Today the contributor conference started. Yesterday was more business oriented, today the “get things done phase” starts.
Jos opened the conference with a few words, Frank, Joe and Jane repeated their announcements of the Nextcloud box and 50 boxes are available to buy here at the conference for 70 Euro. The missing RaspberryPi is provided for free. Frank said, that he’s looking for a possibility to sell Nextcloud Box as a complete package.
I had no idea what to expect from this conference but something inside said to me
Go to Berlin, it’s important!
So I went to Berlin to attend at least two days of the conference at Technische Universität. The Berlin Technische Universität is one of the largest and most prestigious research and education institutions in Germany and for a whole week the center of the growing Nextcloud community.
The future of Nextcloud
In Frank Karlitscheks talk about the future of Nextcloud he also talked about sustainability and the way how Nextcloud will develop in the next 20! years:
During the talk, he showed Nextcloud 10 features und someone from the audience asked when this version with all these nice features will be released (easy answer, it was released a few weeks ago). In the meantime Klaas tweeted two feature request
Lukas Reschke talked about Nextcloud security architecture. I liked the idea that the same developers who wrote the code are responsible for fixing their own bugs.
Bjoern Schiessle is working since four years on the federation subject and showed an overview of the ideas behind the concept and it’s future.
In Nextcloud, it’s possible to share your files with a remote user. A remote user is a user in another personal cloud installation that supports the federation concept (e.g. Nextcloud, OwnCloud, Pydio). To share a file you have to insert the cloud ID of that user [username]@[domain] and Nextcloud sends a notification to the remote user. The remote user can decide whether he wants to accept the share.
You find your own Cloud ID in your Nextcloud profile page. Share it!
Oli Sennhauser (FromDual) gave a talk about MySQL database scalability. The interesting thing for me was that he was not familiar with the Nextcloud software. So he asked users and developers in the audience questions how Nextcloud is handling this and that. Based on the answers he described possible problems and solutions.
After the lunch break I missed half of Arthur Schiwons talk about User Management in Nextcloud. Nextcloud has a variety of authentication mechanisms needed to fit comfortably in the diverse enterprise authentication landscape. I learned some new abbreviations: LDAP, SAML, ODP, ….
Nextcloud Scalability with a concept design for 10.000 users
This talk was interesting too because Dennis Pennings (360ict.nl) is planning to set up a huge Nextcloud installation. He researched a lot about possible solutions and he had plenty of question that were discussed at the end together with Frank and the audience.
So I installed Nextcloud Server and the Nextcloud iOS App and the OS X desktop client. I’m syncing my photos and other files and I’m so happy that everything works. I mean, not in the way “Yeah, it works somehow and I like it because it’s open source software and they are the good ones”. No, it’s more like
It works fine awesome, the data is were I need it! I don’t have to think about!
But the best thing is …
There is more to discover and there will be much more in the near future!
I discovered Nextcloud Apps! They are hidden behind the little + in this popup.
I didn’t know, that there is a whole ecosystem behind that little +. Beside the shipped apps there will be a whole new App Store created by Bernhard Posselt and many other contributors. As far as I know the Nextcloud App Store will be fully operational from the Nextcloud version 11 release (will be in 2016) on. The beta version is already online and it looks promising (https://apps.nextcloud.com/).
Before we talk about the future let’s have a look what is already available. The core nextcloud server package comes with official apps, which are developed by Nextcloud directly and with approved apps. Approved apps are developed and supported by the community and approved by Nextcloud as “so good” to ship them with the core package.
Official Apps – Enabled by Default
The following Apps are official and enabled. They are the real core package of your Nextcloud Server. Because they are necessary and simply working I didn’t pay a lot attention when I installed Nextcloud for the first time but it’s worth to have a look what the whole core system is about.
Activity is a kind of Facebook timeline. You can see, ordered by date, all your shares, comments, favourites, uploads and the activities of remote users who are connected to you via the federation system.
Auditing / Logging
Logging is necessary and in this case it’s about PHP. You can choose what to log and you can download the log file to look for the reason of the entries.
Every user can tag files. The tags are stored and offered to all the users. It’s a great feature for your personal cloud or for teams. If you run a bigger installation with plenty of users that didn’t know each other you should disable this app to avoid confusion.
Yeah, it’s possible to comment on files
This app enables users to restore files that were deleted from the system. Restoring a file also restores related file versions (versions app has to be enabled).
Federation allows you to connect with other trusted servers.
The file sharing app implements the whole process of sharing files within Nextcloud server.
First run wizard
This app enables the popup that appears when a user logs in for the first time.
The app send notifications for example when you receive a remote share.
I uploaded most of my books to have enough to read …
Enables external systems to communicate via API with Nextcloud. For example the url http://admin:firstname.lastname@example.org/ocs/v1.php/cloud/users-duserid="joecool"-dpassword="secret" creates the user joecool with the password secret.
Information about current CPU load, memory usage and active users.
Create a new file online and write something! The screenshot is a gif animation including a problem that is solved by Nextcloud itself … have a look!
You are already wondering about the nice orange color on top of the screenshots?
Now I’ll start to play around with the “not enabled” official apps and will come back soon with a new blog post.
tl;dr: The Nextcloud ecosystem is an amazing collection of useful apps and it’s growing and improving every day. Have a look at it!
After installing Nextcloud Server und Nextcloud iOS app last week, I noticed that there was no Nextcloud desktop client for OS X available on their website. One of the most important things in my personal cloud is the synchronisation between my Nextcloud server and my desktop. The reason for the missing desktop client was simple. The existing OwnCloud client worked perfectly together with Nextcloud 9.x and it was not an easy for the Nextcloud team to fork the desktop client.
After the upgrade to Nextcloud 10 I noticed that Nextcloud desktop clients for Windows and OS X were available and I was quite happy.
In this blog post I’ll show the installation and configuration of the Nextcloud OS X client.
The downloaded file is called Nextcloud-22.214.171.124.pkg. With a double click on the name you start the installer.
Just click the Continue button and go through the Installation. You can accept the default values.
After the Installer finished the installation you can start the Nextcloud desktop client by searching the app in Spotlight Search,
or click on the Nextcloud icon in Launcher,
or click on the app in the Applications directory in a Finder window.
Nextcloud Connection Wizard
When you start the app for the first time Nextcloud Connection Wizard will help to setup the connection between your server and your desktop client. First insert your Nextcloud server address and click the Next button.
Next question are user credentials. Insert your username and password and click the Next button.
These values are enough to connect and the connection wizard asks what you want to synchronise and where your local folder should be. I want to synchronise everything and the folder name is ok.
Click the Connect button.
Everything is set up now and you are asked where to go now. Access your Nextcloud Server in a browser window or open a local Finder window with your synced data.
Depending on the amount of data you are syncing it might take some time until all files are downloaded. A good possibility to have a look at your desktop. You probably see your new Nextcloud folder with plenty of green sync symbols and the Nextcloud icon in your menu bar on top of the screen. If you click the blue Nextcloud icon, a menu opens and beside other options you see how long syncing will take and how much data is involved.
That’s it! My data will be synchronised between Nextcloud Server, the iOS app and my Desktop!
You can add as many user accounts as you wish. They will be all synchronised!
My personal cloud consists for now of the Nextcloud server, the iOS App and the OS X client. All my photos and other files are now synchronised.
What has changed is the version of Nextcloud server. The iOS app works with both versions well (9.x and 10.0).
So how to upgrade the server?
A first look in the admin dashboard tells me, that there is no update available and my version is up to date.
I know it better because I read the release announcement and they say there is a new version! The sad truth is that the Updater in Nextcloud 9.53 doesn’t work. Unfortunately it is not possible to upgrade to the next version via a button click! The Updater will be fixed as soon as possible and I know it is a lot of work but for me and my personal cloud it will be a challenge.
Upgrade on shared hosting
As you know, I’m running my Nextcloud on a shared host and I installed it via the amazing web installer. Because of the broken Updater I have to do the Manual Nextcloud Upgrade as described in the documentation. The general workflow is the following:
Backup files and the database is in general a very good idea!
Move all Nextcloud files to a backup directory or simply rename the Nextcloud directory to [name]_old.
Don’t forget to backup/save and copy back your data directory (see first comment from Luke).
Download and unpack the new Nextcloud files in the [name] folder.
Copy the /config/config.php file from your saved version to the new version
Depending on you hosting environment you can copy the files via command line, FTP or a tool like cPanel.
Now access your Nextcloud in a browser. The installer will show the database update screen. Click the Start Update button.
Plenty of update steps will be shown
and … your done! That’s it! You will be redirected to the login screen.
Have you noticed? The form fields are shaking if you try to login with wrong credentials
In the admin area you can check the Nextcloud version … and … it’s Nextcloud 10 – congrats!
Don’t forget to delete the old files and hopefully this was the last time that we have to do an upgrade like this :)
As promised in my last blog post I’m back with a few experiences concerning Nextcloud Server, the Nextcloud iOS App, managing photos and of course the whole sharing thing.
Nextcloud iOS App
Over the last days I took some photos with my mobile. The upload to my personal cloud (Nextcloud) works perfect. Inside the iOS app is an area for photos where you can see them ordered by date. You can touch, swipe through, favorite and do basically everything that you expect on a mobile.
If your iPhone is low on space it’s possible to optimise the situation by removing the photos after upload and store just optimised versions inside the iOS app. I can confirm, that it saves space (of course I have the “cheap” 16GB version).
Managing and sharing Photos in the Browser
So far I have no Nextcloud client on my MacBook. At the moment I only use Nextcloud in my browser. When the iOS app uploads the photos, they are all stored in one folder (photos). In Nextcloud core is an app called gallery and an app called gallery+. Gallery+ is a fork of gallery and seems to be more modern.
Gallerie+ provides a dedicated view of all images in a grid, adds image viewing capabilities to the files app and adds a gallery view to public links. Compatible with Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 10+
To be honest I don’t understand why they are delivering two gallery apps in core. Just enabled gallery+!
[UPDATE 2016-08-28 – see first comment] The gallery app (without the +) is the way to go. In Nextcloud 10, the gallery+ app ist not anymore shipped!
Features of Gallery+
Upload and organise images and albums straight from the app
Large, zoomable previews which can be shown in fullscreen mode
Sort images by name or date
Per album design, description and copyright statement
Image download straight from the slideshow or the gallery
Switch to Gallery+ from any folder in files and vice-versa
Ignore folders containing a “.nomedia” file
Browser rendering of SVG images (disabled by default)
Meanwhile I have a few more photos and it’s easy to create additional folders and drag the photos into these folders.
You can switch at any time between the gallery and the file view.
Tags, Comments and Favorites
It’s possible to add tags and comments to a photo and mark it as favorite. All favorites are behind the Favorites link.
Of course you can also rename, download and delete photos.
After organising my new photos I want to share them.
This is in general possible by creating a share link and send it to your friends. The interesting thing for me was the amount of possibilities to share in the share dialog.
Sharing with other personal cloud users
It’s possible to share your photos with a user or a group in your Nextcloud installation. Depending on your environment this could be for example your family, your friends or a project group. We haven’t talked so far about a federation of clouds (a topic for another blog entry) so just accept the fact that it’s possible too to share your photos with a remote user. A remote user is a user in another personal cloud. There is a standard for that so it doesn’t have to be Nextcloud. In this case you have to insert the [username]@[domain] and Nextcloud sends a notification to the remote user.
The remote user has the choice to accept or decline. If your share is accepted you get an email notification (if it’s configured in the admin area and if you provide your email address).
All shared items are visible behind the links Shared with you, Shared with others and Shared by link.
I noticed that remote users cannot see comments, tags and favourites.
Share with the public via link
The other possibility to share photos is via a public link. You can create the link in the share dialog. If it is super secret, you can set up a password and if if it should be a temporary link you can setup an expiration date.
This is the link to the bicycle photo on top … try it!
It might be necessary to configure some settings in your admin dashboard to allow all those features.
Since a few days I use the Nextcloud iOS App, Nextcloud Server and the Gallery+ App to manage my photos. So far it works well. Next step will be to install a client on my MacBook to sync all the photos.
tl;dr: You can manage and share your photos via Nextcloud
After you managed to create content, you need to think about how displaying it. This sounds simple but it is quite important. In the last chapter we created an article and featured this article on the frontpage. Visitors can see the article only by visiting the front page.
The standard frontpage (Home) has the menu item type Featured Articles. When you access the Main Menu in Menus → Main Menu you probably noticed the little “home” symbol. It means, that this menu contains the link to the front page (Figure 1).
You have different configuration options while editing the Home link. The featured articles menu item type offers leading articles, intro articles, columns and links. To understand how it works, we need a few articles. For the sake of simplicity in our example, just copy your first article. The copy process is possible in the Save dialog and in a batch dialog. Select the article you want to copy and click the Batch icon (Figure 2).
If you have more than 4-5 articles (don’t forget to “feature” them), you can try out the different options. Go to Menus → Main Menu → Home and take a look at the Layout tab. You can see one leading article, three intro articles in three columns (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Layout in Home menu link
On your front page it appears like in Figure 4.
Categories, tags and menu links
Joomla offers three possibilities to structure your content: Categories, Tags and Menu links. Each article belongs to one category. Categories can be nested. Menu links can point to articles or categories or they can point to a set of articles as with the featured articles for the frontpage. You can add an unlimited amount of tags to each article.
This simple and easy extendible structure offers amazing ways to display content.
As you already know, Joomla!’s templates are offering positions. Positions are places where you can place your content and your navigation elements.
Joomla!’s content display system is the arrangement of modules and the components on predefined templates positions. Each page can have exactly one component and an unlimited amount of modules.
Categories can be created and managed in Content → Categories.
Menus can be created, managed and filled with links in Menus → Manage (read more about creating a menu in chapter 4 – It’s all about users, permissions, modules and articles)
A navigation on top
An empty Joomla page has a “Main Menu” at position-7 in the default template. In the Protostar template position-7 is in the right sidebar, but let’s assume, we want to have the main menu on top. To achieve this goal, go to Extensions → Modules → Main Menu and move it to Navigation position-1. In the Advanced tab change the value of Menu Class Suffix to “ nav-pills” (there’s a white space at the beginning!) (Figure 5).
It will change the class attribute in the HTML code and when everything is correct, your navigation should look like in Figure 6.
Articles in categories can be displayed in “blog style” like on the frontpage or as tables of articles. Both are highly configurable. You just need to check out a few menu item types.
With these few tools you can create amazing layouts.
To run your own personal cloud you have to install the server component somewhere. After that you can access it from everywhere in the world with every suitable device. The best and most personal scenario would be to do that on your own machine in the place where you live. It is possible to do it on a PC or even a Raspberry Pi but unfortunately the upload speed of many internet connections is not high, so often this option isn’t an option. For example in the little village in France where I live the upload speed is 0.8 Mbps.
The second best choice is a shared hosting environment. You have to pay for it (<10€ per month), it’s easy to handle and managed by the hosting company. Usually you can create databases, FTP users and more features.
You could also go for a cloud or a dedicated server but then you have to deal with server updates and configurations and it’s probably more expensive.
The easiest way to set up your personal cloud in a shared hosting environment is the Nextcloud web installer.
The Nextcloud web installer checks the dependencies, downloads the Nextcloud files from the official server, unpacks it with the right permissions and the right user account. Finally, you will be redirected to the Nextcloud installer.
You’ll find it in the download area (https://nextcloud.com/install/#instructions-server).
Download the file setup_nextcoud.php, upload it to your shared hosting environment and point your web browser to http://[your_domainname]/setup-nextcloud.php.
The Nextcloud Setup Wizard appears. Click the Next button.
Now you have to decide if you want to install Nextcloud in the current directory (enter a single “.” to install ), or in a subdirectory (default name is nextcloud).
I want to have my personal cloud in the current directory so I enter a dot.
Now the web installer loads all the necessary files from the Nextcloud servers and tells you that Nextcloud is installed. Click the Next button.
Next step is to decide whether you want to use SQLite as a database or MySQL/MariaDB. The advantage of SQLite is that it is inbuilt in PHP and if you have a shared hosting without a database SQLite would be the way to go. But for performance reasons, especially when using the desktop client for file syncing the use of SQLite is discouraged.
Because I want to do exactly this I decided to create a database and a database user in cPanel (administration tool of my provider) and use it for my personal cloud. Fill the fields with the db credentials and choose a username and a password for the admin account. Click the Finish setup button.
Your database will be used and configured by the Nextcloud setup wizard and after that you see the big welcome screen.
Your Nextcloud server is now ready to use. You can use apps to sync your data from your mobile and your desktop.
But before we install clients, have a look around. Behind the link with you name in the right top corner are most options to configure your personal cloud. In the left top corner are the active apps. You can add more apps by clicking the +. In the middle of the screen are the default folders Documents and Photos with some example files. In the left bottom corner is a settings link which displays the possible settings depending on the page you are. Remember that you are now connected as the godfather of users with all possible administration rights.
It’s a good idea to create a user account for each “real” user in your cloud and leave the admin account for administration purpose.
Create a user
Creating a user is simple. Click on your user name -> users and add the desired person. You just need a name and a password. Then you can logout and login again as a “real” user. When you click the same menus as before you’ll notice that it’s not possible anymore to add apps or configure your personal cloud.
Even if we haven’t configured anything else, it’s possible to use your personal cloud. You can play around and upload a file via your browser.
I’m using an iPhone, so I install the Nextcloud App(0.99 Euro) to sync my files and automatically upload my photos from my mobile to my shiny new personal cloud. In the app you can just enable the camera upload.
BTW – this is the first photo I took after activating the photo upload and it simply worked. #mehappy
What have I achieved so far?
I was able to setup the Nextcloud server on my shared hosting space. I installed the iOS app on my mobile and configured the automatic camera upload.
My photos are now in my personal cloud!
For today it’s enough, I’ll take a few photos in the next days and come back soon with my experiences.