iWebDAV connection

2 04 2013

There are lots of utilities connecting an iOS device with cloud services like Dopbox, iDrive or Google Drive. But Usually these apps cannot connect two iOS devices like an iPhone and an iPad.

Avatron Software Inc., USA offers an app where two iOS devices can be connected via WebDAV with some additional benefits like connecting to cloud services and displaying many well-known file formats. It’s called Air Sharing.

See my blog

WebDAV Basics
WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is a method that allows you to edit and manage files stored on remote servers. The comnection is based on the HTTP-protocol with extensions like creating folders and deleting files on the remote device.

for more information about this topic.

The features of Air Sharing …

Remote File Servers

Google Docs
Dropbox
MobileMe iDisk
FilesAnywhere (WebAdvanced account)
MyDisk.se
Other WebDAV servers
WebDAV over secure HTTPS connection when available
FTP
SSH (sftp)
Box.net
Access email attachments (POP3 and IMAP servers)
View documents directly (automatic local cache)
No Wi-Fi required

File Sharing

Auto-detects other users on same Wi-Fi network
Connects to Air Sharing on another device

File operations

Save images to Photos
Browse zip archives without unzipping
Delete, New Folder
Email attachments
Move, Copy, Paste, Duplicate
Get images from Photos
Download from URL (copy link in Safari, paste into Air Sharing Pro or HD
Zip (supports password-protected archives)
Print documents

Document formats

iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote)
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), subject to iOS compatibility
Web archives (web pages downloaded by Safari)
HTML web page
RTF (Rich Text Format) and RTFD (with embedded images)
Plain text (many file extensions) with auto-detection of character encoding
Source code (C/C++, Objective C/C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, XML, shell scripts, Perl, Ruby, Python, and more) with syntax color-coding
Movies, audio, and images (standard iOS formats)
PDF (even password-protected, with Search, table of contents, thumbnails, Go To Page

I agree to the developers announcement: These are tons of features.

An application …

Let’s see how it works, when connecting two iOS devices within the same WiFi network and transferring a document from Apple’s iWork suite from an iPhone to an iPad.

Consider the following situation.
You want to directly transfer a spreadsheet created with Apple’s Numbers to a colleague. The more complicated way would be to save the document on a cloud storage and share it with him by E-Mail. Keep in mind that iCloud doesn’t support direct sharing as it only syncs files across devices with the same Apple ID. The Apple ID personalizes the storage and hence a direct transfer between two iCloud accounts is not supported.

Establishing the connection …

Open Air Sharing on both devices.
The app will automatically connect the two devices using Apple’s Bonjour networking services.

Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of Zero configuration networking (Zeroconf), a group of technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution. Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local networking.

Using the Bonjour identification is convenient because it’s independent of the varying IP-Address you automatically get when connecting to a WiFi network.

If Bonjour is not available …
To establish a connection without Bonjour from iPhone to iPad you have to configure a WebDAV connection. Within Air Sharing app tap on ‘+’, select ‘Other WebDAV’ and enter the required data. To identify the remote device you must use it’s IP-Address.

Note
Both, IP-Address and Bonjour-Name are displayed on the remote device when tapping on the WiFi icon.

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Transferring files …

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What you see on the screens …

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Reading PDFs …

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Summary …

4 stars for a sophisticated app. You may find the missing star in deep space. It’s name is SMB!

A special feature I found very useful is mailing a whole folder. Avatron’s app automatically creates a ZIP-File and opens the mail client.

Thanks for reading my blog.
I appreciate your comments.





WebDAV basics

17 12 2012

For my readers, who are not experienced with all these technical aspects of today’s digital world I want to describe WebDAV and how to use it when working with iWork-Applications.

WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is a method that allows you to edit and manage files stored on remote servers. By linking to a WebDAV location from your iWork for iOS app, you can easily copy documents to and from a remote server or web service.

The protocol …

Quote (Wikipedia, modified)

A communications protocol is a system of digital message formats and rules for exchanging those messages in or between computing systems and in telecommunications. A protocol may have a formal description. Protocols may include signaling, authentication and error detection and correction capabilities.
A protocol definition defines the syntax, semantics, and synchronization of communication. Communications protocols have to be agreed upon by the parties involved.

Example …

The most popular protocol is our language with some fine distinctions:
It’s not digital and non-standardized. Nevertheless I hope you will understand this article.

The HTTP-Protocol …

If you access the internet e.g. put http://iNotes4You.com in the address field the communication between your computer and the webserver is based on http-Protocol. In simplified terms: You computer sends a message to the world wide web and normally gets an answer, the display of the requested website.

The HTTPS-Protocol …

Quote (Wikipedia, modified)

HTTPS provides authentication of the web site and associated web server that one is communicating with. Additionally, it provides bidirectional encryption of communications between a client and server, which protects against eavesdropping and tampering with and/or forging the contents of the communication. In practice, this provides a reasonable guarantee that one is communicating with precisely the web site that one intended to communicate with (as opposed to an impostor), as well as ensuring that the contents of communications between the user and site cannot be read or forged by any third party.

The WebDAV-Protocol …

This protocol is an extension of the HTTP-Protocol.
With a WebDAV-Connection (almost always via HTTPS) you can not only display informations but also manage files on webservers e.g. creating folders, copy files from your local storage to the webserver and delete files.

Getting access to a WebDAV-Server …

Via your browser go to a provider where you can get storage capacity.
If you want to use WebDAV-Protocol to save your iWork-Documents in the cloud ensure that your provider supports this protocol.
At the time Dropbox does not, but e.g. iDriveSync.
Later on you can configure access to the webserver in an iWork-Application like NUMBERS in order to be able to save and open documents.
Your benefit is:
You easily can share documents with other people, have full access via an iOS-, Mac- or PC-Version via client applications or via internet without installing any software.

Further information about Cloud-Services …

Application …

You can use a WebDAV-Server for saving iWork-Documents.

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Details …

After you’ve signed in to a WebDAV server, you can copy documents to and from the server without signing in again. You’ll remain signed in to the server until you tap Sign Out in the upper-right corner of this same window.

You can sign in to a different WebDAV server by signing out of the current server and linking to another one.

This description sounds easy. But do you have addresses and complex passwords in mind? Configuration of more than one WebDAV-Access is strongly recommended.

Fetching files from a WebDAV server …

With all your iWork for iOS documents closed, click the “+” icon at the top left of the display.
If necessary, navigate to the presentation you want to copy by tapping the folder in which it’s located. If no files or folders are listed, the server is empty.
Tap the name of the document you want to copy. The document downloads and opens in your iWork for iOS app.

Availability of WebDAV-Access…

The availability refers to the free versions of cloud storages.

USA Box https://www.box.net/dav
GER HiDrive https://%5BUser%5D.webdav.hidrive.strato.com
CH MyDrive https://webdav.mydrive.ch
SWE CloudMe https://webdav.cloudme.com/%5BUser%5D
GER CloudSafe https://%5BNumber%5D.webdav.cloudsafe.com
USA iDriveSync https://dav.idrivesync.com
GER DriveOnWeb https://storage.driveonweb.de/probdav
GER Telekom https://webdav.mediencenter.t-online.dev
USA TrendMicro n/a
USA GoogleDrive n/a
USA Drobox n/a
USA SugarSync n/a
USA Amazon n/a
CH Wuala n/a







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