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WebSharing: access files/music/photos from a web browser on WiFi

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by tliebeck, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Hello all,

    I've released the first trial/beta version of "WebSharing", a new app that lets you view and transfer content to and from an Android device using a web browser.

    The bit of the app that you use on the phone itself is fairly minimal, it just lets you configure, start and stop the sharing service.

    Once the sharing service is running, you'll enter the URL displayed by the app in your web browser. Type in your configured password, and you'll be presented with a tabbed user interface allowing access to your files, photos, and music.

    Current features:

    • File browser: Browse folders, upload and download files to your computer.
    • Music player: Stream audio from the device to your web browser (requires Flash 9+). Tracks may be browsed by playlist, album (with artwork), artist, or all at once. Multiple tracks can be uploaded and downloaded at once (Ctrl-click to select tracks, then select download option from menu).
    • Photo viewer: Browse photo thumbnails, double click to see pan/scan/zoom display of images. Multiple photos can be downloaded by Ctrl-clicking them and selecting "Download" from the pulldown menu.
    • Status display: See current wireless signal, battery life, SD card and CPU usage.

    Future features:

    • Playlist editing.
    • Viewing of photo folders (currently limited to camera roll). (IMPLEMENTED)
    • Photo slideshows.
    • Download of multiple files at once from the file browser. (IMPLEMENTED)
    • Additional file browser operations, e.g., move and copy.
    • Video support. (IMPLEMENTED)

    Known issues:

    • Preferences configured from the browser are not saved.
    • The Flash-based multiple file upload control can be a bit buggy. It does work, but you may have to select your files twice. You can use a standard single-file browser upload control if you'd like, just visit the preferences menu in the browser. (SOLVED)
    • Sorting (e.g. of music and files) is generally not yet implemented. (SOLVED)

    I'd greatly appreciate bug reports and feature suggestions alike.

    I'm especially interested to hear of any reliability issues or unexpected delays when using the app. Such things can be a bit common with consumer-grade Wi-Fi equipment. Numerous steps have been taken to avoid such issues, e.g., the web application will re-query the device automatically for information if it appears a connection has been dropped. That said, a great deal of "insanity" from Wi-Fi networks has been observed over the course of developing the app, and want to be as certain as possible that such issues don't pose a problem for users.

    More info on the app can be found at android.nextapp.com.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
    --Tod Liebeck / NextApp, Inc.

    QR Code:


    ....or search for "WebSharing" on the Android Market.

    1. Download the Forums for Android™ app!


  2. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

  3. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Updated to 1.0.beta2, which adds a few features and fixes:

    - Added support for randomly generated passwords (which will be used unless you configure a password). The randomly generated password will be displayed on the main screen of the app when sharing is started. This also enables users to download the app and just push "start" without having to configure any settings (i.e. passwords).
    - Files, music, and photos are now sorted as one would expect.
    - The photos tab now supports viewing the camera roll, a list of image folders (which can be opened), or all images at once.
    - Fixed bug where logging in as owner and then logging in as guest failed.

    Again, would *greatly* appreciate any feedback on this app, criticisms/lampoonings are welcome.
  4. ceedee

    ceedee Member

    I'd be happy to give your app a trial and offer feedback but it doesn't seem to be available in the market.
    Any idea why?

    T-Mobile Pulse (running v1.5) on T-Mobile UK.
  5. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    It's supposed to be showing up for 1.5 and higher devices, I'm not sure what's going on here. At the moment my only available real test device is a Droid (running 2.0.1), but this will be changing within the next couple days as I'm looking to pick up one or two more phones as test units, at least one of which will be 1.5. There is a bit of strangeness that must be done in one's application descriptor file to ensure it shows up for both 1.5 and renders high resolution icons on WVGA devices, but I thought we had this set up correctly.

    Not sure if any of this will help...

    The market URL is:


    And a QR code:


    In any case, thanks for the report, if it's not showing up for 1.5 users this is a major issue!
  6. Matterof8th

    Matterof8th Newbie

    The first attempt to connect gave me an error after initially getting to some sort of homescreen.

    Second try It wouldnt accept the password which had been given to me.

    I'd love for this app to work, I'm using afile to transfer things wirelessly but it sucks.
  7. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Still waiting to get hold of a 1.5 device of my own for testing, but did try a CLIQ out at a t-mo store and sure enough app is not on the market for 1.5 devices. Will get to work on this ASAP.
  8. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Sorry about this, try reloading the app in the browser after restarting the sharing service from the phone.

    We're signing all the requests with SHA-256 signatures, and part of the shared key is sent down on the first request (so if the server were restarted, it'll have the wrong key). This needs to be fixed in the app, of course, but restarting the server and then reloading the browser client should cure it.
  9. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Updated to 1.0beta3, this one includes....

    - Fixed bug in file upload component (mentioned in errata), it should now always work properly.
    - Added multiple file download for Files tab. Entire directory structures may be downloaded as well. Downloads are provided as uncompressed zip files.
    - Added capability to download individual albums from music tab.
    - Updated file browser with list/grid views. Improved performance with directories with very large file counts.
    - Internet Explorer 6 support, albeit with a reduced user experience compared to other browsers.

    Additionally...would greatly appreciate it if someone would test the following:

    If you install the app on a device for the first time (having never installed it before), is the "Allow Owner Access" box checked by default?
  10. PopeNeal

    PopeNeal Lurker

    No sir it is not
  11. Smithers

    Smithers Newbie

    Sounds like a bit like the Moto Phone Portal software offered on Milestone / Droid if I am right?

    Will your software allow storage access to the SD card as well?


  12. GolfnDroid

    GolfnDroid Well-Known Member

    Can you not do the same thing (in the opposite direction) using Media Share in Windows Vista?
  13. magnus

    magnus Well-Known Member

    What is the Moto Phone portal? I never got that with my droid! No CDs at all
  14. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I had no idea that this "Moto Phone Portal" item existed, but now having Googled it, yes, there does appear to be some similarity (I'm basing solely on seeing their "leaked" screenshots though). I found this link on engadget: Motorola Phone Portal enables WiFi PC-to-phone connections, browser-based management -- Engadget

    Is this thing out yet? I can find nothing about it except speculations from October such as the above link. It certainly didn't come with my Droid.

    With regard to storage to the SDCard, yes, the files tab of WebSharing provides full access to the content of the SDCard.
  15. magnus

    magnus Well-Known Member

    Moto Phone portal does not. I'm going to try it....but I can't connect to my work wireless network. If this works are flawlessly as the Moto Phone portal but with Sd, then I would prefer this.....but then then the Moto Phone Portal, I think is free, so the price would have to be right.
  16. thetomlin2

    thetomlin2 Guest

    Does it have an option to re-scan the sd card? I am currently using aFile, and when I add media files to my sd card my Eris cannot find them until I re-scan the SD card. Right now I use SDRescan to do this. If your app could take the place of both the apps I am currently using I would give it a try
  17. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    It doesn't have the option to re-scan the SD card, but it does feed all uploaded material through Android's "MediaScanner" such that it will appear in the appropriate media player.

    As of 1.0.beta3, this only happens for Music tracks uploaded through the music tab of the app.

    In 1.0.beta4 (available very soon), this is done for all files sent to the device.

    I'm still having trouble getting this app to show up for 1.5 devices though...can you see it in the market at all from your Eris? It's been spec'ed for 1.5 devices but there's some slightly odd things one has to do to make it work with WVGA devices as well as 1.5.
  18. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Is Motorola phone portal anything more than a leaked .apk file at the moment, i.e., can you get it from Motorola officially? All I've been able to find so far is the leaked version (leakdroid.com had it I think) and according to the screenshots it appears someone had manually cut it apart and replaced all the Motorola logos with HTC items.
  19. thetomlin2

    thetomlin2 Guest

    I found it just fine using the QR code ... maybe I will give it a shot this evening.
  20. myke66

    myke66 Newbie

    just downloaded app, gonna give it a go.

    ah scratch that, didnt see it was WiFi only. My wifi signal is too weak for my hero.
  21. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    It can be used over a cellular network as well, albeit the speed will be quite limited. To use it in that environment, you have to enable "Cellular Sharing" in the "Network" section of the settings.
  22. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Hi all,

    1.0.beta4 is now out, this release adds a "Videos" tab and a video player which let you play videos from within the browser. The standard set of "Flash supported" videos will work, including 3GP, MP4, and FLV. One unfortunate caveat is that we can't stream 3GP videos (i.e., as recorded on a Droid) because the metadata is saved at the END of the file. I'm looking into using HTTP "pseudo-streaming" to make it possible, but my guess is that it won't be without a full-blown streaming video server (which would be beyond the scope of the project).

    Additionally have tweaked the Android-side of the user interface a bit. Settings are now accessible via a button on the main activity rather than via the Menu key. Future plan is to combine start & stop server buttons into a single on/off item, and then use the freed real-estate for a "Help" button for more novice users.

    Would greatly appreciate any testing of the video system on 1.x devices. I've wound up using Java reflection (as Android docs suggest) to support thumbnails on 2.0 devices. All works well on Droid + 1.5 emulator. The video thumbnail API hasn't made me particularly happy even on 2.0 though....thumbnails appear to never be stored in the database, so we have to generate them each time: Issue 5746 - android - MediaStore.Video.Thumbnails does not appear to be populated. - Project Hosting on Google Code
  23. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    New UI screenshot:
  24. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Yet another release, beta7, is now available.

    This release limits the guest account to a single directory tree (/sdcard/Guest) rather than allowing full read access to the sdcard. In-application help has been added to aid novice users (who likely don't read phandroid :D). Video preview generation speed should now be slightly improved.

    Very close now to final release, greatly appreciate any bug reports/suggestions!
  25. tliebeck

    tliebeck Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    The official 1.0.0 release is out. It's priced at $2.99, introductory price for this week is $0.99

    Huge thanks to everyone who sent in feedback, I really appreciate it!

    In other news, I'm unable to buy my own app. Would anyone happen to know if this is normal? I made the perhaps foolish mistake of using the same account to register the phone as I used to register for the Android market. I'm getting a server error.

    If you happen to purchase it, please drop me a PM if everything went smoothly with the checkout.
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