Box gets HTML5-powered drag-and-drop uploads

Storage service Box.net is now using HTML5 to bring drag-and-drop upload functionality to its users.

Storage and online collaboration service Box.net on Friday is introducing a new version of its site that lets users with HTML5-enabled Web browsers drag and drop files into their browser to upload them to the company's servers.

The company has long had a Java-powered drag-and-drop tool for uploads, but it's been slow to load, required users to have a recent version of Java installed, and put the drop zone in a pop-up window. Under the new system, users can simply drag files to any Box.net folder they're in, and it will start uploading in the background.

Despite the advancements that come with the HTML5 version, the Java uploader is sticking around--at least for the time being. Box CEO Aaron Levie, whom CNET spoke with on Thursday, said that the main reason for this is compatibility. To take advantage of the HTML5 drag-and-drop uploading, users must be on Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, leaving users of other browsers (notably Internet Explorer) out of luck. Levie also says that the HTML5 uploader can take a performance hit if a user is trying to upload a single, large file. In Chrome this limit is around 2GB, while on the current version of Firefox, files over 25MB will begin to slow things down.

Levie says that the company is hoping to build more HTML5 features into the site, including file management and uploading while offline. "We're excited on where that goes," he said, but noted that Adobe's Flash is still very much a part of some of the site's snazziest features. "The widget and document preview engine are still in Flash, and [HTML5] is so new," he said. "As penetration emerges on HTML5, you'll see us roll over everything that is interactive."

Box.net users who are on Chrome or the latest versions of Safari and Firefox can now drag files from their computer into their browser to begin an upload. Box.net/CNET
 

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