John's Blog: The Drop Box

Feb 15, 2013

There is a relatively new feature of Rumpus that isn't well documented, mainly because setup is largely automated using the new "Popular Features Setup" function (accessed from the "Help" menu in Rumpus). So, until we get a chance to include formal documentation, here's a quick overview of the "drop box".

Note that the "drop box" is very different from "drop shipping". In fact, the two features are pretty much opposites. Also, it's worth pointing out that setting up a drop box user account in Rumpus has been possible for a long time. Making a dedicated feature for this functionality just makes it easier to set up, easier to use, and more flexible for administrators.

What It Does

The drop box gives you an easy way to allow anyone, anywhere to upload files to your server. The upload is anonymous, meaning it does not require login and anyone can use it, and it's blind, meaning that users won't see or be able to access any other content on the server.

Basically, the Rumpus drop box creates a special URL which, when accessed, provides users with a simple file upload form and nothing else. It looks like this:

Security

Security is of some concern when enabling the drop box, as it does expose the server to certain kinds of attacks (primarily denial of service). For example, a potential hacker could upload massive amounts of data, consuming bandwidth and disk space until the server can't serve other users and crashes.

With that said, the security risk is no greater than allowing any other form of anonymous upload capability, and is unavoidable if you wish to provide simple, non-authenticated file uploads. In fact, the drop box function is the most secure way of providing anonymous uploads, and is preferable to general anonymous access.

Setting It Up

As I mentioned above, the best way to enable the drop box is using the "Popular Features Setup" assistant, which is accessed through the "Help" menu in Rumpus. Using the assistant, you simply select a folder where you would like drop box uploads to be placed and Rumpus enables the function. The assistant then shows how to link to the drop box and will even open a browser to the drop box URL so you can try it out.

There are advanced features available, too, including the ability to include an Upload Center form, assign Event Notices, and customize various messages shown to users. On the "Web Settings" window, "Options" tab, click the "Drop Box Settings" button to open the setup sheet.

For example, when people upload files, you might need to have them enter their name, contact information, and special instructions. Create an Upload Center form to capture that information, then select it from the pop up menu on the setup sheet. Create an Event Notice to send an e-mail, which includes a message body customized to include the information from the Upload Center form and select it from the "Event Notice 1" menu. Now, when users access the drop box URL, they'll be prompted to supply their name and other information, and that data will be passed to you in an e-mail sent automatically whenever anyone uses the drop box.

The "Text for display before the upload form" and "... after the upload form" text areas allow you to enter text that will be shown on the drop box page itself. The text might include upload instructions, your company contact information, or any other messages you want shown to users before they start the upload. The "Text for display when the upload completes" is shown on the upload complete page, as you would expect.

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