ownCloud Server 10.1 Release – A Big Step Forward in Digital Collaboration
What is the next step towards the future of online collaboration? This version of ownCloud brings new light to the way people are working together. A modern workplace with new tools moves teamwork to the next level.
ownCloud is not only a file sync & share solution, it is an effective way to work together. Today’s release includes many new collaboration features, such as Microsoft Office Online Integration, File Locking, and new options for file tagging.
ownCloud, a Collaboration Solution
The 21st century brought us many new ways of teamwork. The Internet allows us to express our thoughts in ways we never thought possible before. It created the information sector, and forever changed the way we exchange world views, work, or communicate how we want to live together.
There are many solutions out there to share our ideas and creativity for productive uses. ownCloud combines the best approaches to improve the usability and security of collaborative work. With this release, the following new features make it more convenient to work together:
Microsoft Office Online Integration
A big step forward is the integration of Microsoft Office Online Server, an on-premises collaboration tool for editing documents online, through the Web Application Open Platform Interface (WOPI).
It offers collaborative online editing capabilities for Office documents delivering great compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats. The user interface is very similar to what users know from the desktop version of Microsoft Office.
So without having to get familiar with a new user interface, users can directly become productive as the integration provides the same user experience you have with Microsoft products, with the additional benefit of storing the files securely in ownCloud.
To use the integration, you need a Microsoft Office Online Server and the WOPI ownCloud app, to connect it to ownCloud. ownCloud Server 10.1 is required for compatibility with the WOPI app.
In addition to Open Source solutions like Collabora Online and OnlyOffice, this integration makes ownCloud a versatile solution for collaborative content creation. Anyone can choose which tools fit their needs best.
File Locking aims to avoid file conflicts. When several users make concurrent changes to the same file using different editors (or editing sessions), file conflicts can happen easily. File locking provides exclusive access to one user (or one editing session) and prevents changes from others.
ownCloud Server 10.1 introduces the WebDAV HTTP API for File Locking. The new version also adds user interface elements to recognize locked files as well as to unlock them for the unlikely case when a lock doesn’t get removed cleanly.
Locking files is currently available via the API and is mainly used by the Microsoft Office Online Integration. More specifically, users can see when a file is locked (lock icon in files view).
While it is locked, others can join editing collaboratively, e.g. with Microsoft Office Online. Still, users can’t overwrite it by editing it with other tools.
Speaking about the future this feature sets the foundation for platform-wide file locking support. In a first step users will be able to manually lock files for a certain amount of time using the clients or the web interface.
Automatically locking locally used files can also be realized at some point. For users this will be beneficial as they can edit files with other tools, e.g. on their desktop, while ownCloud will take care to avoid conflicts.
With Collaborative Tags you can sort and filter your files. They are also a nice tool for administrators to link files with defined policies for security, compliance or workflows (File Firewall, Document Classification or Workflows).
In addition to the existing tag scopes, version 10.1 comes with a new scope for Collaborative Tags called “Static Tags”. Administrators can supply such a tag to empower certain groups of users to apply policies to files.
As such, every user will be able to see these tags assigned to files. But only users in specified groups have the permission to assign or unassign them.
To ensure certain data in shared spaces may only be used internally, administrators create a tag for “internal” data. They can then give a group the rights to classify certain files which contain, say, confidential information.
A Document Classification policy linked with the tag then prevents external sharing of tagged files. This is only one simple example. you can use Static Tags for versatile use cases with different ownCloud features.
Federation: Compliance With Future OCM 1.0 Specification
The open standard OpenCloudMesh (OCM) is an integral part of ownCloud. It enables different cloud platforms to work together seamlessly. Sharing data is not only possible between users of one ownCloud server. User can also share across ownCloud servers and even with users on other OCM-enabled platforms.
With this release, ownCloud is compliant with the future OpenCloudMesh 1.0 specification. The update to the new specification cleans up the interface and brings more stability. With this it sets the foundation for future feature improvements in cloud federation.
The switch to Semantic Versioning is another step that makes the lives of ownCloud administrators easier.
Starting with ownCloud Server 10.1.0, the version number of a new release clearly indicates the contents and upgrade procedures of new releases via version numbers.
Upgrade Process Respects Major App Versions
In line with the new versioning scheme, a minor server upgrade will not automatically install new major versions of ownCloud apps. This way, you don’t accidentally install an app with breaking changes before you had the chance to test it.
Additionally, the Market App now includes a version picker to enable administrators to choose which version of an app they want to install or upgrade to.
So What Are You Waiting for? Ah, Right.
This all sounds juicy. But before you upgrade to the new version, you should read the upgrade best practices in the documentation.
Are all of your apps already compatible with ownCloud 10.1? All of the apps maintained by ownCloud itself will work, but some community apps may not be compatible with ownCloud 10.1 yet. You can read more in the SemVer blogpost.
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