scripts, Dropzone also offers a scripting API to allow you to create your own “destinations” to further extend the application.
If you’d like to try out Dropzone, it’s currently available for Leopard or Snow Leopard users. Aptonic does provide a trial version of the software, and the cost is only $10 to purchase the full version. The trial does limit you to 15 days of use and up to five “destinations” at a time. I spoke with the developers at Aptonic and they informed me that updates through 1.0 will be freely available to users who register, but the $10 price is likely just an introductory price. Download the demo version here.
I’ll be the first to admit, much like Quicksilver or Spaces, once you get used to integrating this app, it really does save you time. If you have tried out Dropzone, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!