Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
The legacy of Layervault has yet to become.
I've seen, I think about now, around 30 different posts of Layervault. All about what to do now, now its gone and what maybe can solve the problem it used to solve. It is even mentioned countless times whenever a new similar product launches or adds a feature which is comparable.
However I have yet to see a post that really looked back at the situation with a different angle and pointed out what is missing. Yes, Layervault has failed and yes, its gone down. But it did leave a message and it solved a vague problem that has yet to fully flourish its potential to solvation so to say.
What do I mean? I have thought of version control many times over the years even before Layervault came around. This as it's a real problem in not only the web design community, but everywhere where programs use big binary or even bigger ascii files. Of course this mainly involves the 3D community.
Studio's use up incredible quantities of disk space with countless versions of their products all in various stages of development. This has always seemed stupid and what has been the solution for YEARS? Naming convention.... yes thanks for this solution... and yes there has been svn etc, but none are of which are ideal.
Back to the point is was trying to make. Layervault did do a job which was too vague and at the same time too specific. It fixed a niche problem with a price which was too high in a world where the big companies are fighting to trow multiple gigabytes of storage towards your eyeballs at no cost!
Layervault only supported a few file extensions while the world is exploding with new design tools, or new iterations which use improved extensions.
Layervault restricted you somehow, something a version control system should never do. Thus it failed.
So what DOES a binary file version control system need to do? It needs to be extremely dependable, it needs to be accessible (Github is doing this sort of by supporting various image formats, which you can instantly review), it needs to be extendible and it needs to be extremely clear. All of this at a extremely low price (you work with big files, this is your job, you didn't choose the file size it came with, you should't be punished for it).
Four pillars basically:
Dependability means you need to have control over what happens and where your data is (your own servers!), without worrying about data corruption or loss.
Accessibility means that change between whatever files, needs to be easily made visible, plus these files needs be easily recovered/located if necessary.
Clear means a graphic user interface that fits like a glove. Git is made for the coding world. Git has a command line interface, this fits this community, yes like a glove. Whatever design community, it is a whole different beasty.
Extendible means that whatever extension and file format a business can come up with, they themselves can extend the platform so that their product is automatically supported. Open source extendibility makes this future proof.
All of this boils down to this point. Layervault did not fail. Its service has failed but it did put up a sign. Version control for the designer community is real. This problem should not be a part of a business, it should be a business on its own.
I think we can safely say the whomever does this correct, can put down a second git or Github. And That will be the legacy of Layervault.
thanks for reading,