6 Best Online Platforms for Hosting Your Projects
By Abhinav Gandhi
Completed your dream project? Built something interesting or useful with the scrap lying around the house?
Want to show it off to the world and/ or help others make something similar? Here are 6 easy and fast methods to show off your projects, for tinkerers and professionals alike. Start documenting projects you work on to get better visibility and to collaborate with talented people around the world.
Arguably the best platform for documenting projects that are software/code intensive. Its great for people who are familiar with code. There is a learning curve for people like me who don’t know too much about writing code. One of the advantages of using their services is that they have an offline app as well, where you can edit your code on the go without internet and your changes will be committed to the repository once you are connected to the internet.
The best part about GitHub is their organisational architecture for all your files and folders which I feel is very clean and intuitive. The service is free if you want all your code/files to be public. However if you want to keep some of your files/repositories private you will have to get a paid account.
Our site is about 2 years old and has an active maker community of over a 150 enthusiasts. They have a readership of 300,000 people every month and boast connections with a lot of individuals who actively support the Maker Movement. Their efforts to instigate the Indian Maker Movement have not gone unnoticed.
Posting your nightly builds and hacks on their website is super easy as the DIY Hacking community plays an active role in helping you structure your tutorial in the way you want it to. It might be a bit more time consuming than your average Instructables like platform, but they will ensure that your tutorial is unique and looks great.
Apart from that, they have an active slack channel which can be used to get help from experts in various fields. According to some of their users, they’ve also got some great SEO stuff going on and turn up in the top three results on relevant google searches!
This is one of the go-to websites for all makers and tinkerers. The site has projects and hacks for all sorts of arts and crafts, food related hacks as well as the usual spread of technology related hacks. Its been around for as long as I can remember and is now owned by Autodesk. The site has regular contests, that you can enter your Instructables in.
Posting your Instructables is pretty simple. All you need to do is setup an account and follow their step by step framework to publish your projects. I feel that this framework is slightly rigid, and not as aesthetically pleasing as a continuous blog post or a web page.
If you are into aesthetics and creating an individual website/page for every project this is your best bet. Free, easy to use and heavily customizable. The aesthetics of your website would be directly proportional to the amount of time you spend on documenting projects. This might be a time-consuming approach for some, but is often the best way for documenting projects that are long term. You also get to choose your audience, so you can keep the website private or only choose to share it with a specific set of people. Another advantage is easy collaboration, just like Google Docs etc.
However, you are limited to about 100 Mbs of uploaded files, so if that seems inadequate you can either pay for some more storage or use WordPress which has a lot more options for customizing sites and requires some knowledge of HTML and web development.
GrabCAD is great for more hardware intensive projects. Projects that rely on specifically designed parts which need to be printed, machined or laser cut. You can also find a large variety of parts which can be customized for your needs. They have a large active community of designers and developers that are really helpful in case you need help with designing a part or figuring out the best way to manufacture your parts.
Thingiverse is very similar to GrabCAD and is great for hardware intensive projects, you can upload your design files and images into a project folder and write a description about your project. The thing that I don’t like about GrabCAD and Thingiverse is that posts cannot be customized much. And there are a large number of redundant/similar projects on the sites and there is not much active technical support provided by the developers of the website for the uploaded projects.
The above mentioned open source platforms are my favorite for documenting projects because of ease of use, freedom to customize and also because they are all free! Have I missed something? Go ahead and post other platforms and or methods you use for documenting projects in the comments section! Thanks for reading.