Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New in ownCloud: An overview

Note: This entry got a lot longer than I thought it would. There's just been too much new stuff recently and I cannot cover it all in the depth it deserves. Any questions, comments, concerns are greatly appreciated in the #owncloud channel on freenode. Lots of developers hang out there and it's a good place to ask questions and get help.

I need to get better at not waiting for features to be finished before blogging about them. There's been so many new things in ownCloud in the last few weeks that I didn't know where to start. Here's an overview of all the new stuff. Hopefully I'll expand on it in future entries:

Contact syncing:
It's finally in! One of the new apps that's recently made it to master is PIM syncing over CardDAV. With new installations (the database structure was changed for it). It's still a work-in-progress but it's in master and improving rapidly.

Tomahawk Media Player Resolver:
If you haven't tried tomahawk yet, here's your link: http://tomahawk-player.org/. They recently released version 0.2.1 and it comes with an Ampache/ownCloud resolver. That means that music stored in ownCloud can now be played in your desktop player. Right now you can't browse through the collection, only search for items you have in owncloud but browseable collections should make an appearance soon. Either way, it's an amazing media player that aggregates music from almost anywhere.

And it's not the only player that can play media from ownCloud now. Anything that uses the Ampache API can also hook in. This means Amarok, Winamp, VLC and Android & iOS devices can also hook into the ownCloud media good-ness.

ownCloud now also supports bookmark syncing. I'm honestly not sure what the state is of this right now but I'd imagine it's related to the rekonq announcement of using ownCloud for their bookmarks (http://adjamblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/rekonq-1-feature-a-week-3-and-4/).

The sharing branch was also finally merged into master, giving fine-grained control over who can see what and what they can do with it. Think of standard linux ugo rwx permissions in the cloud. It's incredibly useful and I'm not aware of any other cloud services that offer this. Plus, it also includes the public link functionality of the old sharing app but in a much nicer interface. Check out http://blog.gapinthecloud.com/2011/08/20/gsoc-new-sharing-interface-for-owncloud/ for more info and screenshots. Many thanks to MTGap and Google for sponsoring his work this summer.

Lots of interface improvements:
Every day, it seems, there are interface changes. Polishing, bug fixing, making sure it works on multiple browsers... JanCBorchardt has been working like crazy, along with others, to make sure ownCloud is as intuitive and easy to use as possible.

We now have shapado (a very full-featured, open source Q&A service) integrated into a few places in ownCloud. Any time a question is asked, it automatically posts to the #owncloud IRC channel, giving it a much higher chance of being answered than questions posted in other places. We also have a help section in the ownCloud web interface that uses the Open Collaboration Services (OCS) api to display questions and they're answers. It's been very helpful and I highly recommend checking it out at http://owncloud.shapado.com/.

There are also branches for calendar syncing, a desktop file syncing client & a new dark theme for those who prefer it.

Beyond that, we're now in polishing/bug-fixing mode in anticipation of releasing ownCloud 2.0.  We haven't quite hammered out a schedule yet but we will hopefully announce an alpha release in the very near future.

Thanks for bearing with me and I'll try and be more regular about posting.