Tutorials

Is Google Drive Too Slow? Try this pro tip…

The first time that you sync your files with Google Drive can be a doozy. This is especially true if you are a web developer or graphic designer who likely has tons of smaller files nested within your shared folder. While each file, may upload quickly the system has to check each individual file for changes and then upload them individually, which really slows down the upload process.

A quick intro to Google Drive (solution not in video)

The Solution

Exit out of Google Drive on your local computer if it is running; you will re-enable it once the files are in their proper locations. Then, group your files into separate zip files and then upload them to your drive manually before you start the syncing process. For example, I zip my files in my WAMP directory one website or app at a time. This helps to consolidate things like giant JavaScript libraries while maintaining an easy-to-organize file structure.

Unzip!

Once the files upload, simply unzip them right in the Google Drive online interface. To unzip files, you just need to add an app that can process zip files.

Add an app to Google Drive

Click the + symbol in the upper left corner and then go to More > Connect More Apps. Then choose an app like Zip Extractor, or another app that has good reviews. Once you add the app and grant permissions, you will then be able to right click on zip files and extract them right in your browser.

Reorganize the files

Make sure to move the zipped files into their proper locations within your Google Drive folder so that the system can match them up with your local files. The end goal is to have matching files and folders in both your local and remote Google Drive folders before you tell it to sync. Then, turn on Google Sync and let it match things up! In my tests, this reduced the sync time by over 50%, but keep in mind that this works best if you have a large number of small files, as most website developers, application developers and graphic designers do.

About Valier

Valier (pronounced “Va-leer”) is a boutique graphic design and website development studio focused on creating unique projects for unique clients. We work with companies and individuals that are pushing the boundaries within their industry and are looking for a partner in media development that can inject life and creativity into their marketing presence. With over 10 years of experience in the graphic design and website development industries, Merritt Lentz (Founder), has a proven track record of producing successful and innovative projects for a wide variety of clients ranging from artists and ski companies to government agencies and payment processing companies. Regardless of the size or complexity of your vision, we will help you hone in on a digital actualization of that vision and deliver a product that is rich and captivating.

How to use Google Drive and WAMP to Develop Websites and Applications on Multiple Computers

Creating the ideal local development environment is a key component of being an efficient developer, but it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error to create the website development environment that works best for you. One important component of this is finding a way to share files between your various dev stations so that you can quickly switch computers and pick up where you left off. For me, I prefer WAMP and Google Drive as my current weapons of choice. This may change over time, as it has many times before, but for now the following important tasks are accomplished with this workflow:

  • I can develop a website quickly without having to deal with FTP uploads
  • I can utilize popular tools like an SCSS preprocessor and Chrome Dev Tools to quickly see code changes persisted into the browser
  • All of the files that I want to share between machines are shared, and the files that I don’t want to sync are left alone
  • I am able to accomplish this with minimal additional cost as Google Drive includes ample storage with my existing plan

Step 1: Install WAMP

The first step, if you haven’t done this already, is to set up WAMP on your local machine: http://www.wampserver.com. I won’t cover how to install WAMP in this article as it is really straightforward and there is sufficient documentation on their website.

Step 2: Install Google Drive – Google Backup and Sync

Note that you will have to pick a storage plan that fits your storage needs. I am getting by on the 30gb plan that comes with my Google account. Here is the current location for this bad boy: https://www.google.com/drive/download/

During the installation process, you will be asked whether you want to backup folders from your Desktop (I chose not to) and whether you want to “Sync My Drive to this Computer.” The difference here is that My Drive is a special folder that is used for syncing files between multiple devices and the cloud, while the “Desktop” option will only backup your selected files to the cloud. For the purposes of this demo, you will want to choose to sync My Drive. You can also choose to just sync certain folders in your My Drive, which is recommended as it will help you organize your dev files from your standard shared files.

Step 3: Configure WAMP to use the Google Drive for syncing

Now that you have both apps up and running, its time for the fun part:

  • Go into your WAMP directory (for me I chose to install WAMP directly in my C: drive), click on the “www” folder, and then CTRL+C to copy it.
  • Navigate to your Google Drive folder. This is your My Drive folder that was set up by Google Drive during the installation process.
  • Paste the “www” folder in this directory, or in a subdirectory if you prefer to add an extra layer or two of organization.
  • Go back to your WAMP directory and go to bin\mysql\mysql5.7.24. Copy the “data” folder
  • Navigate back to the Google Drive folder where you pasted the “www” directory, and paste your “data” folder there.
  • Start WAMP, click on the tray icon, then go to Apache > httpd.conf to open it in a text editor:

Replace DocumentRoot and Directory variables to point to your new “www” location. In my case, these are on line 263 and 264:

  • Save that sucker, then open up your httd-vhosts.conf file using the same method as you used to open the httpd.conf file. As you can see in the screenshot above, they are right next to each other in the WAMP tray menu.
  • Replace DocumentRoot and Directory variables to point to your new “www” location. In my case, these are on line 6 and 7:
In this screenshot, you can see an example where the “www” folder has been nested inside a “Sync” folder. You can place this file wherever you want really. The important part is to make sure that you replace the variables with YOUR www directory location.

SWEET! Now WAMP is set up to look for your files in the Google Drive directory. Now lets get it set up to look for your databases there as well. Open up your my.ini file from the WAMP tray icon:

Replace the datadir variable to point to your new “data” location. In my case, this is on line 47:

Save that file, then restart all WAMP services. That’s it! Your done! Well…kinda. You still need to test it out. You could create a simple test.html file in your new www folder and then navigate to it in a browser. In my case, the URL for the test file would be: localhost/test.html

Syncing with other computers

So now you have one computer that shares its key WAMP folders with the cloud. To also have access to these on another computer, you need to follow the exact same steps as the steps above on each computer. The only difference is that your directory for the “www” and “data” folders will likely be unique for each computer.

Parting notes

When I was setting this up, I ran into a small issue – my file permissions prevented Windows from starting Apache and MySQL. To fix this, you just need to navigate to your Google Drive folder, right click, go to “Properties > Security > Advanced > Enable inheritance.” This process may take a while depending on how many files are in your My Drive folder, but it should fix the permissions issue.

About Valier

Valier (pronounced “Va-leer”) is a boutique graphic design and website development studio focused on creating unique projects for unique clients. We work with companies and individuals that are pushing the boundaries within their industry and are looking for a partner in media development that can inject life and creativity into their marketing presence. With over 10 years of experience in the graphic design and website development industries, Merritt Lentz (Founder), has a proven track record of producing successful and innovative projects for a wide variety of clients ranging from artists and ski companies to government agencies and payment processing companies. Regardless of the size or complexity of your vision, we will help you hone in on a digital actualization of that vision and deliver a product that is rich and captivating.