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GSoC: New sharing interface for ownCloud

August 20th, 2011

The development of ownCloud has increased rapidly in the past weeks and the release of 2.0 isĀ approaching. The media player branch was merged into master and the user interface has undergone huge changes. There are also many new apps in the works, including an addressbook, calendar, and bookmarks. I’m sure there will be more discussion on the new features once ownCloud 2.0 is released.

Sharing has already been merged in and I’ve been keeping up with the interface changes in order to integrate sharing with it. When I first announced that I felt that the sharing branch was functional and ready for some early testing the only way to share files was through a simple form using autocomplete to find the file you wanted to share. Since then it has transformed into a drop down that easily allows you to pick which files you want to share. Credit for the drop down interface idea goes to Jan Christoph Borchardt.

This drop down can be triggered by clicking on the share icon when you hover over a file or have multiple files selected. The icon changes dynamically if the file is already shared with a user or is a public link. In the drop down you’ll notice a select form, which uses Chosen to list all of the users you can share the file with. Once selected the user will appear below the select form and when you hover over the name you can give this user permission to edit the file or unshare the file from them. Right now edit permission means that the user can modify your file, but renaming only affects them and the user can’t delete the file. With folders it is a little different because the user can rename files inside of the folder with edit permission. Once versioning is implemented users will be able to delete files as well. It was decided that it was too risky to allow files to be deleted even with a separate permission at this time.


At the bottom of the drop down is a checkbox with the label ‘make public’. Checking this will generate a public link for the file for you to share with people without an account on your ownCloud. I’ve spent this last week merging the public links app into the sharing app and updating the public links appearance to the new interface. The public links app will be removed soon, now that sharing fully supports public links. However there will be some changes in how public links work in the future to make it a better user experience.

So, I would consider this Google Summer of Code project to be successful. I wouldn’t say it is complete because there are many more possibilities for sharing in the future, which I’ll talk about in a blog post next week. Please test out sharing a file in your ownCloud and contact me if you discover any bugs along the way. Hopefully this project will benefit ownCloud users and maybe even attract new users!

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  1. rrh
    August 21st, 2011 at 03:08 | #1

    Well done! ownCloud is really taking shape and I love new interface!

  2. Z
    August 21st, 2011 at 05:35 | #2

    Wow, this looks *good* !!
    Great job.

  3. August 21st, 2011 at 18:24 | #3

    New interface looks clean. very good.

  4. August 22nd, 2011 at 07:34 | #4

    Haven seen any previous versions, but the interface is very nice!

  5. j
    October 4th, 2011 at 13:46 | #5

    I just found OwnCloud and it is very exciting software. I recently tried OwnCloud 2 beta. Great job with implementing a sharing feature – that is a must have for a cloud server. I saw another post – “Managing shared files in ownCloud” and maybe this would help with preventing others from re-sharing a file. Is there a way to do either (currently with code we could insert into the php file or maybe in future versions?):

    1) Remove the users from the share list and only show groups? Currently the groups that show up in the share with list are only the groups that the logged on user is a member of. For example: James is a member of group 1 and 2. He only sees group 1 and 2 in is share with list and does not see group 3 and 4.

    2) Only display users that are also members of the same group as the logged on user. Example: Jim, Joe, and Susan are users. Jim and Susan are members of Group 1 and Joe is a member of Group 2. When Jim shares a file, he only sees Susan as a user to share with – he doesn’t see Joe (since Joe is not a member of Group 1). When Joe tries to share a file, he doesn’t see either Jim or Susan because they are not members of his group – Group 2. – Maybe this option would be an administrator setting – “check here to limit sharing to users that are members of the same group” or something similar so administrators can choose to display all users or limit the user list?

    Thanks again for all the hard work and for the great software!

  6. nic
    February 2nd, 2012 at 18:29 | #6

    Great UI to share files !

    It will be very interesting to implement public shared files protection with a password !

  7. andros
    May 13th, 2012 at 12:36 | #7

    OwnCloud works well for us with webdav in windows as a network drive.
    And because of the share module we can collaborate on our work together.

    But there is one major problem with this module. Because it is not allowed to delete files it is impossible to work together on office files.

    Office makes to it self know that one file is open by a user, with a invisible lock file in the folder you open the file. Because no one except the owner can delete this file this is a real blocker.

    Is it possible to make a patch for people who want have the possibility to make it possible to delete shared files?

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