Seafile Pro Server 5.1 Stable Released

We are happy to announce that Seafile Pro 5.1 is finished. This release includes the following major features:

  • Re-design of the Seahub web interface and usability improvements
  • Seafile Realtime Backup Server
  • Manage users into multiple institutions (workgroup model)
  • Automatic file locking for office files when a document is opened in the Windows desktop client
  • Accessibility improvements

Attention: In addition, the Django framework is upgraded to v1.8, which no longer supports Python 2.6. All users still running Python 2.6 must manually update Python to 2.7.

Please enjoy the new version and give us feedback.

Changes and improvements to the Seahub web interface

Nagivation

The new navigation reflects our current re-evalutaion of the importance of different features.

In the previous design we saw each group as a hub for collaboration with files and discussions for each group. There was a standalone page for each group with files and discussions on the same level of navigation. But the group discussions feature was not as widely used as we anticipated. It actually turned out to be a relatively minor feature.

The new navigation has a uniform left-side navigation that combines the files from mine, shared, groups and organization. Not widely used features like the group discussions are now hidden to make the file navigation easier and even more intuitive to use.

5.1-group-view

Grid View now available everywhere in Seahub

Bigger image thumbnails have been high on our users’ wishlist for quite some time. In combination with the improved image preview, a grid view helps to better keep track of files in folder or library.

Seafile Professional 5.1 sees the grid view now being introduced everywhere in Seahub. It’s no longer limited to just share links.

The view can be changed by clicking on the grid view icon in the file menu at the top.

5.1-files-view

Easier access to Library Operations

In Seafile Professional 5.1 operations for libraries like renaming, transferring and sharing as well as the history settings can now be accessed from the library listings page, just like operations for folders.

5.1-library-ops

Seafile Realtime Backup Server (Beta feature)

Please note that the real-time backup feature is currently still in beta state. Minor issues on the backup server, while unlikely, might happen. But this feature will not affect the functionality or data integrity of the primary server.

The Seafile Realtime Backup Server uses a syncing algorithm similar to the Seafile desktop client to retrieve data from the primary server.
Whenever a library is updated, the primary server notifies the backup server to retrieve the changed data. With a delta syncing algorithm, this procedure runs quickly and updates the backup server almost in real-time.
The backup server also checks all libraries on the primary server at a fixed period. Any new or updated libraries will be synced to the backup server. This will pick up any delayed updates due to glitches in the real-time syncing procedure.
The backup server always keeps the database and data directory consistent. So that no libraries on the backup server will be in a “corrupted” state (unless they’re already corrupted on the primary server).
The full history of all libraries will be backed up. This is different from the desktop client, which only syncs the latest state of a library.

If you are familiar with MySQL or another database, you likely know master/slave replication. Seafile realtime backup is exactly like the master/slave replication, except that it is for files (metadata and file blocks).

You can find more information about the Seafile Realtime Backup Server at http://manual.seafile.com/deploy_pro/real_time_backup.html

Multiple institutions support (“Workgroup model”)

From Seafile Professional 5.1 you can add institutions into Seafile and assign users into institutions. Each institution can have one or more administrators.

This feature makes user administration easier when multiple organizations (for example branches of company or different universities) share a single Seafile server instance. Unlike multi-tenancy, the users are not-isolated. A user from one institution can share files with another user from a different institution.

You can find more information about this feature and how to deploy it at http://manual.seafile.com/deploy_pro/multi_institutions.html

Accessibility improvements

We want to make sure that Seafile can be enjoyed by a wide range of people with diverse abilities and devices.

That’s why we will start working on responsiveness for the Seafile web interface for version 5.2 But responsiveness is just one aspect for including a wider range of users with different requirements. The other, even more important factor is accessibility support for people with disabilities.

We are aware that Seafile needs to improve in this aspect. That’s why Seafile Professional 5.1 will put down the groundwork for improving accessibility.

Here are the accessibility improvements we have done for Seafile Professional 5.1. More will follow in later versions:

  • Use standard checkbox instead of styled checkbox based on image
  • Make library/folder/file operation icons visible on focus
  • Make operation icons focusable
  • Add aria-label to operation icons
  • Make library/folder sort operations focusable
  • Add role (navigation, banner, main) to regions
  • Make dropdown menu items focusable

Other changes in Seafile Professional 5.1

  • Improvement for user auto-completion
  • Removement of group avatar
  • Improved file sorting for large folders
  • Remember the sorting option for folders
  • Use HiDPI icons for libraries and files
  • Auto-focus on username field when loading the login page
  • Don’t show share menu in top bar when multiple items are selected
  • Remove self-introduction in user’s profile
  • Disable the possibility to add non-existing users to a group
  • Force the user to change his password if the user was added by an admin or if his password was reseted by an admin

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