I’ve been looking for a good solution to synchronize my data across different devices I use forever. At university (where I both studied and worked for quite a while), we often used SVN for collaboration. My problem is of course not unique to me: File synchronization plays an ever more important role, Internet connections become faster and more ubiquitous, the device spectrum expands. After using it for a bit, I ran into a few problems, some of them simple bugs (most of which seem to have been fixed), some UI issues, and also a lack of integration. With this solution, we can cover a range of devices, providing a consistent operation and Look & Feel and share code to keep development costs down. Having a clear idea how we want to go forward, and an agreed-upon plan de campagne, we sat down to implement all the designed goodness. I’d be most grateful if distro packagers would pick the new ownCloud Plasma client up at this point, package it and allow users to test it (with the necessary warning signs of eating pet and firstborns attached, of course). Of course if you’re interested in contributing to the client directly (in the form of code, UI design, bug fixing, polishing, performance, etc, you’re also most welcome to do so.
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I want to create a public folder (like Dropbox) in my owncloud installation where I can put files that others can access without having to create an account. Questions on Web Applications Stack Exchange are expected to relate to web applications within the scope defined by the community. Tick Share with Link and share that link with anyone that you want to or you can use the mailing feature to email the link to those who you want. Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged owncloud or ask your own question. Feeling pressured to publish thesis results by advisor I don't want to work with anymore.
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The need arose when I got my first laptop (next to my desktop machine): I wanted to be able to work on my projects on both devices without having to manually copy files between the machines. There’s value to using the same tools in more places, so I put all my files into an SVN repository and used that for synchronization. Where people have been using one computer for all their electronic communication and computing needs, it now spreads across different devices, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, media centers, and likely many more form factors we can only dream of today (or maybe not even that!). Mirall’s UI is a “standard systray application”, it always sits there in the system tray, shows its status and allows you to set up directories (“Folders”) for synchronization with the ownCloud server.
Klaas was quick to split out the synchronization mechanism from ownCloud into its own shared library, and I started working on the bits needed for the Plasma client: The sync daemon, the UI components used by the configuration modules and the Plasmoid, and of course those UIs themselves.
There’s still quite a lot of work to do, but the basics work, and getting feedback helps me prioritize what to work on first to get this into the hands of our dear users.
In this article, after giving a bit of background of the problem, I explain the design concepts behind the new ownCloud Plasma client and demonstrate how it works and integrates with different Plasma workspaces.
It turned out to be actually quite a hard problem: Sure, you can work on your stuff on a remote machine, and thereby always work on one version of a certain file. Eventually, I moved these private data repositories to Git, as I grew more comfortable with this tool and it allowed useful things like offline commits and synching between “client devices”, not just between client and server.
Devices jumping between network infrastructures doesn’t make it easier, and the most flexible solution seems to a central server – multiple clients model.
Mirall’s UI, however bears all the traits of a “traditional” desktop application: It’s unsuitable for touch interfaces, abuses the system tray as task switcher and overall not quite up to modern UI standards we use in Plasma.
As a bonus, doing the UI in Plasma Quick means it’s easy to hack, easy to contribute for others. Progress has been quite good, I quickly got the synchronization daemon up and running, and could move to implementing the various pieces of user interface needed.In the process, I’ve created a bunch of patches to Mirall, some of them merged, others still in the review queue. Not an automatic process, also not the most beautiful solution to the problem as it wasn’t quite as automated as I’d have liked it to be. As Mirall is geared towards portability (it’s the official desktop client for Linux, Mac and Windows), it lacked good integration into Plasma — the usual lowest common denominator problem).


In a BoF session, we sat down, talked about what we’d like to see improved and started designing a KDE Plasma client for ownCloud, based on the Mirall code base. They’re mostly fairly trivial, splitting out a bit of QWidget-based remainders from the daemon (and thereby cutting down its size considerably), and extending the API (in a backwards compatible way) to allow better status display and control from the user interface “satellites”.
The plan is to ship a first stable version with the release of Plasma Active 4 in March, which will also mark the availability of the desktop client.
After running “kbuildsycoca4? (or relogging in), you can enable the Plasma widget through your notification area configuration. I needed files to be synched, and was looking for a more or less automated that worked both offline and online.
Also, as computing became more portable, I needed something that would also blend in well with with all the devices that produce, collect and are supposed to carry my data. Its server side performs well enough to be able to run it on even woefully underpowered hardware such as NAS systems or other embedded devices. I took a look at the Coda Filesystem, which seemed to solve this problem well, for others at least.
More importantly, it gives you full control over your data, which is nice and important for private use, and often a hard requirement for institutional use cases, such as document management and sharing in a company.
It was a bit of a pain to set up (and understand how it exactly worked), but after a bit of fiddling, I had copies of my stuff on different machines. It seemed to work initially, but later turned out to be a little bit too brittle for my use cases (I don’t quite recall the details, but eventually, I gave up on it because it meant more or less constant maintenance, and still it wasn’t quite as bullet proof as I had hoped it would be.



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Comments

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