When Jenn and I were travelling in Europe, we often tinkered with some side projects. These required uploading large files regularly. The files were 99% unchanged from upload to upload. For example, a ZIP file with a node.js app, or a JAR file with a Scala app, where the bulk was made up of third-party dependencies that never changed.

Still, in our Edinburgh apartment with its 50KB/sec upload rate, this meant a several minute delay every time we wanted to push a change. Worse, the Internet was unusable while the upload was happening.

I wondered if there was something like rsync for S3, but couldn’t find anything. So I made a tool for faster S3 uploads, s3patch. It uses xdelta3 to ship diffs to servers in AWS, which then reconstitute the final thing and upload it to S3. This tool is probably most helpful to people working on questionable wifi, so home-based folks and digital nomads working out of cafes.