software repository

Run a Software Repository Website

I come across and utilize a lot of different utilities and scripts in my technology related job. Luckily, I have plenty of space on a corporate file share to store all of these helpful files so I always know where to find them when I need them. The file share works great for now, but what happens down the road when I’m no longer employed by the same company? Unless I copy my accumulated data over to a hard drive or some place else, all these useful tools might be lost.

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I’ve always wanted to put them in one centralized place where they would always be accessible no matter where I work. I figure a software repository site is the ideal solution because if I can get online, I can get to my data.

The eSoftScript software repository script caught my eye because the demo looks just like (Both links will open in new windows if you want to compare) The site looks like it’s packed with all the features you’d ever need to run a fairly large repository site. Visitors have the ability to create an account in order to upload software, but in addition to that, they can submit reviews and rate software as well.

Last month I briefly mentioned the iDevSpot Software Repository script when I was contemplating offering downloads here as well. I still think that is a decent script too, but I’m undecided on which would work best in this situation. If I wanted to keep the online technical toolbox smaller and more private, iDevSpot might be ideal. If I wanted to grow it into something bigger, eSoftScript might have the edge.

The one thing that I find kind of a bummer is I’ve yet to find an attractive open source software repository. There’s certainly no shortage of quality repository scripts out there, but what most lack is a decent, usable out of the box design.

Getting back to my initial idea, it would be extremely helpful to have all my files available where ever I am in the world. I know this could be achieved by utilizing a number of other upload sites offering free space, but that gives me no pleasure because I wouldn’t get to try out some new repository software from time to time. I want to be able to install it, configure it, run it, own it, break it, and then have to test out yet another repository script to either improve or replace it.

It’s probably a good thing I’m not a programmer because the way my mind jumps around wanting to try new things, I’d probably be wasting my time attempting to create a multitudinously functional script that would be a bit too ambitious. It’s the social networking cms event calendar photo battle script with url shortening that has a forum, an attached help desk, an ecommerce store, built in classified email marketing, and an article site link directory. Oh, and it can also balance your check book.

iDevSpot Software Repository

I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a software repository to this site. I thought it might be a cool idea to become a download mirror for every piece of open source software mentioned here. It would certainly be an ambitious undertaking to try and keep up with all the new versions as well as add new ones along the way. The problem I’m experiencing is that none of the open source software repositories I’ve found are very good looking. They all seemed a bit challenging to figure out too, so I set out to find a commercial one instead. I began my search with iDevSpot’s SoftDirec Software Repository script, and although it looked decent at first glance, I was instantly turned off by the misspelling of “repository” right underneath the product title. I’m certainly no spelling champion and make my fair share of errors, but geez man…if you’re going to make an attempt at selling your visitors a product, at least know how to spell what you’re selling. Maybe it’s just me, but this was a major detraction and not a very good first impression.

Unfortunately, there was nothing else out there that looked as clean and organized as this SoftDirec one, so after hours (literally) of searching and installing, I ended up coming back to this one as my favorite. From the demo, I really like how it’s organized. The individual listings are also well laid out and visually appealing. A number of the others, both open source and commercial, have a cluttered look and feel. I usually hit my back button when I arrive at sites like that because there’s too much going on and I don’t feel confident I’ll be able to find what I’m looking for quickly. At least with this script, your eyes can concentrate on one thing at a time.

There’s a subscription service built in where users can upgrade a listing via PayPal. In the admin demo, there is one option for “Highlight” and one for “Sponsored”, but those can be edited and/or deleted and other custom packages can be created. There’s not a lot of ways to differentiate between the different packages other than highlighting them with a color or making them sticky by keeping them at the top of the list. I’m actually okay with that because if I were to go forward and purchase this script, I wouldn’t be going into it with income in mind. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to sell some sponsored spots somewhere down the line, but it certainly wouldn’t be my primary motivation for adding the repository.

As I go back and forth between writing this post and fiddling with the demo, I’m really starting to like this script more. It’s simple, it’s attractive, and it’s cheap. I’m still a bit cautious though as I do not want another SoftBiz incident where I instantly become a beacon for hackers because it’s not securely coded. Sometimes cheap scripts are cheap because they’re not actively developed and I really hope to steer clear of software that isn’t (at least occasionally) improved or patched. I think I’ll send the folks at iDevSpot a few questions and see how I feel about the responses. It would be a shame if it’s a bust because it’s really a decent looking, functional script repository. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…