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Lets build mini Google Drive clone quickly

Sergey Todyshev
I am a software engineer from Russia
・7 min read

TL;DR you can find code at https://github.com/sergeyt/multidisk

I am going to show you how to relatively quickly build a small Google Drive app or kind of that. I know "Google Drive" may sound a bit provocative, but it is done just to raise some chunk of your attention 😄. Also believe me or not but I've done the app within few mornings (yep I am morning person 😄). Below is some details about what I've done and how.

High level idea

The idea is simple. I'd like to build a unified UI for all my drives. For sake of simplicity I selected only few platforms as a starting point:

  • Uploadcare - nice and quite new one with simple APIs and have free plan
  • Dropbox - I assume no need any introduction

Lets call it MultiDisk, it is like https://www.odrive.com/, but built for the Web using quite modern tech stack.

What I've done so far

In terms of features the app includes the following capabilities:

  • Allow managing multiple drives
  • Uploading, downloading and deleting files
  • At this point I've implemented drives for Uploadcare and Dropbox, but I'd like to add support for Google Drive, etc. Especially if the app gains some attention

You can just briefly watch this short video to have more vision about the features mentioned above.

Tooling

To build the app I've chosen the following tools:

  • TypeScript - I prefer having types from the start of any project nowadays. The reason for this could be discussed separately 😄. Maybe just because I started typed programming first
  • Uploadcare - new one for me, lets learn something new together
  • Next.js - no need any introduction as well
  • Material UI - good React framework with plenty of components. Maybe later I'll refactor the app to use Chakra UI since it looking promising to me too

All tools are well known to me except Uploadcare and Dropbox APIs. Great, it is a learning opportunity then.

How I've done this

My steps were:

  • Project bootstrapping
  • Drive abstraction
  • Uploadcare Drive implementation
  • Dropbox Drive implementation
  • Few UI pages

That is it. Lets dive in and cover each step with some additional text.

Project bootstrapping

According to this Next.js doc it is easy peasy as just running npx create-next-app command in your shell and you are literally done 😄

Drive interfaces

It is time for pumping this post with some code 😄. I've come up with the following interfaces to abstract any drive and its objects. These abstractions are needed to unify different storage providers.

export type ItemType = "file" | "folder";

export interface Item {
  type: ItemType;
  id: string;
  name: string;
  path: string;
  driveId: string;
}

export interface File extends Item {
  size: number;
  createdAt: Date;
  url?: string;
  download?: () => Promise<any>;
}

export interface Drive {
  options: any;
  provider: string;

  getItems(folderId?: string): Promise<Item[]>;
  deleteFile(fileId: string): Promise<void>;
  deleteFolder(folderId: string): Promise<void>;
}
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Implementation of UploadcareDrive

The API docs of Uploadcare can be found at https://uploadcare.com/api-refs/rest-api/v0.5.0/.

We will just use axios to make HTTP requests and I did not find any typed client for my needs. I happy to do a small NPM package for Uploadcare API client. I know about this one, but currently it is more focussed on uploading and downloading files and it does not cover all features of Uploadcare API. Maybe just need to request it on github 😄

import axios from "axios";
import { Drive, File, Item } from "../types";
import { checkResponseOK } from "./utils";

type Options = {
  type: string;
  id: string;
  name: string;
  publicKey: string;
  secretKey: string;
};

export default class UploadcareDrive implements Drive {
  private _options: Options;

  constructor(options: Options) {
    this._options = options;
  }

  get options(): Options {
    return this._options;
  }

  get provider() {
    return this.options.type;
  }

  get id() {
    return this.options.id;
  }

  get name() {
    return this.options.name;
  }

  axios() {
    return axios.create({
      headers: {
        Accept: "application/vnd.uploadcare-v0.5+json",
        Authorization: `Uploadcare.Simple ${this.options.publicKey}:${this.options.secretKey}`,
      },
    });
  }

  async getItems(folderId?: string): Promise<Item[]> {
    const resp = await this.axios().get("https://api.uploadcare.com/files/");
    checkResponseOK(resp);
    return resp.data.results.map(
      (f) =>
        ({
          type: "file",
          driveId: this.id,
          id: f.uuid,
          name: f.original_filename,
          createdAt: new Date(f.datetime_uploaded),
          url: f.original_file_url,
          size: f.size,
        } as File)
    );
  }

  async deleteFile(fileId: string): Promise<void> {
    const resp = await this.axios().delete(
      `https://api.uploadcare.com/files/${fileId}/`
    );
    checkResponseOK(resp);
  }

  deleteFolder(folderId: string): Promise<void> {
    return Promise.resolve(undefined);
  }
}
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Implementation of DropboxDrive

Dropbox has a wonderful docs with even interactive playground called API explorer. I've implemented the version of DropboxDrive that used short-lived token without refreshing token capability. Sorry about that, maybe next time I'll find a time to revise that.

Here a code of current version:

import axios from "axios";
import trimStart from "lodash/trimStart";
import { Drive, Item, File } from "../types";
import { checkResponseOK, downloadBlob, trimPrefix } from "./utils";

type Options = {
  type: string;
  id: string;
  name: string;
  accessToken: string;
};

export default class DropboxDrive implements Drive {
  private _options: Options;

  constructor(options: Options) {
    this._options = options;
  }

  get provider() {
    return "dropbox";
  }
  get id() {
    return this.options.id;
  }
  get name() {
    return this.options.name;
  }
  get options() {
    return this._options;
  }

  async getItems(folderId: string = ""): Promise<Item[]> {
    if (!folderId.startsWith("/")) {
      folderId = "/" + folderId;
    }
    const resp = await this.axios().post(
      "https://api.dropboxapi.com/2/files/list_folder",
      {
        path: folderId === "/" ? "" : folderId,
      }
    );
    checkResponseOK(resp);
    return resp.data.entries.map((entry) => {
      if (entry[".tag"] === "file") {
        return {
          type: "file",
          id: trimPrefix(entry.id, "id:"),
          name: entry.name,
          path: entry.path_display,
          createdAt: new Date(entry.server_modified),
          driveId: this.id,
          size: entry.size,
          download: async () => {
            const resp = await this.axios().post(
              "https://content.dropboxapi.com/2/files/download",
              undefined,
              {
                headers: {
                  "Dropbox-API-Arg": JSON.stringify({ path: entry.id }),
                },
                responseType: "blob",
              }
            );
            downloadBlob(resp.data, entry.name);
          },
        } as File;
      }
      return {
        type: "folder",
        id: trimStart(entry.path_display, "/"),
        name: entry.name,
        path: entry.path_display,
        driveId: this.id,
      } as Item;
    });
  }

  async deleteFile(fileId: string): Promise<void> {
    const resp = this.axios().post(
      "https://api.dropboxapi.com/2/file_requests/delete",
      {
        ids: [fileId],
      }
    );
    checkResponseOK(resp);
  }

  deleteFolder(folderId: string): Promise<void> {
    return Promise.resolve(undefined);
  }

  axios() {
    return axios.create({
      headers: {
        Authorization: `Bearer ${this.options.accessToken}`,
        "Content-Type": "application/json",
      },
    });
  }
}
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Application UI

MVP version of the app has only few pages and few dialogs:

  • Home page with list of drives
  • Drive detail page with list of files
  • New drive dialog
  • Confirmation dialog for delete actions

Home Page

We will use SWR for data fetching recommended by Next.js folks. The home has straightforward implementation. Here a full script of the Home Page:

import isEmpty from "lodash/isEmpty";
import useSWR from "swr";
import { getDrives } from "../core/store";
import Loader from "../components/Loader";
import Placeholder from "../components/Placeholder";
import DriveList from "../components/DriveList";

export default function Home() {
  const { data: drives } = useSWR("/drives", getDrives);
  if (!drives) {
    return <Loader />;
  }

  if (isEmpty(drives)) {
    return (
      <Placeholder>
        You don't any drives, but you can create one clicking on ADD DRIVE
        button
      </Placeholder>
    );
  }

  return <DriveList drives={drives} />;
}
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Where DriveList component is coded as follow:

import Link from "next/link";
import ListItem from "@material-ui/core/ListItem";
import ListItemAvatar from "@material-ui/core/ListItemAvatar";
import Avatar from "@material-ui/core/Avatar";
import DriveIcon from "@material-ui/icons/Work";
import ListItemText from "@material-ui/core/ListItemText";
import ListItemSecondaryAction from "@material-ui/core/ListItemSecondaryAction";
import List from "@material-ui/core/List";
import { Drive } from "../types";
import DriveMenu from "./DriveMenu";

export default function DriveList({ drives }: { drives: Drive[] }) {
  const items = drives.map((d, k) => (
    <Link href={`/drive/${d.id}`} key={k}>
      <ListItem style={{ cursor: "pointer" }}>
        <ListItemAvatar>
          <Avatar>
            <DriveIcon />
          </Avatar>
        </ListItemAvatar>
        <ListItemText primary={d.name} secondary={d.driveType} />
        <ListItemSecondaryAction>
          <DriveMenu driveId={d.id} />
        </ListItemSecondaryAction>
      </ListItem>
    </Link>
  ));
  return <List>{items}</List>;
}
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Drive View page

Also it is simple as it is:

import { useRouter } from "next/router";
import useSWR from "swr";
import { Box } from "@material-ui/core";
import { Widget } from "@uploadcare/react-widget";
import { getDrive } from "../../core/store";
import Loader from "../../components/Loader";
import ItemList from "../../components/ItemList";

export default function DriveView() {
  const router = useRouter();
  const { id } = router.query;

  const { data, revalidate } = useSWR(`/drive/${id}`, async () => {
    const drive = await getDrive(String(id));
    const items = await drive.getItems();
    return { drive, items };
  });
  if (!data) {
    return <Loader />;
  }

  return (
    <>
      <Box m={2} mb={2}>
        <label>Upload a file:&nbsp;</label>
        <Widget
          publicKey={data.drive.options.publicKey}
          onChange={revalidate}
        />
      </Box>
      <ItemList data={data.items} />
    </>
  );
}
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Where ItemList is coded as:

import isEmpty from "lodash/isEmpty";
import List from "@material-ui/core/List";
import { Item, File, Folder } from "../types";
import FileItem from "./FileItem";
import FolderItem from "./FolderItem";
import Placeholder from "./Placeholder";

export default function ItemList({ data }: { data: Item[] }) {
  if (isEmpty(data)) {
    return (
      <Placeholder>
        This drive is empty, but you can fill it out with something :)
      </Placeholder>
    );
  }

  const items = data.map((item, k) => {
    switch (item.type) {
      case "file":
        return <FileItem key={k} item={item as File} />;
      case "folder":
        return <FolderItem key={k} item={item as Folder} />;
      default:
        return null;
    }
  });
  return <List>{items}</List>;
}
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As you might noticed uploading file is implemented just using Uploadcare widget - another big time saver which is nice.

How I've done Dialogs?

Do you really wanna read the code for dialogs? It should be boring. And maybe it should be enough for this blog post 😄

Anyway you can be gone to the github repo and have some fun consuming additional bits of information 😄

Next Steps

Next time probably I'll try adding more features in the application like:

  • Google Drive
  • AWS S3 Drive
  • Framework-agnostic File Manager web component. Maybe using Angular elements
  • Folders
  • Just improving UX like making wizard to create a drive
  • Better authorization, maybe making official Dropbox or Google apps
  • Storing drive connections in Mongo Cloud to persist config across different devices (maybe paid feature 😄)

Enjoy! EOF 😄

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