Collaborating on a Sparkle Document Via Dropbox - comments and questions

Comments and questions:

Sparkle files can be huge, I’ve got one that has grown to 300MB. Is there a way of keeping the file size down? I’m finding file syncing can interfere with the Publish process, looking at up to 20 minutes to publish small updates. Note we both reasonable internet connections - between 10mbps and 50mbps.

When the client makes an updates, the Publish settings get wiped and I have to re enter them. Is this normal and is there a way around it?

Security Certificate - I keep getting an invalid security certificate message, even though I have changed my SSL provider and generated a new certificate. Not sure why.

Hi @Chris,

file size is determined by the content you put inside files. Sparkle encourages you to use the highest resolution images you have because it allows for more editing flexibility, crisper images better optimization opportunities. Clearly though that directly affects file size. If you want to be super tight about images you can only ever drop in Sparkle the exact image size you will need. More in general you can avoid out of camera and raw formats, and limit the maximum size to say 3000 pixels because larger images won’t really be used (unless you know they are needed!).

But your file size might be huge due to the use of downloadable PDFs, video files, etc. Really depends on what’s in the file.

The publish settings can be made to stick around. The Sparkle project file contains a reference to a keychain entry, where the actual settings are stored. When you move a file to a different Mac, the reference is preserved, the keychain entry only moves to the other Mac if you are using iCloud Keychain. Clearly it’s not the case for a different person. If the file only ever goes from your client to you, and you add the publish settings, next time your client moves the file again to you, the file won’t contain the reference. The solution is to send the client a file that contains the publish settings reference, next time they send it back it will still work.

You need to provide more information about the invalid security message, no idea. What’s the domain? Is the certificate installed? Who’s producing the message? Screenshot of the message?

Hi Duncan,

Thanks for the thorough reply.


No videos or embedded PDF’s (yet), just .jpg, .png, .svg.

Image sizes: I generally optimise the hero / above the fold images to 2000px wide / .jpeg just because that’s what I’ve done for a long time to keep image sizes down.

I’m assuming all the rendered versions of the image are embedded in the Sparkle document, yes / no?

I deleted one page today and it reduced the file size from 300mb to 292mb. There were only 2 images on that page.

The Sparkle document is in a shared Dropbox folder and the client is not moving it from that location. We both work on the same file.

The Invalid Security certificate Invalid error message appears when I setup publish to website - from within Sparkle. The website is hosted on Siteground - in this case I did not set up the hosting package but it all appears to be normal.

This job is a live test to see how sharing a document with a client via Dropbox could be a solution to allowing the client to edit their own site with me keeping an eye on errors and doing large updates like add pages, navigation etc. And also teach them how to use Sparkle via Screen Sharing.

Reducing to 2000px wide is generally ok but for example the the hero on is losing quality due to that. Sparkle can size full-width images up to 1600px, and the corresponding 3200px retina image, and even the 1200px device version has a corresponding 2400px wide retina image.

All rendered variants of images are stored in the cache, which is in system folders on disk (you can open the Sparkle preferences to see the cache size), so not in the main document.

As mentioned for publish settings to work even after your client changes the file, the document needs to roundtrip with your publish settings in it.

The invalid certificate in that screenshot refers to the Siteground FTP server not having a correct certificate installed. That’s a security issue because potentially you could have someone be a “man in the middle”, intercepting your FTP connection with an also invalid certificate, and they would then be able to steal your password and publish something else to the site.

This is a serious security issue but many web hosts don’t care at all, so the fix is either to switch to SFTP if it’s offered (which is based on the SSH protocol that doesn’t require a server side certificate), or just accept that this is a problem and tell Sparkle to connect anyway.

Apologies for the late than thank you, but thank you again for the thorough response.

Switching to SFTP using Siteground is a real pain, they have not made it easy to do at all. I wish they would change their setup to make it easier to do SFTP. I like Siteground, but this is a sticking point for me, although all my sites are hosted on their servers,

@Chris, is the SSL a self generated certificate via the cPanel? I have done away with the third-party SSL Certificate generators because unless you purchase their “Windcard” (approx. $700/year) they do not cover “mail.”, “ftp.”, etc… just the domain.

So tell us, is your Dropbox experiment working with the client?..


When not using Cloudflare I buy SSL certificates from my Hosting provider for sites on my hosting account. Zero issues with that option.


So far the client keeps asking me to do the updates. Only one attempt in 4 months has been made by the client to make updates.

I am offering the same option to other clients now, basically offering them more control over their website and a little bit of training/support to get them started.

The experiment continues.

@Chris, That sounds great and thank you for sharing! :slight_smile:

Like you I have found myself just about always doing the website updates although having trained the client backed up with an instructional pdf. With the Sparkle built sites, like you, I am still trying a few ways…

  • If they have very minor updates (under 2 mins) I’ll let that slide
  • Assist them remotely to help them edit
  • They edit and I get access to the Sparkle file (iCloud Share) and check it over before re-publishing
  • Offer an edit and SEO package where by they give me the content and I sprinkle SEO amongst it before uploading - this is a monthly investment by the client

Depending on the client (and if they can’t see themselves updating the site) I’m pushing more and more the monthly retainer for 5hrs editing and SEO for the month where the 5hrs do not accumulate.