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We're looking for the best approach (Linux, VMware appliance, etc) to sharing files over the web based on file structure.

We have files which are output in a structure by another program, e.g. /mnt/invoices/folder/CLIENT1/PROJECTX/WORKTICKET1. For this example, let's say there are invoices generated at each level of the folder structure. We were wondering if there was an easy way to "share" these files over HTTP/S (preferably with a web front-end for the client) that is password-secured. We don't want to have to add users for every single instance, but rather have some mechanism for auto-generating default accounts (with the ability to add new ones later) or auto-generate "registration tokens" so they can register with their own email addresses or something like that.

We also have another directory, /mnt/files/... structured in the same way. It's not a must, but if these could also be tied into the same accounts that would be great (they might contain msc. office docs/pdfs/etc).

Even if it had to read a TXT/XML file, I don't mind writing something like that out since we already have ClientIDs/other keys from our CMS/CRM.

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Well, you require users to authenticate by supplying a password, so it's not file-sharing, but rather access control. Sounds like what you want to achieve goes beyond what's practical to build using the facilities of the web server. Rather, you seem to be best served by an application.

Luckily, you're mentioning a CMS/CRM application in your description of the problem. This is where I'd start looking for possibilites of mediating access to the files you intend to share. Some server program would stream the files to client upon successful authentication (or within the session); or, alternatively, provide download URLs with an unpredictable access token and a short time-to-live, like one minute.

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