Improved group functions, support for several storage backends, persistent sharing links as well as new API calls for multi-tenancy systems are the major improvements of the Seafile Server Professional Edition 6.3.2. Additionally, Seafile‘s Professional server inherits all improvements from Seafile‘s Community Server released at the end of May. Beginning today, the Seafile Professional Server Version 6.3.2 is available in Seafile’s Customer Center (https://customer.seafile.com).
Seafile 6.3.2 production-ready
Since the release of the Seafile Professional Server 6.3.0 at the end of June, the beta release of the Seafile Server has been thoroughly tested and is now ready for production use. License holders can download the Seafile Professional Server 6.3.2 from the Customer Center, and interested parties can use the Professional Edition of the Seafile Server with up to three users without a license.
Expanded group concept
In Seafile Professional 6.3, Seafile‘s development team has greatly extended the software’s group concept and implemented new group functions. In the past, groups were distribution lists facilitating the sharing of resources to multiple users. The new version introduces a new kind of a group: ‘Departments’. Departments can own libraries and system admins have their own storage quotas assigned to them. By default, group members have read-and-write access to all group-owned libraries, yet group admins can restrict access. Just like user-owned libraries, group libraries can be shared with other users and other groups. If needed, departments can also have sub-departments to reflect the organizational structure.
The reworked group concept removes several limitations that were brought about by Seafile’s user-exclusive library ownership:
- User storage quotas need not reflect users‘ roles in groups anymore.
- User-to-user transfers of libraries made necessary by a user‘s departure from a group are a thing of the past.
- Organisational units can manage their resources more independently.
Version 6.3.2 supports file and folder transfer from user-owned to group-owned libraries. Ownership transferability of libraries will be implemented with a future update. (More on departments on Seafile’s help pages (https://help.seafile.com/en/sharing_collaboration/departments.html).
Support for multiple storage backend
Another new feature of the new Seafile Professional Server is the support for the combined operation of different local storage backends. Based on the specific configuration, the server decides in which backend to store the data.
This development prepares Seafile for areas of application in which Seafile has not been well represented so far. One attractive use case, for instance, is the side-by-side operation of fast disk/solid state drives and optical strorage for long-term archiving. When creating a library, the user chooses which storage to use. (Documentation for multiple storage backend support in the Seafile Manual (https://manual.seafile.com/deploy_pro/multiple_storage_backends.html) .
Persistent sharing links and internal links
Seafile’s public sharing links are the means of choice for sharing large files with external parties. Unfortunately, sharing links were not immune against file transactions. Previously, renaming or moving a file or its folder broke the link resulting in an error message when calling the link.
With the new server, this limitation is no more. Seafile Server 6.3 introduces persistent links. They prove resilient against changes in name, location and even libarary ownership. The only thing left to break links is a move from one library to another. All existing links automatically become persistent with the update to 6.3.2.
Besides improving on the existing links, Seafile Professional 6.3.2 introduces a second type of link. Developed for improving team-collaboration and other internal use cases, the new internal links serve as pointers to files and folders stored on the Seafile Server. They have the intuitive URL structure and the links‘ persistence in common with their public counterparts. Contrary to them, they require read permission for the linked resource. The Seafile team uses them extensively in their chat and task management systems.
In Seafile 6.3, document preview in Seahub benefits from the implementation of PDF.js for rendering PDF files (https://mozilla.github.io/pdf.js/). Compared to the preview with Collabora in previous versions, the generation and display of PDF files is now much faster and more precise.
And not only has PDF preview become better, but also the preview of office documents. Office documents are now converted into PDF format and displayed directly using PDF.js. The slow conversion into HTML is omitted.
New API calls for multi-tenancy systems
The new Seafile Server complements the exisiting user-level API calls with the equivalent calls on the tenant-level. New tenants can be created, existing tenants can be modified and deleted, and usage data can be queried using the improved WebAPI. (Details on the WebAPI in the Seafile Manual at https://manual.seafile.com/develop/web_api_v2.1.html.)
The extension of Seafile’s API takes place against the background of the increased use of Seafile by hosting providers. The new API makes it possible to integrate the wholesale administration of multi-tenant systems in existing administrative tools. Managing a multi-tenant system in Seafile has never been easier. What is more: The API paves the way for on-demand pricing models in which users pay only for used resources, not for assigned resources.
Improved file locking
File locking prevents file conflicts when files are simultaneously edited by multiple people. Only one user can open the file with the permission to write to the file. Previous versions of the Seafile Sync Client only supported file locking under Windows. The current version also supports file locking under Mac in combination with Office for Mac.
And this is not all! Seafile’s file locking was improved in a second way: File locking also kicks into action when a file is open in an online editor (e.g., OnlyOffice, Collabora Online, Microsoft Office Online Server). A user trying to edit a synced copy on his local machine receives a file-locking notification and opens the file in read-only mode.
What’s new in Seafile Community Server 6.3
The Seafile Community Server 6.3 was released at the end of May as a beta version. Since mid-June, it has become production-ready. The Professional Edition of the Seafile Server inherits all new features and improvements introduced in the Community Edition. In version 6.3, these three stand out:
WYSIWYG Markdown Editor
Chief among the improvements in Seafile Community 6.3 is a new, inhouse-developed Markdown Editor. The new editor provides two important features so far missing from (almost all) other markdown editors: table-editing and image inserting in WYSIWYG mode – the view mode users are used to from text editors such as Microsoft Word. The new editor replaces the old one that has reached the end of its lifetime for lack of extensibility.
Django and jQuery update
Both Seafile Server editions now use Django version 1.11. Django 1.8, used since version 5.2 in Seahub, was deprecated in April 2018. Django 1.11 is in long-term support until mid 2020. As a consequence of the update, FastCGI mode is no longer supported by either edition in a configuration with Nginx/Apache as reverse proxies. WSGI mode is the required mode.
Repositioning of Seahub’s action buttons
Aiming at unifying and streaminling Seahub’s site layout, the action buttons, formerly located underneath the breadcrumbs, now sit in the top ribbon (see figure). As a positive side effect, the change in position frees up extra space in the main window.
The full release statement for the Seafile Server Community Edition 6.3 is available at https://forum.seafile.com/t/seafile-server-6-3-is-ready-for-testing-a-wysiwyg-markdown-editor-and-more/6250/48