I started writing my “Secret Stash” php script as a simple DirectoryIndex skin and evolved it to a full-featured entity of its own. My client needed an aesthetic way of showing their assets. Previously, they would either send them to an open directory on their web server, or write a new HTML page every time they needed something more. Even though they had their workflow down to a series of copy and pastes, it was a lot of work every time there was a change. Especially compared to the system I gave them.
What I did was create a php script that created a parallel version of the open directory. The script used the same CSS and design cues from the main site, scraped the open directory and its subdirectories, and presented the clients files in a context-appropriate way. Subdirectories were grouped together, there was a widget to play audio files from the browser, videos could be played in-line, and images were thumbnailed and loaded in a lightbox. And the best part is that just maintaining the files was all it took to create the corresponding client site.
I added more features beyond that– like simple file maintenance through the web interface, and the ability to add comments to each file.
The script was flexible enough to be used for different kind of clients, significantly reduced the maintenance time, and also made it possible for anyone with an FTP client to create client sites.