S3 Browser offers a free open-source tool that allows you to connect to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service. With it, you can upload and download data to this online storage service as well as set your access control restrictions for that data.
More after the jump…
You need to sign up for an Amazon S3 account to use the software. You can do that at http://aws.amazon.com/s3. You will need to provide a method of payment, usually a credit card. Pricing is based on usage. The S3 service costs fifteen cents per gigabyte of storage per month and an additional twenty cents per gigabyte of data transfer. When signed up, Amazon presents you with a public and a secret access key. S3 Browser uses your keychain to store your Secret Access key.
To check on your access key, click the beige Your Web Services Account button from the any main AWS page, click it a second time from the Web Services Account page, and then choose AWS Access Identifiers from the pop-up.
The software has greatly improved since the last time I tested it out. It’s still very bare bones (perfect for anyone who wants to mod the source code into something spectacular) but perfectly adequate for my needs. I just select a folder I want to store to (a “bucket” in Amazon terms), double-clicking the name and dragging items onto the upload window. The software reveals the number of files, the total size to upload and prompts you to select the access control for those items (i.e. private or public data). To demonstrate, here are a pair of images, one private and one public.
Creating new buckets couldn’t be easier. Click “Add” and enter a unique name, e.g. EricaSadunTestBucket19Jan07. (The names cannot overlap with any other user’s buckets and most of the simple names have already been taken.) You can remove any empty bucket by selecting it and clicking remove. S3–and S3 Browser–will not allow you to delete a bucket that isn’t empty.
To summarize, S3 works great. It has everything you need to get started with basic S3 uploads and downloads. The keyword, though, is “basic”. There are no scheduling features. There are no “incremental” options. It’s all about doing it by hand and taking advantage of the open source code to develop third party applications that will do the good stuff. If you’re a developer, S3 Browser is a great place to get started with S3 development.