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
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.