ownCloud development over December

favorites
New in ownCloud: favorites

As the second half of December took many people on holiday the bi-weekly reports have been folded into a full December overview. Despite the holiday period, with over 1100 closed issues including no less than 395 merged pull requests, this was not a quiet time. Certainly this has to do with the feature freeze which went in effect on January 1st! All features not in at that date will have to wait until ownCloud 8.1, while our focus is now on stabilizing and bug fixing. As usual, this report pulls together activities from development mailing lists, blogs, coding work and everything else community members share with us. Tips are very much welcome! Ping Jos with your input.

To catch up to what happened before, read the development update over the second half of November.

Highlights in December include the huge amount of work in Core merging features like favorite support in the Files app, improved server-to-server sharing, app-specific search, improved user management and more. There was also a a lot of accessibility work to make using ownCloud with the keyboard easier and groundwork was being laid for some serious changes to file handling by the desktop client and WebDAV. In app news, many improvements entered the Android app including the ability to sync entire folders. And of course the feature freeze went into effect on January 1st.

Core

Core had almost 200 PR’s merged, with a series of big new features making it in before the feature freeze. This includes favorite support in the Files app, improved server-to-server sharing, app-specific search, enhanced user management, UI design improvements and improved accessibility and many enhancements to the ownCloud API for app developers.
Favorites UI

New features

The following feature improvements were merged:

user management showing user back end
user management showing user back end

For developers

For developers, a series of changes will have a big impact on how they develop apps:

Design improvements

ownCloud aims to present a consistent, easy to use and pleasant experience to users, and the design team plays a big role in making that possible. In December, the following changes were merged in ownCloud:

Other changes

Some other changes include the exciting work on ‘direct download links’ which would allow the ownCloud client and other external tools to bypass ownCloud, getting data directly from external storage, which is very much a Work In Progress but can bring large performance improvements; and the similar work on direct file handling over WebDAV which brings chunked syncing (“only syncing file changes”) a little closer.

  • To improve performance of the clients with a wide variety of external storages, ownCloud gained the ability to give a direct download link to the client instead of piping all data through ownCloud. See more details here. For now only the base of this feature is here, much of the hard work still has to be done as there are many protocols to be supported thanks to the external storage support in ownCloud, and S3 and SWIFT are the first in the list of priorities (largely due to the fact they are HTTP based and, unlike FTP and most other protocols, usually not firewalled). This will be worked on in the ownCloud 8.1 timeframe
  • When handling files over WebDAV, one can now also work directly with storage, saving significant time and resources in ownCloud. But this change also requires significant changes, especially to the encryption code so this is still a WIP and a more complete implementation will come with ownCloud 8.1. Note that this is also a first step towards chunked upload – something clearly many users want it as there’s a bounty of over USD 1000 on this already. As always – if you are interested in hacking on this, join the conversation! These and similar changes planned/under discussion related to storage are being tracked here
  • credentials are now only stored in the session if required
  • This PR reorganized the encryption folder structure to make encryption more robust. This simplifies the code, speeds up operations but touches encryption all over so it can use some good testing!
  • The passwordsalt config value in ownCloud was deprecated – developers are urged to use the ICrypto interface.
  • AdamWill  made Google Drive external storage more robust by improving the dealing with non-unique filenames and folders. GDrive supports having several files and folders with the same name – but this confuses ownCloud.
  • improvements in the authentication part of logging fixes some known and perhaps even unknown issues
  • Performance of reading encrypted files got faster thanks to caching the keys

mail

New and improved ownCloud apps

As usual, the ownCloud apps, both those included in ownCloud or otherwise hosted in our github repo as well as those on apps.owncloud.com were the subject of much attention and improvements. We should point out that many app developers push code directly to their apps rather than working via Pull Requests and thus their work goes unmonitored by this development digest. There is a lot more work going in than you read here!

If you, as developer, would like to ensure users and other developers can follow what is going on, send me an occasional email with what you’ve been up to!

chat app

The Android Client

I highlight the Android client because it merged many improvements, the most important of which are below.

bookmarks app

In the app store

On apps.owncloud.com:

  • New is the files_hubic app which provides external storage support for the hubic file storage service
  • Also new is OPDS Catalog, bringing OPDS support to ownCloud so users can access books and other electronic publications from their ownCloud on OPDS compattible devices like FBReader/CoolReader/Aldiko on Android or Marvin/KyBook/Stanza on iOS. The OPDS Catalog author quickly released a series of updates so the app is (at the time of this writing) at 0.4
  • And third newcomer is the Pre-Login Validator. This tool allows you to allow or deny users at login. After a proof-of-concept on December 1st, an update was made with a series of rules later in the month. Check it out!
  • The user_servervars app was updated with a avatar mapping, plugin table and removal of group binding references. This App provides with binding between HTTP server variables and user attributes required for some SSO platforms.
  • The Ampache server was updated to 0.4.4
  • ownCloud SMS got some minor fixes
  • The News app updated to 4.3.2 as a preview for ownCloud 8 (but can be installed on ownCloud 7 – note that it requires some manual work).
  • Passman also updated and is now at 1.3, bringing a variety of bugfixes

If you want to get involved in coding on ownCloud, be it on apps or in some other way – check out this page!

Mailing lists and planet ownCloud

Some of the many changes for developers as mentioned in the Core section above were also discussed on the mailing list: deprecated functionality, and another one on that subject, work on improving php classes and tests, changed paths of vendor JS libraries, and more. Other notable conversations include:

You can join the discussions on this page.

On December 5th, we had a bug triaging day, which was announced on the testpilots list. Otherwise, discussions on the testpilots list centered around testing releases and results.

The events mailing list hosted conversations about Chemnitzer Linux Tage in Germany, a GSOC meetup in Stuttgart and an ownCloud assembly at CCC. If you think events are missing and you want to meet fellow ownCloud users and developers at ownCloud meetups or see us at conferences, find a calendar of ownCloud events on owncloud.org/events. check out this page on how to get involved.

On Planet ownCloud:

Please note that if you’re an ownCloud contributor, you should get your blog aggregated on owncloud.org/news! Ping Jos with your RSS feed.

We hope you enjoyed the read!

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