We’re excited to announce today that our first Android app is available today on Google Play!
We had committed to release it before the end of the year… Well, just on time, right?
With ftopia for Android, you’ll be able to access your virtual rooms on multiple accounts, browse your folders, download files as favorites and upload files from your device.
If you spot any issue or if you have ideas to improve the app, please let us know at email@example.com!
We are proud to announce a new partnership with Brother, one of the premier providers of products for the home, home office and office, that enables businesses to securely scan their files and directly have them uploaded in their ftopia cloud.
Ftopia and Brother™ Partner To Deliver Desktop Integration And “One-Touch Pull Scanning” To The Cloud
Business Teams Can Now Efficiently Scan-to and Operate
Brother™ Scanners and All-in-Ones from the Cloud
SAN FRANCISCO, CA & BRIDGEWATER, NJ — June 25, 2012 — ftopia, a global provider of cloud-based data collaboration and storage services, and Brother International Corporation, premier provider of products for the home, home office and office, today announced a partnership that enables businesses to securely scan files and directly upload them to the ftopia cloud service. The partnership marks the first cloud-based file sharing and storage solution that is part of Brother Online, a suite of smart, web-based business services and solutions.
Wall Street Journal has just published an interesting article in which Western businesses are encouraged to protect themselves against industrial espionage and intellectual property theft, especially in China – a land of opportunity but also a land of counterfeiting.
In the article “Patents are a Virtue” written by Geoff Nairn, we learn that although China is not the only source of pirated goods, it is the main source, according to the European Commission, as it accounts for 85% of the counterfeit goods seized in the European Union last year.
ftopia is designed to make it easy to share files across different organizations. In order to trace and secure access to information, each user has to sign in with his or her password before accessing his or her data rooms.
However, user authentication is not always a requirement. Many customers use ftopia to update files directly from Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder, but once online some of these files should be made available to a wide audience. This has been impossible so far because of the enforced authentication.
Well, there was still a way: one could generate public download links for a selection of documents and then email those links to whomever. Nice for quickly sharing a few files with a limited number of persons. But how to give them complete access to a room, with its custom look and feel and its up-to-date content?
This is now possible with our brand new public rooms! In order to grant public access to one of your rooms, click on its “Settings” tab and use the related options:
You can even let anonymous visitors upload their own files! They will be stored in special folders only visible to the room manager.
The number of public rooms you can open depends on your subscription plan. Feel free to contact us to get more information about this feature.
SAVERGLASS Group, the global leader in luxury glass packaging for the wine and spirits and the fragrance and cosmetics industries, has adopted ftopia for optimizing its document sharing processes.
Because Saverglass works internationally with many entities (the Group generates half of its revenue from exports), it shares a multitude of frequently-updated documents with external parties. The Group was in need of a solution that would overcome the inherent file size limitations of email and that would boost collaboration while ensuring security of the information being exchanged.
Enhancing the Supplier Relationship with Document Sharing
1. Circulation of Price Quotes for Maritime Transport
Saverglass’ sales department must constantly use price quotes for sea transport to hundreds of destinations when making offers to its customers and prospects. Before implementing ftopia’s service, the purchasing department solicited shipping prices from freight carriers by exchanging and building Excel spreadsheets via email and then uploaded them to a file server for internal access.
Because of the difference between the number of shipping destinations listed and those actually served, this manual and repetitive task used to consume more time, effort, and attention from the purchasing department than needed. ftopia’s collaborative service enabled the Group to restructure and improve this process with a system that allows freight carriers to instantly upload quotes into shared online workspaces.
Sales teams now have direct and immediate access to up-to-date information without requiring the purchasing department’s help or soliciting freight carriers unnecessarily. The end result is time-savings and increased responsiveness and productivity for internal teams and suppliers.
2. Requests for Proposals – Work and Investments
For every major project, Saverglass Group must provide potential suppliers with RFPs including specifications, models, and a number of other large files. Given the file attachment size limits of Saverglass’ internal mail system, CDs and USB flash drives were used for exchanging this data. This was an inconvenient solution – especially when sourcing geographically remote suppliers.
Ftopia provides all authorized parties with a single access point to data and a centralized and secure environment for each proposal. Now RFPs are simply uploaded into compartmentalized online workspaces and interested companies have direct access to download them from any location with an Internet connection.
Data is easily updated and companies are automatically notified via email whenever updates are made. Detailed user activity reports ensure complete traceability of all files and enable teams to determine whether each file has been viewed by its intended recipient(s).
Saverglass’ Expectations Surpassed
Thanks to ftopia, Saverglass has not only made file sharing with its suppliers much easier, but it has also increased productivity by simplifying the flow of communication and reducing response time.
In addition to resolving all the issues posed by Saverglass Group, ftopia’s solution has become an even more valuable tool for the Group which has since found many other uses for the service.
“ftopia, like any good information system, is a structuring tool that allowed us to simplify and optimize the organization of our work. We won time but also added relevance and value to our operations.“
Vincent Malvault – Group Buyer, Saverglass
The first engine leverages the Internet’s specific characteristics to improve the very traditional “bricks and mortar” business model: real-time analysis of visitors’ behavior in order to continuously improve customer experience and increase conversion rates, extreme optimization of logistics, opening the platform to third-party vendors in order to reduce inventories, etc.
The second engine is the control of customer relationships, at the core of the platform integrating sellers and consumers.
The last digital engine is the development of an ecosystem similar to the Apple model. AWS (Amazon Web Services) is instrumental to this strategy, even if its current business model is closer to a B2B provider of hosting infrastructure.
The formidable logistical and transactional capabilities of amazon.com are used today by millions of sellers (businesses and individuals) to market a myriad of products. AWS could easily apply this model and become one of the dominant players of application distribution platforms, alongside the Apple App Store, Android Market and Force.com.
As of now, the second digital engine mentioned in Fabernovel’s study is still missing – even though AWS already offers a payment system as part of its services. Most SaaS vendors that use AWS keep their independence with respect to their customer transactions.
In addition, we’d like to modestly point out that one of Fabernovel’s slides showcases rising and established stars of the Web that use AWS, like Zynga, Dropbox, Netflix and …ftopia!
Source: Stéphane Distinguin, Amazon.com: the Hidden Empire, faberNovel, May 2011. Fabernovel’s original blog post can be found here.
We have introduced several improvements related to public download links. These links enable you to share files without having to create user accounts.
First change: the validity period has been extended. You can now have links expire after one month, or even keep them active forever.
When you have to share several files at once (using multiple-file selection), only one link will be sent out, and recipients will see all the files on one page, instead of having to click on each download link one by one…
Last but not least, the download link is now directly displayed in the bottom panel. You may copy it to the clipboard and email it by yourself with a personalized message:
We hope these changes will be useful to you!
This week we have migrated our search engine from Sphinx to Solr. The main reasons for doing this are:
- Too strong of an interdependency between Delayed Job and Thinking Sphinx
- Full-text searching of documents stored in ftopia
Both Sphinx and Solr are full-text search engines. Sphinx has been designed for performance, relevance, and ease of integration. It is written in C++ and runs on most systems. Solr is based on the Lucene engine; its main strengths are its relevance and its extensibility.
Sphinx and Thinking Sphinx
The ruby gem that we have been using with Sphinx is Thinking Sphinx. Thinking Sphinx has many upsides:
- Easy integration of indexing with models
- Many search options and good pagination management
- Can be coupled with Delayed Job in order to index new data
- Fast searching and low memory footprint
However some of these arguments turn out to be not so cool when the data volume or load increases:
- The engine is too tightly linked to Delayed Job; when using this update mechanism instead of an asynchronous update, all the Delayed Job workers have to run on the same server where Sphinx sits. This is a major obstacle to horizontal scalability and high availability.
- Sphinx stores strings as integers – this is a problem when indexing data that doesn’t change much, such as the name of a class for an STI model, for instance (http://freelancing-god.github.com/ts/en/common_issues.html#string_filters).
Solr and Sunspot
Solr relies on the Lucene Apache engine and is written in Java. This might not sound that cool to a number of coders, but Solr includes scripts and tutorials that make it a breeze to install the server. In a dev env, a simple script is enough to boot the server.
The ruby implementation of Solr is Sunspot. Very similar to the Sphinx and Thinking Sphinx pair, but without Sphinx’s main drawbacks:
- Indexing new data is done by sending content to the Solr server, whereas Thinking Sphinx stores them in a database before a Delayed Job worker can process them. Performances are similar as long as the Solr server response time is equivalent to the database’s. Indexing this way through the Solr server avoids unnecessary coupling with Delayed Job.
- Stored data are not converted to integers and Solr can index recurrent textual data much more easily.
Sunspot also has a nice upside for the developer: since classes are reloaded upon each request, the code that describes the index is executed upon each request too. In our app with Thinking Sphinx, this code takes more than 1000ms to run in a dev env – it’s much faster with Sunspot, about 40ms with the same indexes! In production, classes are cached upon the first execution, therefore there’s almost no difference between the two search engines.
It’s also worth mentioning that Sunspot is slightly different regarding the way the search is coded: instead of using a traditional call to a method with search params, Sunspot uses a ruby block describing an elegant DSL. Much better for code readability:
Post.search do fulltext 'best pizza' with :blog_id, 1 with(:published_at).less_than Time.now order_by :published_at, :desc paginate :page => 2, :per_page => 15 facet :category_ids, :author_id end
Performance and next steps
Compared to Sphinx, Solr’s main drawback is search speed. But Solr’s performances can be greatly improved by clustering Solr servers.
We are much more confident about the scalability of our architecture now that the search engine runs independently of our asynchronous queue management system.
The next step is to exploit more of Solr capabilities and apply full-text indexing to all the textual content stored on ftopia.
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ftopia, a provider of secure online file-sharing workspaces in SaaS (Software as a Service) format for professionals, announces that it has joined EuroCloud, the only pan-European business network revolving around SaaS and cloud computing.
EuroCloud, created in 2009 by Pierre-José Billote, Founder & Chairman of the French ASP forum, aims at promoting, supporting, and encouraging SaaS organizations and cloud ecosystems in their market development.
More information: www.eurocloud.org↩ Older posts