Every now and them I come back to something I thought (obsessed) about earlier (specifically here and here) in which I never moved found a solution that made me happy. More and more I find myself searching for a way to do something in WordPress without altering a bunch of code. It is by far my favorite open source framework, and if I can find a way to use it I will, but there are still certain functions that I find either lacking or just plain ugly. Sometimes you need an alternative solution.

One of those functions is the creation of a user friendly file repository. Can it be done with WordPress? Sure. Can it be done the way

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I want it without serious alterations? Perhaps, but I have not found a way yet. Below is a quick list of what I’m looking for in a file sharing website.

  1. Users can sign up for a free account and upload and organize files to their own dedicated page
  2. Users can sign up or upgrade to a premium account for more space to store files
  3. Users can choose to make their page public (accessible to all members and non-members), or private (only accessible to member)
  4. If using WordPress, users should NEVER see the back end admin area (a major pet peeve of mine)
  5. It should be somewhat pleasing to the eye and not look like it was coded in the early 1990’s.

That’s about it that is absolutely critical to me. There are WordPress solutions that have some or most of what I’m looking for with various plugins, but none that I’ve found that have it all. (and I do rate aesthetics rather highly)

I recently came across a suite of applications that do close to exactly what I’m looking for, and more. It’s a commercial solution called WebAsyst and it is really close to what I need. Each function of the site is an additional charge as seen here on the pricing page, so you only have to order what you will use.

I would only be interested in the file option for $99 which would allow users to 1) sign up for an account, but to 2) sign up for a premium account it would probably require the ecommerce option which $299. Ouch. 3) It looks like users could create widgets to make certain files public, which would work, although not as easy as a one click, user friendly option I imagined. 4) Skip. 5) It does have a pretty decent looking interface, although the demo I signed up for was stocked with every option and it’s corresponding icon in the menu bar. That’s not how it would look for me since I would only be using one or two options. It might change the look considerably.

I fired an email off the the WebAsyst people to ask five questions, and while the reply was prompt, the answers I got really didn’t woo me into pressing the purchase button. My first three questions were answered (kinda) with two of them just stating something along the lines of “you’ll need customization help for that and we don’t offer that”.  My last two questions were just ignored.

So, this one went from a serious hopeful and quickly back to on the prowl mode again for this solution. I have to say the suite definitely has some promise, but if I’m going to have to customize the look and feel a bit, I’d much rather start with open source for that. I know there’s a WordPress solution out there just waiting for me to trip over it.