Last summer it started with file sharing, now it’s time to share everything in ownCloud! This has always been in the back of my mind and now it has become a reality.
Sharing in ownCloud 4 suffered and had a bad reputation due to many issues. File sharing was hit by a number of bugs because of changes outside of sharing, and other apps started their own implementations of sharing. It was not always a satisfactory experience for the user. It was time to rethink how sharing works. The result is the new Share API in ownCloud 5.
The goal of the Share API is to provide a consistent sharing experience across apps and give developers the tools to easily integrate sharing into their apps. This is achieved by managing the shared content of apps in a generic database and providing a sharing user interface to be used by apps. App developers only need to write a small backend class, use the functions in the Share API to retrieve their shared items, and add an anchor tag in their user interface for the sharing user interface to be triggered. I’ll share more technical details for developers wishing to use the Share API in their apps in my next post.
Users should already be comfortable with the user interface, because it is almost identical to the one found in the older versions of file sharing. The select form has been replaced with an autocomplete search textbox, which now allows you to share with not only users and groups, but also contacts and email addresses.
Unfortunately, not everything is complete. Multiple apps need to be integrated with the Share API, private links need to be implemented, and there are many problems displaying the user interface due to style conflicts in apps. Please help out by testing the share_api branch and joining me in #owncloud-dev to complete the Share API and make it bug free for ownCloud 5.
I’m also going to the openSUSE Summit to give a presentation on ownCloud! ownCloud Inc. will also be sponsoring a party there on Friday evening. Anyone else going?