A Call for Focus and Functionality in Nextcloud Development

Dear Nextcloud Community and Developers,

As an avid user and advocate, I must express my growing concern over the direction in which our project is heading.

1. Quality over Quantity in Apps: Our App Store is a testament to the community’s creativity and effort. However, the presence of apps that have not been updated for years undermines our credibility. It’s imperative we shift our focus from quantity to quality, ensuring every app adds real value and operates flawlessly.

2. Prioritizing Core Functionalities: Core functionalities such as block-level synchronization, end-to-end encryption (E2EE), and seamless social features like birthday integration in user profiles are crucial for enhancing Nextcloud’s efficiency, user experience, security, and community engagement. Block-level synchronization, in particular, not only promises significant bandwidth savings but also accelerates the synchronization process, making the platform faster and more responsive for users. Similarly, robust end-to-end encryption ensures user data remains secure, addressing critical privacy concerns. However, the potential of these technologies is often overshadowed by a broader focus on adding features without fully optimizing or integrating them. This oversight not only affects the platform’s overall performance but also its appeal to the community. Our strategy must pivot towards refining these essential services, guaranteeing that advancements like block-level synchronization and E2EE, along with foundational community features like an effective birthday calendar, receive the focused development and integration they deserve.

3. Clear Vision and Leadership: The path forward requires not just technical excellence but clear vision and leadership. A scattergun approach to development dilutes our strengths. By establishing stringent guidelines for app inclusion and focusing on a cohesive set of core functionalities, we can ensure Nextcloud remains a leading, reliable cloud solution.

4. Streamlining for the Future:

  • Implement strict quality control for the App Store. Apps that do not meet a high standard of functionality and security should not be featured.
  • Refocus on enhancing core features crucial for the platform’s efficiency and user adoption, such as block-level synchronization.
  • Solidify leadership and direction to foster a development environment focused on delivering exceptional, reliable functionalities.

This is a collective call to refine our focus, ensuring Nextcloud not only grows in features but thrives in functionality. Let’s unite in enhancing the user experience through operational excellence and forward-thinking development.

Aside from the few officially supported apps, most of the apps are developed by individuals because they want to add a certain functionality.

Who is “we” in this context, who does the vetting? The more popular and more used an apps is, it ideally attracks a larger community to test and work on the app. For the official apps, I’m not sure, I suppose it needs interested customers for these apps or if they think it fits the overall portfolio/functionality.

There is no public roadmap for planned features and development. They say that certain customers can influence that, in the recent releases there was a bit of focus on the interaction between apps (I had the impression), they advertised the AI features etc., not sure about the work under the hood stabilizing “core” functionalities, it is certainly less advertised but it does not mean it does not happen.

Regarding priorities, this might be a bit different for everybody.

We can ask the company to share a bit more about the roadmap ahead. Other point is, as community, what can we do? Should we choose a functionality or app each release, and focus testing and debugging and perhaps try to help the developer as much as we can?