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2010/01/02 - Bulk File Uploader for Google Apps

posted Jan 2, 2010, 1:46 PM by Rick Anderson   [ updated Jan 2, 2010, 3:31 PM ]
The new year and it's time to clean out the closets - for me, I'm finally finding time to decommission a couple of old computers that I've had for quite awhile.  The BIG issue when decommissioning an old computer is file clean-up and one of the biggest proponents as to why cloud based systems are the future!

Let's take a step back - typically a pc's life started out with something I use, then my wife uses, then the kids use, etc.  Or I use it for work and then retired it to specialty use in one of my hobbies.  Over the years I've collected Novell servers (with coax cabling and t-connectors - yahoo!), Windows servers, hubs, switches, routers, scanners, desktops, laptops, and various flavors of unix on old pc's - pretty much everything under the sun other than a mac (something about expensive proprietary systems that causes me not to be a big fan).

The two computers I decommissioned this weekend were from both of those examples.  One was purchased back in 1997 - a rocketing PII-266 with 10gb hard drive, a scsi interface to a jaz drive and a scanner with a giant 21" Viewsonic monitor.  This was my baby - it provided a great platform for development work on enterprise databases as well as the appropriate hardware for writing documentation, flowcharts, and generating presentations.  Eventually it was replaced with faster equipment for work, but it was still perfect for my miniature painting hobby for which I wrote a custom database application in order to archive scanned images and painting instructions.  The second computer decommissioned this weekend was one which has gone through each phase - a home work computer, a family mom computer, a kids computer, and now the scrap bin.  Both computers have gathered numerous files over the years and all those files were scattered in all sorts of directories by family member, subject, or just plain random - particularly the 12 year old machine with the jaz drive in which I still had four 1gb drives on the shelf.  Although neither computer has really been used in quite awhile; the daunting task of finding, organizing, and restoring files was a dreaded task.

Google Apps for cloud computing to the rescue along with a little help from the Bulk File Uploader by Cloud Sherpas.  

One of the biggest advantages of using Google Apps and the concept of cloud computing is that it takes away one of the biggest problems of personal and network computing - the dreaded upgrade.  No longer does the word upgrade have to terrify home users and IT professionals alike.  The beauty of cloud computing is that all documents are always available no matter what the equipment as long as there is an internet connection and a browser.  Therefore upgrading from a desktop to a laptop is a non-issue.  Visiting the relatives over the holiday is a non-issue.  Being at work, home, the cottage, the beach, is a non-issue.  Internet, browser, and it's there!

Google Apps has two ways to store files - either converted into one of its natural formats (documents, spreadsheets, or presentations) or stored as part of Google Sites (think wiki).  Converting files isn't the best solution as experience shows that nothing ever converts perfectly; therefore the proper solution is to take those old files and upload them in their native format into Google Sites.  Google will store the documents, generate complete indexes on all the words inside the documents, and keep revision level/history for any documents modified.  The only problem with this solution is uploading one document at a time - Google's standard file upload for Sites doesn't have multi-file upload capabilities - a big time waster!  Here's where the Bulk File Uploader by Cloud Sherpas comes in handy.  They provide a java based utility which takes the files and directories on the local machine and converts them into Google Apps cloud based file cabinet webpages within Sites.

What's really important to understand about this utility is that it does so by using Google's indexing feature.  I previously found some other solutions, but they bypassed one of Google Sites greatest features - the ability to index attached documents.  Bulk File Uploader maintains this key ingredient to the upload process - thereby when finished, a quick search gives a result by searching through of all those documents instantaneously!  All that history is now in the cloud, indexed, and accessible to on a private website accessible from anywhere there's an internet and a browser.  How cool and useful is that!  Additionally, the dreaded upgrade will no longer be part of the IT vocabulary.

Pricing for Bulk File Uploader is free for a 10 file constraint upload or $20 for the full blown product.  Both work with Google Apps and Gmail.  You can dowload either on Cloud Sherpas website for the Bulk File Uploader.