Ask DN: Interest in open-source LayerVault-inspired software for designers?

5 years ago from , Creator of 2048; Freelance Designer & Developer.

Since today we're bidding farewell to LayerVault, and personally I haven't been able to find a worthy replacement (or at least one that satisfies my needs), I've been thinking more and more about developing an open-source alternative to it.

It would be based off of existing infrastructure. It could for example leverage GitHub's LFS, or Amazon's infrastructure for hosting the files. Naturally, it would be open source software and you'd have to bring your own subscription to those services for it to work, but it would surely cost less than a full-fledged service. If you already have a GitHub organization for your company, it's basically a zero-added-cost thing.

In my mind, it would offer the basics that we've gotten used to: a desktop client for syncing changes to whatever's behind the scenes (GitHub, Amazon), and a piece of software that would power the web-app to run on your own VPS, from which you'd get a web interface for version control, browsing and collaboration (very similar to what LayerVault offers) and which interfaces with whatever service you'd use for hosting the raw design material.

What I would like to know from you is: would there be interest in creating a community effort to develop something like this, and would you use it if it existed?


  • Kian LaviKian Lavi, 5 years ago

    I personally think this would be great. Short of Dropbox making their own design-oriented version control, this would be awesome.

    4 points
    • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, 5 years ago

      Well, they did just buy Pixelapse.

      3 points
      • James HarrisJames Harris, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

        Nobody knows what they're planning on doing with that, though. They might decide that adding too many of Pixelapse's features to Dropbox would increase the complexity of the product too much.

        0 points
  • Dominik SchmidtDominik Schmidt, 5 years ago

    Please count me in as a developer! Email is office at kreativgebiet.com and github is @iduuck

    3 points
  • Robin RaszkaRobin Raszka, 5 years ago

    Nope, Github works just fine.

    3 points
    • Andrew Michael ToddAndrew Michael Todd, 5 years ago

      I'd be interested in hearing more about your workflow as well. I hate github for version control for design.

      0 points
  • Qaid Jacobs, 5 years ago

    I would use and support this kind of project.

    Perhaps this is a project idea that could further grow and be built by the Assembly.com community?

    2 points
  • Andrew CiobanasiuAndrew Ciobanasiu, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    I unfortunately never truly used LayerVault to its true potential. I am kicking myself for not actually making the most out of the service.

    That being said, I'm very interested in a more powerful version control solution for design. From seeing the Precursor folks experiment with GitHub implementation, I'm thinking that there could be a way to do the same with more complex vector files. Raster images are a different animal from what I understand. But if SVG completely takes over within the next 5 years and gets the support it deserves (end pipe dream) it might be feasible. Oops, looks like LFS can already sort of do this.

    Most of the support I could offer would end with the last few digits of my credit card number.

    Still, a resounding yes!

    2 points
  • Dimitrie Hoekstra, 5 years ago

    This is something I am looking for as well. LFS got my attention, but now how to make it designer friendly and build upon its features

    1 point
  • James HarrisJames Harris, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    None of the current Windows-based visual version control systems meets my needs. I'd be very excited to see where this project goes!

    0 points
  • Sherizan SheikhSherizan Sheikh, 5 years ago

    I was introduced to Invisionapp for wireframing/prototyping by my colleague. And I was pretty impressed with the other features as well.

    They do have version controls, syncing raw files (.psd/sketch) immediately and importing assets all in one place.

    How is your flow like?

    0 points
    • Gabriele Cirulli, 5 years ago

      The idea is to get as close as possible to what LayerVault offered, then improve from there, also based on help from the community.

      This means a browsable web interface, seamless desktop syncing (this is actually the thing I care about the most) and collaboration with a completely free-form directory structure (as LayerVault also allowed), multiple designers and observers, discussions with hotspots.

      I'm also thinking of a timeline-like page for the first version, where you can see a feed of the latest works by your team. That's based on a lot of feedback I've been receiving from my teammates who would like to have a central place to track my progress.

      3 points
      • Dan MarrenDan Marren, 5 years ago

        Email me, if you have some time - I'd like to hear more/more detail of what you'd like to see in an open-source Son of LayerVault. dan at layervault.com

        2 points
  • Theus FalcãoTheus Falcão, 5 years ago

    Yes, I miss a cool service like this.

    0 points
  • Richard HassenRichard Hassen, 5 years ago

    Great idea!!! Yes & Yes. Please.

    0 points