Donnerstag, 24. Oktober 2013

Welcome "ownCloud Documents"

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the new features in ownCloud 6. I promised a special surprise in the coming weeks. And here it is. ;-)

In the past few month we have worked on a feature that will be super useful and popular. All the development happened in a public repository on github but we haven't talked about it in public and perhaps it wasn't obvious what it was for people who found it by accident.

I'm talking about collaborative editing! This feature is implemented in an app called "ownCloud Documents" and will be part of ownCloud 6. People can view and edit their ODF text documents directly in the browser, inside your ownCloud. Another cool thing is that you can invite users from the same ownCloud to work collaboratively on the same document with you. Or you can send invitation links by email to  people outside your server to collaborate with you on the document.

Several people can navigate in the same document with different  cursors at the same time and you can see the changes that are done by the different users in different colors. Every user is identified by the name and the nice avatar picture that we also introduced in ownCloud 6.

We implemented this feature together with our friends from KO GmbH. The browser part is based on WebODF with a new ownCloud backend to load, save, share documents and a system to distribute the document changes.

This feature is special in several ways:
  • It runs purely on your server. No communication with centralized services like Google -- so your data is always protected against surveillance.
  • We didn't introduce any new server requirements here. Just take  ownCloud and put it into your web server document root and you have your own collaborative editing server. This is far easier to install and run than for example Etherpad.
  • All the documents are based on ODT files that live in your ownCloud. This means that you can sync your documents to your desktop and open them with LibreOffice, Calligra, OpenOffice or MS Office 2013 in parallel. Or you can access them via WebDAV if you want. You also get all the other ownCloud features like versioning, encryption, undelete and so on. This is very unique I think.
  • All the code is completely free software. The PHP and the JS components are released under the AGPL license. This is different than most other solutions. Some of them claim to be open source but use creative commons as a code license which is not free software.
Please note that this is only the first version of this great feature. Not every ODT element is supported but we are working on improving this considerably in the future. We will invest significantly in this because we think that this is a very important feature that is useful for people.

More information about this feature including a demo video and all the other new ownCloud 6 features can be found here:

ownCloud Documents is part of the ownCloud 6 beta 1 that you can download here: 

Thanks to the awesome ownCloud community who implemented this innovative feature. Special thanks to our friends from KO GmbH. It's great to work with you. And thanks to ownCloud Inc. who sponsors the development of free software.

ownCloud is built by a great community with a completely open  development process. Everyone is welcome to join us and help to build software which can protect all of us from surveillance. Please join us at if you want to make the world a little bit better.


Edulix hat gesagt…

I have to say: thanks you! Now I will push to use owncloud instead of etherpad in my wadobo servers! =)

Komodoro hat gesagt…

Do you guys know what you have just done?
You guys are simply breaking the bounderies here.
Awsome idea. And I bet it was a difficult work...
Thanks guys.

olunet hat gesagt…


Ricardo Barberis hat gesagt…

This is simply amazing!

I just recently found out about WebODF and was thinking integrating it in ownCloud would be a really cool idea.

Nice to see you thought so too!

spawn57 hat gesagt…

This is awesome, great work guys!

Jason Raveling hat gesagt…

This is great! All the work the ownCloud team has done is amazing! Thanks for the continued efforts!

Jason Raveling hat gesagt…
Dieser Kommentar wurde vom Autor entfernt.
Alfonso E.M. hat gesagt…


Is ODS collaborative edition in your roadmap?

d-fens_ hat gesagt…

i generally like the idea but this should be only merged when a state of the software is reached when most of the ODF formatting can be edited, please don't throw in new features too early when they are not ready for primetime!
This would lead to a image of featuritis thats hard to get rid once a project has the smell of it.

Owncloud should first try to make the core feature - file syncing - rock solid and more reliable. Especially with multi devices on the same folder and on mobile devices the sync should use just the block based delta syncing like the others competitors do before adding new features, please!!!

lefty.crupps hat gesagt…

Excellent news!

1, Will this work within the Android ownCloud app? or only in a browser? or only in a browser for now, but eventually in the app?

2, Will there be a FirefoxOS ownCloud app? Will this be a part of it eventually?

dr. Equivalent the Incredible II hat gesagt…


Thank you guys, thank you oh so so much!

Unknown hat gesagt…

this is another nice idea but you had many before and none of them is really well implemented
- deletion of a folder with more than ~200 files seems impossible
- emptiing the deleted items with more than ~200 items is a nightmare
- image sharing has still not the same cababilities than file sharing
- some file types break the search engine
- syncing of large folder structures is not reliable
- syncing of filenames with special chars (happens in music libs as example) still breaks things
- core apps like bookmarks are still beta, not maintained and buggy
- media and picture scan is not configurable, needs include/exclude folder feature

i tried different ways to contribute to improove this but without maintainers picking up on issues or pull request i give up.
at the moment ownCloud is not a place where i beleive i can put my files and sleep well

Frank Karlitschek hat gesagt…

Hello Mi. unknown. I'm sorry for the problems. It's a bit difficult to check what went wrong with your pull requests if you don't reference them here or say who you are. I think it is understandable that we don't merge every pull request. They have to be reviewed by core developers first. If you are still interested to contribute that please reference your patches here or on he mailing list. Thanks you.

Oda hat gesagt…

Great news!

In the same way, I've wrote a small app for ownCloud 5 that allows you to edit LaTeX documents collaboratively with etherpad-lite:

John McLear hat gesagt…

Congrats on this from the Etherpad foundation

Steve Bonnett hat gesagt…

Like the newer version much more.

Can't wait to get the music app back again.

Else love it very much.
Super Job !!

fname hat gesagt…

When do you release ownCloud 6?
I'm really looking forward to the stable version ;)


Frank Karlitschek hat gesagt…

@fname: No fixed date yet. Probably in the next 3-4 weeks.

STiAT hat gesagt…
Dieser Kommentar wurde vom Autor entfernt.
STiAT hat gesagt…

Hey Frank,

I'm just a little private ownCloud user, using it to sync contacts and calendar between Android and KDE, and hopefully in future Jolla with my server at home (like "having a backup" but at home ;-)).

It is so great, I just had to set up some URLs (and buy two programs for android :p) and it just worked with my small little underpowered server at home to keep my contacts and meetings safe.

Looking forward to extend that, since I start enjoying being the master of my own data :).

I bought the android app for ownCloud too without looking at the features. I think it's lacking the functionality I expected though, but it's worth.

Great though you provide such a great platform for free for private users who can't afford a business contract. I really enjoy it.

Didn't use the document feature yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

PS: get a donate button :p

fname2 hat gesagt…

I'm very excited ...
... when can we expect a final version?

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