A shortcut to my files in macOS

Ryan Hanson
Jun 25, 2020 · 3 min read

Maybe I’m weird, but I‘ve never been that excited about the first party apps for Google Drive and Dropbox because I like to keep my cloud drives in the cloud and separate from my local drives. The official apps are built around syncing and integrating with Finder and I found myself always using the browser instead. HighTop started out as a shortcut for me to access my Google Drive directly in the menu bar, and it grew into a pretty full featured client for Google Drive and Dropbox.

This quick access to my cloud files was so convenient that I ended up adding support for local folders, and it saves me some serious time putzing around finding files.

The Philosophy

The primary idea behind HighTop is to have a quick, simple way to access your files that feels tightly integrated with macOS, whether the files are in the cloud or local. If you boil down the HighTop functionality, you get a file tree listing of your files with full drag and drop support and right click context menus. There’s more to it than that, of course, but in my opinion it is a perfect balance between all of the current solutions to this overlooked problem. Really lightweight but intuitive and familiar — built to be used alongside Finder and other apps.

As opposed to a traditional file browser like Finder where you have access to all folders on your machine, HighTop requires you to select which local folders you want to add to the app. This began as a design based around Mac App Store sandboxing restrictions, but it’s a limitation that I actually prefer. My brain is more efficient when I work in specific directories, and having my Desktop in HighTop is crucial. Sure, you can use a trackpad gesture or keystroke to reveal your desktop, or you can add any folder to the dock, but HighTop is just so much more convenient for me. I love having quick access to screenshots after they’re automatically saved to my desktop.

Google Drive and Dropbox accounts are accessed directly and securely using official libraries. This means that there’s no server in the middle that stores your files or file metadata, unlike other apps that give you access to these cloud services. Uploading and downloading files and folders can be done with drag and drop to the app, to the dock icon, to the menu bar icon, and with keyboard shortcuts or right clicking within Finder.

Sometimes having a file browser in the the menu bar is incredibly convenient. Sometimes it’s not. That’s why I’ve made it really easy to switch between the menu bar and a windowed app with a dock icon. You can use keyboard shortcuts, a button, or even just drag the view away from the menu bar.

I’ve got a lot of features planned for HighTop that I’m pretty excited about now that I have a solid foundation in place, but I’m always open to new ideas. Feel free to send feedback to support@hightop.app.

Ryan Hanson

Programming. Daydreaming.

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