Today the Nextcloud community released the Nextcloud 12 beta. The final release will be out later this month. This is a major new step forward. And it is also an interesting release because we are entering a new area for the product.
At the beginning, 7 years ago the focus was clearly file sync and share. Of course this term did not exist at the time or at least I didn’ know it. The task was to syncronize file between all your devices and share it with others.
This is obviously still the core of Nextcloud and Nextcloud 12 comes with all the usual iterative improvements. For example additional security hardening and improved two factor authentication, significant performance improvements especially for big installations, a ton of bugfixes and more powerful sharing features to make sharing easier and more powerful.
But it is clear that basic file sync and share is not enough anymore. People don’t want to see files popup or change on their devices without knowing what, why, when, who did this. They need ways to communicate and collaborate around the files that are shared. So the obvious next step is to add context, communication and collaboration features to the basic file sync and share.
Nextcloud already has added these areas. The focus of 12 was to combine them together into a powerful collaboration and communication platform. Basically a fully open source and self hosted Office 365 or Google G Suite alternative.
So Nextcloud comes with powerful Calendar, Contacts and Email apps. There are apps for chat, tasks management, Kanban style planning, notes taking and many other things. The goal was to bring them all together. In Nextcloud 12 you can click on any avatar and directly start a chat conversation, start a video call via WebRTC or send an email. This is all grouped around the right context. So you can do this while sharing or editing a file. With the help of Collabora Online you can also do collaborative editing of office documents together.
There is a new contacts drop down in the main menu where you directly find your colleagues and friends and can interact with them. Of course you can easily find them, even if they are on a different Nextcloud server with the help of our new Lookup server and federated APIs. It is now super easy to switch between apps with the help with the new apps navigation in the header.
The concepts of collaboration, communication and context also include the Nextcloud mobile apps for iOS and Android. In both you can now see your activity stream to see who is doing what on the server. There are also new instant push notification to the phones if important events happen like someone left a comment to a file, sent you a share invitation or invited you to a video call.
Of course this kind of integration around communication and collaboration should extend to other areas like your Desktop. This is why I’m super happy to see plugins like this KDE plugin to share directly from within your Plasma Desktop. Also the Nextcloud integration that the GNOME community is doing for calendar, contacts, maps and more is really awesome.
More information about Nextcloud 12 including some videos can be found here.
Let’s work together to create an open source alternative to the closed products from Microsoft or Google.
Everyone is invited to contribute to Nextcloud. Nextcloud is 100% open source without proprietary parts. Contributors don’t need to sign a contributor license agreement or give up any rights on their code..
The planning of the next release has already started so join us here on github to contribute with ideas, code or anything else.