Sunday, June 28, 2009

Test Drive in Skydrive


This one is for the bloggers among my readers but actually everyone can find it useful.

You might have noticed recently how downloadable items in my blog appear. For example here is my unit tests presentation:

My file storage service is microsoft's Skydrive. Basically you can upload there any file you want and share it with everyone. This is a free service.

Generally I'm happy with it but here are some points to improve:

  • There is no direct link for download - users need to enter the "windows live" portal and download from there. I guess there is a traffic reason for this. But there may be alternatives, like having the link embedded in the consuming site with some logo/link to msn. Update: Tim Acheson has created an API to get the direct link.

  • The download link in the live spaces portal is not explicit enough. Yes, the file is just one click away, but the image does not look clickable enough and the "download" link is pale:

  • No statistics such as "how many users downloaded this file". Very important, in particular to bloggers.

  • The embedded files do not appear in feed readers (since they use IFrame):



  • If you will surf to

    before you'll notice it you'll be in

    which makes it hard to add skydrive to the browser favorites.

    I know some Microsoft employees read my blog so hopefully these issues will be resolved in a future release ;-)


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    Tim Acheson said...

    You can have a direct URL or link to a file on SkyDrive. It's there in the HTML of the web page whenever you click the download link.

    Furthermore, you can remove the "?download" query string from the URL to make it behave more like a normal URL.

    However, for some file types the direct URL is not permanent.

    In case this helps, I created an API to make direct permanent URLs to files on SkyDrive very easy:-

    I set up a working demo using SkyDrive to "stream" video onto a player embedded in a web page, which obviously requires a direct URL:-

    Yaron Naveh said...


    Great job!

    I have linked to your api in the post.