PairDrop – P2P file sharing in AirDrop mode in your browser

PairDrop – P2P file sharing in AirDrop mode in your browser
PairDrop – P2P file sharing in AirDrop mode in your browser

Today, I would like to tell you about a file sharing tool that you will like: PairDrop ! It’s like AirDrop in the web version and it works on all your devices, regardless of the OS. Smartphone, laptop, desktop PC, everything goes! The only condition is to have a modern web browser.

With PairDrop, you can send images, docs, text, whatever you want, in the blink of an eye. It uses a connection P2P (peer-to-peer for noobs) to directly transfer files between your devices on the same local network. And the best part is that you can also make transfers via the Internet to share with friends remotely!

To do this, simply join a temporary public room, and bam, all devices in the same room can exchange files. It’s super handy for sharing things quickly with people, even if they’re not on the same network. And of course, it works perfectly even if you’re on a weird network like public Wi-Fi, your company’s network, a VPN or something like iCloud Private Relay.

In addition to that, PairDrop manages complex connections as a leader. Like if you want to share something from your mobile in hotspot mode, no problem! Devices outside of your local network that are behind a NAT are auto-connected through PairDrop’s TURN server. This thing is magic!

You can also pair your devices via a 6-digit code or a QR code, this way, your devices can always be found thanks to shared secrets, regardless of the network. Pairing is also persistent, so even if you close PairDrop, you will find your devices when you reopen it. And of course, you can edit and unpair your devices in two clicks.

The files are transferred after validation of a request. And once the transfer is complete, if possible they are directly auto-downloaded. If you send multiple files, they will be zipped properly. On Android and iOS you can download, share or save to the gallery via the “Share” menu. And when you send several files at once, you even have a nice overall progress indicator.

Okay, and I haven’t yet told you about the other really practical functions that the devs have added. For example, you can send files directly from the context menu on Ubuntu (with Nautilus), on Windows, or from the “Share” menu on iOS and Android. There’s even a command line interface for the real bearded! You can also change your display name to easily differentiate your devices.

The little guys behind PairDrop have really thought of everything. Like you can paste files/text and choose the recipient afterwards and above all, your devices no longer go to sleep during a transfer. You’ll even get a warning if you close PairDrop by mistake during a transfer and there’s even a preview of the videos and audios!

It’s opensource too, so you can check out the code on GitHub and even contribute if you’d like. Well on the other hand, if you want to host your own instance of PairDrop, like on a Raspberry Pi, you will have to study the docs a bit to configure your STUN/TURN servers, but it is clearly within the reach of any geek. motivated. I’ll give you a tutorial if you want.

Techno-wise, we’re on classic but effective: HTML5, JS ES6, CSS3, PWA, all that. With WebRTC and WebSockets for the network part. A background in Node.js, because JavaScript is life. They also use IndexedDB for storage management, zip.js for file compression, cyrb53 for hashing, and NoSleep to prevent sleep. Only hairy, community-approved libs.

Come on, I’ll let you test this, you’ll thank me later.

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