Zimbra and Seafile: the New Collaboration Dream Team

The popular collaboration software Zimbra can now be seamlessly integrated with Seafile’s powerful file sharing and file collaboration functions. We proudly present: the Seafile Plugin for Zimbra, version 1.0! Accessing files stored in Seafile conveniently from Zimbra‘s webinterface, sending sharing links via Zimbra Mail and archiving emails directly in Seafile – the plugin makes it possible. Seafile in combination with Zimbra is a safer, more economical, self-hosted alternative to Google’s G Suite and Microsoft‘s Office 365. In short: a dream team.

Seafile’s seamless integration in Zimbra

In recent years, Zimbra has made a name for itself as a low-cost, open-source collaboration solution with the key features including email, calendar, contacts, and tasks. Messaging and video-conferencing can be easily added. The new Seafile zimlet, as Zimbra plugins are called, merges Zimbra’s and Seafile’s capabilities into a powerful and user-friendly collaboration powerhouse.

The Seafile zimlet extends Seafile’s strengths in file collaboration by complementing functions for efficient team work. Seafile users can enjoy so far absent calendaring and contact management features. For Zimbra users, the zimlet puts all their files at just one click away. Switching webinterfaces is a thing of the past, sharing links can be generated right in Zimbra’s web client and emails can be archived straight in Seafile. Seafile and Zimbra users benefit!

Convenient Seafile access via Zimbra’s webinterface

A new tab ‘Seafile’ appears in Zimbra’s web client after installation. This is how users can access their unencrypted Seafile libraries and manage their files in Zimbra. All file operations including create, move, rename, and delete are available in the new tab. This goes for folders and files as well as for libraries. To create a sharing link, the Seafile tab is the right place for that too.

Managing files in Zimbra works just like in any file manager. A navigation pane displays all unencrypted libraries and their subfolders in a hierarchical structure. The detailed file list shows the content of the selected folder. File operations are easily accessible via the right-click context-menu. File management is quite as simple as it can be.

The file preview takes up the most real estate in the new tab. The zimlet supports previews for many graphic files (i.e., JPG, PNG) as well as PDF- and diverse text file format (i.e., TXT, MD). Office files (i.e., DOCX, XLSX, …) can also be previewed with an integrated online editor such as ONLYOFFICE or Collabora. Zimbra has the editor render the document and a double-click opens the document, spreadsheet or presentation for editing.

Integrating Zimbra email in Seafile

Besides file access, the zimlet also makes generating and sending sharing links very easy. One click generates an email and sends a user-friendly, short sharing link instead of a clumsy file attachment. For protection of sensitive information, password protection and automatic link expiration are two options to choose from when generating the link.

And that’s not all! The zimlet allows users to export emails directly in Seafile. As per the user’s choice, Seafile saves the mail either as EML or PDF file. If only the email attachment is to be saved, that can be done as well.

One-click-switching between Seafile and Zimbra

The zimlet makes working and managing files in Zimbra really easy. If, occassionally, a user wants to switch over to Seahub – for instance, to use the Markdown editor– all it needs is one click on the Go

 to Seafile button. It teleports the user from Zimbra’s web client to the same position in the folder structure in Seahub. Work continues in Seahub where it was left off in Zimbra. And no authentication is required either – the zimlet takes care of that.

Technical integration

The zimlet builds on the Zimbra WebDAV Client by Zeta Alliance. It was amended on behalf of our partner datamate to reflect Seafile’s ideosyncracies. Specifically, the zimlet uses WebDAV commands for all operations on files and folders and API calls for library-level operations. It also uses Seafile’s API to generate links and to implement the one-click switch.

Just like the server code of Zimbra’s open-source edition and Seafile’s sync client, the Seafile Zimlet is released under the open-source license GPL2. This license imposes no restrictions regarding the viewing, the modification, and the further development of the source code.

Requirements and installation

The zimlet requires installation on your Zimbra server. The Zimbra WebDAV client’s website as well as the zimlet’s GitHub page contain detailed install instructions. The installation is initiated by executing a SH-script. A wizard walks the administrator through the installation.

After installation, the user must equip the zimlet with access credentials for Seafile. This can be done in the zimlet’s settings. Once the zimlet has successfully authenticated against Seafile’s user database, the user can access all his/her data in the Seafile tab.

The zimlet is compatible with Seafile Professional and Community Edition. It has been tested intensively with Seafile Professional 7.0.7 and Seafile Community 7.0.4.

Zimbra – worldclass email and groupware

D24C9CF3-15C5-4F11-9C81-218B2A3C42CF.png

Zimbra is the collaboration software suite of Synacor from Buffalo, New York. More than 100 million users in more than 140 countries use Zimbra.

Zimbra is – like Seafile – available in a free, open-source as well as a commercial business edition with closed-source components. The Zimbra Collaboration Open Source Edition (OSE), with its email server and calendaring features, is an attractive solution for medium-sized enterprises and startups. The Zimbra Collaboration Network Edition (NE) as an entreprise-class groupware, boasting MAPI and ActiveSync support, a Zimbra-Outlook connector, and professional consulting and advisory services, is geared towards large companies, public sector institutions and research bodies. Both editions share the AJAX-based web interface that facilitates using Zimbra’s many features. Besides the web client, Zimbra Desktop is a full-featured free desktop email client available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Zimbra runs on Red Hat, Suse Enterprise Linux as well as Debian, Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu and supports all popular virtualisation environments. A docker image is also available.

Thanks to Synacor’s commitment to the open-source idea and Zimbra’s open interfaces, an active ecosystem has evolved around the collaboration suite over the years. Dozens of zimlets facilitate the expansion of Zimbra’s native capabilities with additional user and administrator features. Most zimlets can be downloaded from Zimbra’s community website.

Outlook

We invite all Seafile and Zimbra users to thoroughly test the new zimlet and to comment in the Seafile forum. Based on emerging demand and feedback, we will push forward with the zimlet’s development. Thanks to the collaboration with the Zeta Alliance and, in particular, Barry de Graaff as lead developer of Zimbra’s WebDAV client, the Seafile zimlet will benefit from all developments in the shared code basis.

Changelog

September 2, 2019 version

  • Integration of Seafile as file backend in Zimbra‘s webinterface via WebDAV and API
  • Display of file meta data (file name, file type, file size, last modification date)
  • Support of common file operations (create, download, rename, move, delete) on file, folder and library level
  • Function Download as PDF for many file formats
  • File preview for many graphic and text files as well as PDF documents
  • Online editing of TXT and MD files
  • File preview and editing for office files with integrated online editors
  • Generation of sharing links for files, folders and libraries incl. password protection and automatic expiration
  • One-click-switch to Seahub
  • Saving emails to Seafile (either in PDF or EML format)
  • Saving email attachments to Seafile
  • Support of German special characters

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.

image
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.

image
Column View
image
Drag and Drop
image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

Seafile Professional Server 6.3 now production-ready

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.

Faster preview

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.

图片 2

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.Picture1

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

Seafile Drive Client 0.6 is available now!

We’re excited to announce the release of Drive client 0.6 version. In this version we added two long awaited improvements: file and folder sync status overlay icons; and sync error notifications. Some syncing bugs are also fixed to make this version more reliable.

You can see the overlay icons in Windows file explorer as in the screenshot below.

drive-client-new

A file or folder can be in a few states:

  • Cloud-only (with a “cloud” icon): files or folders not downloaded to local computer yet. Only file name, size and last modification date are available.
  • Synced (white tick with green background): Files or folders are completely synced to local computer. You can access them when offline.
  • Partially synced (green tick with white background): Only appears on folders. This means some files or folders inside the folder are downloaded.
  • Syncing: files or folders are being uploaded or downloaded.

A problem in the previous versions of SeaDrive is that there is no way for the users to know whether there is an error in syncing. In this new version, errors are communicated to the users in a few ways:

  • Whenever a sync or network error is detected, a disclaimer (“!”) will be displayed on the system tray icon.
  • When the client detects the server is disconnected, a notification will be popped up.
  • When the client encounters an error in syncing, a notification will be popped up. And you the users can see all sync errors by right clicking the system tray icon and choose “view file sync errors”.

We hope you like this new version. Feedbacks are welcomed!

Seafile Adds Co-authoring to Office Online and Collabora Online Integration

The latest Seafile Pro Edition (6.0.6) adds real-time co-authoring to its integration with Microsoft Office Online Server and Collabora Online. This ability will greatly boost collaboration productivity for teams.

With real-time co-authoring, two or more users can edit a document at the same time and see each other’s changes while they’re typing. You can see the cursor location where someone is working and what they’re typing as they type, just as if they are working on your computer or device. You can hover over the cursor location and see who is making the changes.

Co-authoring  supports most modern document formats:.docx, .pptx, and .xlsx.

Integration of Collabora Online:

Co-authoring is only supported in Collabora Online 2.0. Here are some samples for co-authoring on different document types.

Docx file:

xietong1

.ods:

xietong2

.pptx:

xietong3

Integration of Office Online:

Co-authoring is only supported in Office Online Server 2016.

Docx file:

xietong4

.xlsx:

xietong5

.pptx:

xietong6

Drive client for Windows is now ready for production use

We’re glad to announce that Seafile Drive client for Windows is now ready for production use. Since the initial beta release in September, the Drive client has evolved rapidly. Thanks to the feedback from our community, many issues in the beta version have been fixed in the last two months. Now the Drive client is stable enough to be used by general users. You can download it from our website. User manual is available too.

The Drive client is a new way to map your Seafile storage as a virtual drive on your computer. You can access all your files in Seafile without syncing them. We believe it’s a more intuitive way to use cloud storage. For more information about the Drive client, you may read our previous post.

There are still a few milestones ahead for the future releases:

  • File locking support
  • File upload/download progress
  • Encrypted library support
  • Keep selected folders always in sync
  • Auto update of the client

We’re also working on Linux and Mac version of the Drive client. They’ll be available soon.

Seafile pro edition 6.0 is ready!

After Seafile pro edition 6.0 runs smoothly for several weeks on our servers (seacloud.cc, demo.seafile.com), we are glad to announce that it is ready for production use!

Quite a few important new features are added in pro edition 6.0:

  • A full screen adaptive Web UI
  • Collabora Online (LibreOffice Online) integration
  • Role based permission control
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Remote wipe

Full screen adaptive Web UI

If you have a wide screen, the new full screen can take the advantage to show more contents in a line. If you have a narrow screen, the new interface can also adapt to it.

seahub-6-0

The navigation label is also changed according to feedbacks from users:

  • Mine -> My Libraries
  • Shared -> Shared with me
  • Organization -> Shared with all
  • Groups -> Shared with groups
  • Starred -> Favorites
  • Devices -> Linked Devices

Collabora Online (LibreOffice Online) integration

Collabora Online is LibreOffice-based online office suite that supports all major document, spreadsheet and presentation file formats, created by Collabora. It is an open source Office 365 alternative and works on all major browsers including those on mobiles.

The Collabora Online integration is finally ready. Now you can edit Microsoft Office files and LibreOffice Office files online in Seafile. Here is a screenshot:

Role based permission control

With this feature, you can define roles and assign a role to a user. This make permission/feature control more flexible.

As an example, you can define a new role “employee” to have all the feature enabled:

   'employee': {
        'can_add_repo': True,
        'can_add_group': True,
        'can_view_org': True,
        'can_use_global_address_book': True,
        'can_generate_share_link': True,
        'can_generate_upload_link': True,
        'can_invite_guest': True,
        'can_connect_with_android_clients': True,
        'can_connect_with_ios_clients': True,
        'can_connect_with_desktop_clients': True,
    },

You can define a “guest” role as:

   'guest': {
        'can_add_repo': False,
        'can_add_group': False,
        'can_view_org': False,
        'can_use_global_address_book': False,
        'can_generate_share_link': False,
        'can_generate_upload_link': False,
        'can_invite_guest': False,
        'can_connect_with_android_clients': False,
        'can_connect_with_ios_clients': False,
        'can_connect_with_desktop_clients': False,
    },

So the guest can’t create his/her own libraries and groups. He/She can’t use desktop/mobile clients too.

Two-factor authentication

This is a quite common feature nowadays and it comes to Seafile now. Seafile supports Google Authentication and text message currently.

After the admin enables this feature globally, a user can turn it on via the settings page.

After setup, the next time when the user login via Web UI or desktop/mobile clients, a dialog will popup and ask for the authentication code:

More information can be found in Seafile manual.

Remote wipe

Enterprises usually have demanding requirements on data security. Losing a laptop computer, even though not an often case, is a threat to data security. With remote wipe, files synced to a computer can be wiped after it’s lost.

A user can unlink a device via the web interface. When unlink a desktop client, he/she will be asked an option to whether wipe the data on that desktop client. If the answer is yes, the data on that client will be deleted when the client connects the server. Desktop client version 6.0 is needed to use this feature.

For mobile clients, the data is wiped by default when the device is unlinked.

Other pro features improvements

Other features in pro edition are also improved:

  • Improve zip downloading by adding zip progress
  • [Anti-virus] Support parallel scan
  • [Anti-virus] Add option to only scan a file with size less than xx MB
  • [Anti-virus] Add option to specific which file types to scan
  • [Anti-virus] Add scanning virus instantly when user upload files via upload link
  • [online preivew] Add printing style for doc/pdf
  • [online preivew] Warn user if online preview only show 50 pages for doc/pdf with more than 50 pages
  • [fix] Fix search only work on the first page of search result pages

Announcing Seafile Drive client, a new way to map Seafile storage as virtual drive

We’re proud to announce an exciting new way to access all your files in Seafile — the Drive client. The Drive client maps your storage space on Seafile server as a virtual drive on your computer. It allows you to access all your files in Seafile immediately, without syncing them. Conceptually, the Drive client extends your local disk space with the massive storage capacity on your Seafile server.

Since the beginning of Seafile project, file syncing has been one of  the most valuable features. However, there are still some limitation with the sync client:

  • The users have to manually initiate syncing of libraries. Even though this allows the users to selectively sync what they’re interested in, it’s not the most intuitive way to use cloud storage. Many users are more used to “Windows share”. Accessing cloud storage in the same way as Windows network drive is most intuitive for many users.
  • The amount of file you can sync is limited by the client computer’s disk capacity. If you have huge amount of files on your server (true for large organizations),  it’s not possible to access them all on your client computer.

How it works

After installation and setting up up your Seafile account, a virtual drive will appear in your Windows explorer (labeled as ‘S:’ and named ‘SeaDrive’). You can also choose a different drive letter. The Drive client then fetches the file list from Seafile server and cache them on your local disk. No file contents are downloaded so it would finish quickly. Then you can see all your libraries and files inside the ‘S:’ drive. You could open/edit any files. File contents will be downloaded on demand. That’s it!

drive

But wait, does it just work like Windows share or WebDAV? No, the Drive client works differently.

  • Supports offline mode. You can still access the folders and cached files even there is no network connections. Your changes will be uploaded to the server after network is accessible again.
  • No network delay when you browse folders, as file list are loaded during initialization and synced periodically.
  • No network delay when you move, delete or create new file or folders. Metadata changes are first written to local cache then synced with the server in the background.
  • No network delay when you update files, even large files. Files are first written to local cache and uploaded to the server in the background.
  • Reading files works like “streaming”. You read file contents as the contents are being downloaded from the server. This reduce the delay of opening files.

Windows share doesn’t have offline mode and doesn’t work well in WAN environment. Mapping WebDAV server as local drive is usually slow, because the OS sees it as local disk and sends many redundant requests to the server.

There could be many use cases for the Drive client:

  • Replace Windows Share (SMB) or Samba with Seafile.
  • Access files on workstations with small local disk.
  • Writing large scientific data directly to Seafile server.
  • Better enforcement of company data access regulations. Users access files from Seafile server exclusively. The locally cached files can be removed on logout. In the future we’ll implement encryption for the virtual drive. Companies don’t need to worry about data leak after computer lost.

Under the hood

The Drive client works like a sync client with a FUSE like virtual file system interface. The client still use the syncing protocol for upload/download files in the background. But it also implements some “smart” caching algorithm that fetches and caches local copy of files. Then it presents the files/folders to end users as a virtual file system.

On Windows, we use Dokany, an open source user-mode file system driver and library to implement virtual drive. On Mac and Linux, we’re going to use FUSE for the task.

Where can I get it?

The Drive client is currently in beta. You can download it from Seafile download page. Note that the Drive client requires Seafile server 6.0.

What’s next?

Currently there are sill some limitations on the beta version:

  1. Mac and Linux clients are under development.
  2. Encrypted libraries are not supported yet.
  3. File locking is not supported.
  4. Lack of an option to allow the user to keep some folders always synced to local disk.

We’re rapidly developing the Drive client, so you’ll see new version very soon. Below is our road map:

1.0

  • Mac and Linux client
  • File locking support
  • Translations
  • Polished UI

1.1

  • Encrypted libraries

1.2

  • Enable keeping a folder sync

Side Note: Compared to Dropbox’s “project Infinite”

While we were developing the Drive client, we saw the news that Dropbox is also going to release something similar, named project Infinite. But it raises many concerns because it will use its own “kernel extensions”, other than standard and open source mechanisms like FUSE. The concerns are about both privacy and security. A kernel extension will give Dropbox even deeper access to all information on your computer. Not using standard mechanisms also introduce potential security and stability concerns.

Unlike “project Infinite”, Seafile Drive client uses open source FUSE-like mechanism to implement virtual drive. And we believe that the Drive client will have even more use cases in private cloud environment, where the network is much faster than WAN.

Seafile server 6.0 stable is released

Seafile server 6.0 is now out of beta and production ready! This latest version comes with many improvements, most notably a full screen web UI, Seafile Drive client support, file comments.

You can download it on our official download page.

Here is an overview of major new features in 6.0 version.

A modern full screen Web UI

This new design makes Seafile look more like a web app. Making use of technologies like backbone.js and Bootstrap, the UI is now more responsive and easier to use than ever.

The new UI is also adaptive to screen sizes. If you have a wide screen, the new UI can take the advantage to show more content in one line. If you have a small screen, the new UI can also adapt to it.

We also changed the navigation labels on the left panel to make their meanings clearer.

  • Mine -> My Libraries
  • Shared -> Shared with me
  • Organization -> Shared with all
  • Groups -> Shared with groups
  • Starred -> Favorites
  • Devices -> Linked Devices

Seafile Drive client support

6.0 server includes supports for the new Seafile Drive client, a new way to map Seafile storage as a virtual drive on your computer.

File comments

File comments is feature asked by many users. In some old versions of Seafile, there was a feature where you could comment on a file. But it was actually implemented by starting a group discussion with the file as attachment. When we redesigned the group feature in version 5.1, this “group discussion with a file” feature was removed. In this version, we add back and re-design the file comments feature from scratch. Now the comments are directly associated with the file.

You can comment on a file in the file’s preview page. All users shared with the library will receive a notification.

Improve folder download by adding zip progress

When you download a folder in the web UI, a zip file has to be created for download. For large folders, this operation can take long to finish. When the zip file is being created, the web UI stops responding. This confuses some users.

In version 6.0, the zip task will be performed in the background and the Web UI will show the progress. This greatly improves usability.

Other Changes

  • [admin] Add group transfer function in admin panel
  • Remove number of synced libraries in devices page for simplify the interface and concept
  • Update help pages

Seafile server 6.0.0 beta is ready for testing

We are proud to announce that Seafile 6.0 has been released. Version 6.0 introduces a full screen Web UI and several other improvements. The translations are not ready yet.

Because we have done a significant amount of code cleaning, some minor features may be broken though we have tested as much as we can.

You are welcome to test it and give us feedback.

You can download it from: https://bintray.com/artifact/download/seafile-org/seafile/seafile-server_6.0.0_x86-64.tar.gz

Here is an overview of changes in version 6.0:

Full screen Web UI

If you have a wide screen, the new full screen can take the advantage to show more content in a line. If you have a narrow screen, the new interface can also adapt to it.

Change of navigation labels

The navigation label is changed according to feedbacks from users:

  • Mine -> My Libraries
  • Shared -> Shared with me
  • Organization -> Shared with all
  • Groups -> Shared with groups
  • Starred -> Favorites
  • Devices -> Linked Devices

Improve zip downloading by adding zip progress

In the old version, a problem with the zip download is that when the zip takes a lot of time, the web UI does not respond. If the zip task takes a few minutes, the user does not know what is happening.

In version 6.0, the zip task will be performed in the background and the Web UI will show the progress. This greatly improves usability.

Add file comment

In the Seafile old version, there was a function where you could comment on a file. It was actually starting a group discussion with the file as attachment. When we redesigned the group feature in version 5.1, this “group discussion with a file” was removed. But there were some requests and use cases for file comment, so in this version, we added a real file comment feature back.

Other Changes

  • [admin] Add group transfer function in admin panel
  • Remove number of synced libraries in devices page for simplify the interface and concept
  • Update help pages