Seafile Professional Server 7.0: Integrating knowledge management with sync & share

Following the release of two beta versions and intense testing in April and May 2019, we are pleased to officially release the Seafile Server Professional Edition 7.0 today. It is available for download in the Customer Center; please consult the changelog before upgrading. Version 7 of the Community Edition of the Seafile Server is also officially released. You may download it on our website.

Seafile 7 comes with many new as well as improved file sharing and file management features: A new tree-like view, file tags, more sharing permissions, more flexible favorites, and a real-time search render file management and team collaboration easier and more comfortable than ever before.

But this is not all. Seafile 7 also addresses the growing need for the easy capturing, managing and sharing of knowledge. The revised wiki function, in combination with the improved Markdown editor, lends itself to FAQs, internal knowledge databases and manuals in particular. The new functions have been designed as extensions to Seafile’s existing features and therefore they leverage its sync & share functions, make use of Seafile’s file versioning as well as full text search. Last, but not least, they seamlessly integrate into the web interface.

Seafile’s web interface Seahub has also seen tremendous changes. Visible at first glance, the user interface has undergone a facelift. All of Seahub’s components such as dialogs, buttons, and menus now have a consistent look and feel. Dialogs and menus have been improved based on user feedback. But the even bigger change happened under the hood beyond the first glance. Seahub has been completely rewritten using React, a JavaScript library specially developed for dynamic user interfaces. The technology switch was prompted by the increasing difficulty of integrating new, dynamic functions into Seahub’s old, Django-based framework. The new React-based Seahub provides the foundation for many of the new features in Seafile 7 and will be the basis for many new features to come.

Managing and publishing knowledge in wikis

Capturing and storing little structured data in an easy-to-use fashion – that is what Seafile’s wikis are for. Wiki pages are written in Markdown (MD), a simple markup language, to ensure cross platform compatibility. MD files store textual, tabular as well as graphical information; other files can be linked to MD files by a related-files function. Related files are directly accessible from the wiki page.

Since Seafile implements wikis as standard Seafile libraries, they can be synced and shared with other users just like any ordinary library. Additionally, wikis can be made publicly available. With one click, a wiki gets published under its idiosyncratic URL (i.e., seafile.com/published/faq). Working collaboratively, editing offline, sharing drafts with external parties and making content available to a public audience – everything is possible.

Editing wiki files

MD files are best edited straight from Seafile’s web interface with the improved MD editor. The web-based editor offers a smoother user experience and richer formatting options for text, images, and tables than its predecessor in Seafile 6.3. Images can be imported into MD files from libraries and local storage as well as by hyperlinks. Basic image editing functions such as scaling can also be performed in the editor’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface. Tables can be inserted and modified with just a few clicks. The same thing goes for a table’s content: A table can be copied in its entirety or in part without leaving the WYSIWYG view. To facilitate co-editing, the MD editor also supports collaborative commenting and a newly-introduced diff-function visualizes the edits the document has undergone in its history.

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Markdown Editor

Adding sharing permissions

Two new sharing permissions complement the existing permissions giving users more control over access to shared libraries in online collaboration projects, especially with guests. The ‘Preview-on-cloud’ permission grants read-only access to files through the web interface, yet files cannot be downloaded or synchronized with Seafile’s clients. ‘Preview-edit-on-cloud’ adds write-access to the restricted preview-on-cloud permission while maintaining the access restriction through the web interface.

Facilitating file management

The new column view allows users to manage files just like in Windows Explorer and Mac Finder. When enabled, an extra column displays a library’s tree-like folder structure. Users can browse in it and move files and folders just by dragging and dropping. And the similarity to desktop file managers does not end there: File actions such as renaming, moving, and opening via client are available in a right-click-accessible context menu. Extra layout options give users the means to adjust the view to fit their needs.

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Column View
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Drag and Drop
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Context Menu

Tagging files

File tags in Seafile 7 make it very easy to enrich files with meta data regarding priority, responsibility and/or status information. Tagging files helps individuals to organize their files and teams to work collaboratively.

Tags in Seafile are organized on a library-level. Seahub shows all tags used within a library in the library’s root. A click on a tag filters within the library for the selected tag and provides fast access to the tagged files.

Users set one or multiple tags, change and remove them via the context menu or the file details. Every tag is linked to a color which the user can also choose and which helps convey some additional information on tagged files.

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File Tags

Finding files

While Seafile’s search function has already been powerful in previous versions, it has become even more powerful in the new version. Seafile 7 shows search results in real-time as the users type. By adjusting the search terms during the search, the user finds the needed document faster than ever. When entering a library, the scope of the search is limited to the library. More fine-grained search options including file type, last update date and size are available in the advanced search options.

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Real-time Search

The improved favorites are a second feature that assists in finding files in ever growing data systems. Seafile 7 does away with the restriction to files as favorites. Files, folders and libraries can now be starred. All favorites are directly accessible from the favorites menu in Seahub as well as in Seafile’s sync client.

Staying up-to-date on activities

The activities menu has undergone a major revision to better support activity monitoring in larger teams. The interface has become cleaner and better organized. Similar activities are no longer displayed as discrete activities, but get aggregated in a smart way. Instead of multiple individual records for the similar transactions in one library, the reports just shows a single line stating the number of affected elements and the library in question.

Email notification for activities is another brand new feature for activities. Users can subscribe to email notifications and select the update frequency in their user settings. The activity update contains the new activities since the last notification. This way, users are always up to date even when on the go.

Improved Encrypted Libraries

Encrypted library is one of the most liked features in Seafile. We supported encryption of users data in an end-to-end way from the first day we released Seafile. In Seafile 7 we further improve the security of the encryption mechanism by using different encryption salts for each library. In cryptography, salts are used to make brute-force hacking harder. It would make such kind of attacks even harder with different salts used for different libraries. (More details about Seafile’s encryption algorithm can be found in our manual.)

To use this improved encryption mechanism, you must add the following option to seahub_settings.py:

ENCRYPTED_LIBRARY_VERSION = 3

After that, all new encrypted libraries will use the new version of encryption algorithm. Please note that sync clients before 7.0.0 cannot work with new encrypted library version. So the clients has to be upgraded to sync new encrypted libraries. Existing encrypted libraries are not affected.

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