S3 Browser: Amazon's adaptable data storage interface

Learn how to use the SS3 Browser and how to benefit from it.

Simple Storage Service (S3) browser is a client interface for AWS developers using Amazon S3 service. Its user-friendly GUI aids them in managing buckets of files of any size. The browser can be used as an interface for Amazon CloudFront.

In a previous tip, I showed you how to create a bucket policy for a bucket that you own. If you are the owner of many buckets, you may wish to edit the original bucket policy for each bucket.

To make life easier when editing the policies, meet S3 Browser with its friendly GUI. If this is the first time you're using this browser after you download it, you must create a new account.

You will be prompted for

  • Account name
  • Access Key ID
  • Secret Access Key

The browser will give you the URL address where you can pick up your access keys that Amazon generates for you. Put them in a safe place.

You have the option to encrypt access keys with a password that you will need to get in the S3 Browser. When you're done, the browser icon will be placed on your home screen.

If you already have created a bucket policy for a bucket, you may choose to copy and edit it for another bucket. Here are the steps you should take:

To get to a policy you want to copy:

  • Highlight a bucket
  • Click Edit Bucket Policies under the Buckets Tab
  • Copy the policy in the editor
  • Click Apply bucket policies
  • Close the editor

To edit the copied policy:

  • Highlight the other bucket
  • Click Edit Bucket Policies
  • Paste and make changes to the policy in the editor
  • Click Apply bucket policies
  • Close the editor

You should test the bucket policy to make sure it works as you intended.

Another useful tool is the Bucket Sharing Wizard. You first create a new user and grant him permissions to your buckets and files. You click the button to take you to the next window.

Amazon generates Access Key Id and Secret Access Key. Click the button to copy the keys for that user (note: The free version of S3 Browser doesn't provide this option).

To edit the policy, click Identity Access Management (IAM) under Tools, then on the desired user in the left panel. The policy appears in the right panel.

Amazon CloudFront is a good choice for distribution of frequently accessed static content like popular website images, videos, media files or software downloads.

If this is the first time you're creating a CloudFront distribution, go to CloudFront in the Bucket tab. Choose a delivery method:

  • Download
  • Streaming
  • Live HTTP with Flash Media Server

You can enable logging of your distributions.

To edit, view, delete and create CloudFront distributions, choose CloudFront Manager under Tools.

The S3 Browser can process very large amounts of files up to 5 TB. If the upload gets interrupted, you can resume uploading. To find out whether the uploading has been completed or not, go to Tools, and then choose Uncompleted Multipart Uploads.

To ensure the files are not corrupted during downloading or uploading, check the data integrity of these files by following these steps:

  • Go to Options under Tools
  • Choose Data Integrity
  • Check off the boxes to perform data integrity
  • Choose the Strict mode, which treats the files as missing or invalid MD5 hashes (Message-Digest algorithm 5)

The above features are available in the free version of S3 Browser. Developers who want to run the application in commercial, business, government or military institutions must purchase a Pro version license.

You can get one lifetime license for installing S3 Browser on a single machine for $29.95. You can transfer the license if you change your PC. The license is lifetime and includes one year of free upgrades and support. Amazon offers volume discount pricing.

S3 Browser Pro allows you to upload and download multiple files at the same time. All files larger than 5 Mb can be uploaded via multiple parts in parallel. The free version allows up to two concurrent uploads and downloads.

To adjust the number of concurrent uploads and downloads, try this:

  • Go to Options under Tools
  • Click Queueing tab
  • Configure maximum number of concurrent uploads and downloads
  • Click OK

In conclusion, you've met S3 Browser. Get the Pro version to get the full benefits of the tools and options it offers developers.

This was first published in April 2014

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