After being in Beta for a few months, we’re pleased to announce that Seafile server 8.0 version is production ready.
Seafile Server 8.0 makes file collaboration even easier: The federation of Seafile servers, using the Open Cloud Mesh API, enables file sharing between users of different Seafile instances. The new combined share link allows the convenient, bidirectional exchange of files with third parties. Share links as QR codes and a redesigned link upload page help you get your work done faster.
The web interface of the Community Edition of Seafile Server 8.0 now also features a file search. By adding a search function to the web interface, the developers respond to a often expressed wish of the community.
The most important changes are presented in these release notes; a complete list of changes can be found in the Seafile Manual. The Seafile Server Professional Edition can be downloaded from the Seafile Customer Center. The Community Edition, whose source code is available on GitHub, can be downloaded directly from Seafile’s website.
Federation of Seafile Servers
The simplicity of sharing files with other users of a Seafile server has been one of Seafile’s hallmarks. With Seafile 8.0, sharing files with users of other Seafile servers becomes just as easy. The need for multiple user accounts on different Seafile servers is now a thing of the past.
Sharing files with remote Seafile users is done the same way as files are shared with local users: Using the share dialog, a library or folder is shared with a few clicks. You can access resources shared by remote users via the new item “Shared from other servers” in the navigation menu of Seafile’s web interface. Only the federation of the Seafile Servers involved must be set up by a Seafile administrator.
Seafile uses the federation protocol of Open Cloud Mesh (OCM). OCM is an initiative of European, Asian and Australian research institutions under the leadership of the pan-European research network society GÉANT. OCM’s objective is to create a worldwide network of interconnected research clouds. The Federated Cloud Sharing Application Programming Interface (API), which provides a vendor-independent file access layer, is the basis for this.
In version 8.0, Seafile Server Professional Edition and Community Edition support federation with Seafile servers. The full implementation of the OCM API will follow in version 9.0. The next major release will then also support federation with file clouds based on Nextcloud and ownCloud.
A New and Improved Public Links
Share links are the tool of choice for exchanging files with partners who do not have a Seafile user account. So far, Seafile knew two link types: A download link makes files available for download; an upload link allows a third party to upload files to Seafile. Now, a new, third link type provides even more flexibility in file collaboration.
With the new combined link, the Professional Edition of Seafile 8.0 introduces a link type that combines the functions of the existing two: you can send files and folders to your partners, but they can also use it to send data back to you. One link can do the work of two.
QR codes, automatically generated in the web interface for every share link, are another new feature. These graphical codes are a practical alternative to textual URLs whenever the share links are to be accessed by mobile devices. Smartphone and tablet cameras can scan the QR code and read the embedded URLs to open the page directly without manual input.
Since all good things come in threes: Following its recoding in React, the file upload page presents itself in a more modern design and with improved usability: Dragging and dropping files now works with all major browsers.
LaTex Formula Support in Markdown Editor
Markdown (MD) as a simple markup language is ideally suited for convenient and platform-independent storage of textual information. Thanks to the new formula function, Seafile’s integrated Markdown editor can now also display mathematical formulas professionally and attractively. This makes the MD format even more versatile in Seafile – especially in published libraries.
Formulas are input using the LaTex formula commands and syntax. A small graphical wizard supports formula construction. The wizard interprets the input in real-time and displays a preview of the resulting formula. The input can thus be corrected immediately when necessary. A good overview of the possibilities of LaTex formulas can be found at Wikibooks.org.
Simplification of Application Architecture
With version 8.0, the RPC service daemon (ccnet-server), which controlled, in previous versions, the internal communication between the file service (seaf-server) and the web interface (seahub), has been removed from Seafile Server. Relevant code components were merged into seaf-server. Communication now runs directly between the two services. The figure below juxtaposes the old and new architecture of Seafile Server. (While the ccnet-server component has been removed, the configuration file ccnet.conf and the database ccnet-db are still necessary for the time being.)
(For simplicity, other prerequisites (e.g., database) and Seafile Server components (i.e., seafdav-server) have been omitted).
Code Update and Optimization
During the development of Seafile 8.0, the developers also paid special attention to the Garbage Collector. When Seafile “collects garbage”, it eliminates data blocks belonging to deleted files and libraries. It is only this process that frees up disk space after deleting files in Seafile. The code optimization significantly reduces the duration of database accesses for large libraries.
Similarly, the code for automatic locking of office files also received a makeover. In Seafile 8.0, an office file gets unlocked the very moment the last user closes the editing tab. ONLYOFFICE and MS Online Office Server users will notice the change immediately! The implementation of direct server to server communication is responsible for this great improvement. Earlier version of Seafile relied on the browsers of the editing users to signal the lock status causing high server load and delays in the unlocking of files.