Exploring a New Filepicker Feature – MD5 metadata call

- May 27, 2014


The increasing prevalence of mobile technology in today’s world is making life easier for some, while adding confusion to the lives of others. Tech savvy individuals understand many of the changes going on in mobile access, data sharing, and file transfers, but not everyone understands how things work.

Filepicker’s new MD5 metadata call feature is one of those advancements that confuses some and is second-nature to others. So let’s explore the basics of this new file transfer feature.

What is MD5?

MD5 is short for Message Direct algorithm 5. This is a widely used cryptographic has function that was developed in 1991 by Ronald Rivest. The algorithm takes random data and generates a fixed size “hash value” as an output.

No matter how large or small the input data is that is being transferred, MD5 helps create a fixed size output value during transfer.

Metadata

When information is downloaded and files are transferred, how do you know you are getting the exact file you are looking for? Metadata is used to help better identify the data that is being downloaded. A file being downloaded or transferred is the actual data. The metadata is the identifying information.

Use in FilePicker

MD5 metadata calls in FilePicker make it easy to share files across multiple platforms. Rather than dumping all your information in one place, FilePicker makes interoperability easier. MD5 metadata calls help ensure file integrity during transfers. Each file gets its own unique hash. This way, even if two files are the exact same size and type (for example an executable file), the MD5 hash will be unique.

That unique hash makes it easier to identify individual files during transfer. Also, an MD5 hash allows you to check the integrity of files after downloading. An MD5 hash should be generated before and after downloading. If they match, the download went smoothly with no data loss.

FilePicker saves you time and sanity by doing the legwork for you. Instead of generating those codes yourself, the new MD5 metadata call generates codes for you to verify download integrity.

How it Works in the Real World

A recent FilePicker user was able to take critical business functions to the cloud effortlessly with the help of MD5 metadata calls. Case in point: The Organic Bloom, a custom picture frame company.

“Our print lab has an API which requires, among other things, a file hash. I am so pleased with your product and with this new feature, because it allows me to keep all the image processing and analysis off my server. Working with you will allow us to scale much more effortlessly.”
-Tim Summerer, Web Developer, The Organic Bloom

The interoperability of FilePicker allowed the custom picture frame company to move image processing and analysis functions off their server in a manner that preserved file integrity. Data can reliably be shared through the cloud without taking up space on the company server, and making it easier for that company to scale up in the future.

To see it in action, have a look at our documentation.