I installed the Nextcloud Android app and set it up with my Nextcloud server.
Since Docs and Sheets from Google are pre-installed I thought I can just use these two apps to edit the documents that I open from the Nextcloud app. However, both apps auto-save the opened files to Google Drive and subsequently only modify the Google Drive version of the file. Therefore Nextcloud will never know about the changes I made to a file. Plus I don’t my files to stay on Google servers anymore which brought me to Nextcloud in the first place.
I also tried Microsoft Word App. But I quickly realized that I will either have compatibility issues with xlsx files created on my Ubuntu (editing not possible in Word unless I save a copy, again) or I will have to convert odt files to office format using a Microsoft Online service which is similarly bad to storing data on Google servers in terms of privacy concerns.
So I am wondering what the document editing use-case on Android actually looks like? Any recommendations?
Currently there’s not a lot going for it. When you open docs from NC via the app they’re read-only, as in, can’t be saved back to NC automatically. So you can open them in another app but as you saw, unless you save them to the device, find them via NC upload and re-upload them, there’s not much else that can be done.
Editing is on the radar for the app, but it’s not there yet.
Es Explorer (pro) uses webdav and it downloads the file to a temporary storage as you open it and writes it back, after you are finished.
The only thing is as the webdav implementation deletes the old file you have to look in the trash instead in the version-list.
This looks like a problem not only for “office files”, but a synchronization issue in general!
Placing a file on the local nextcloud folder does not upload it to the server.
Editing a file (as simple as a plaintext) does not saves the changes in the server
It should be clear that the “synchronize” action of the android app has a different meaning than the synchronization of desktop clients. In the android client app, the sync is one-directional, from the server to the client exclusively. Uploads (client->server) are only handed individually, on a file-per-file manner.
This is a very useful feature that is lacking. With double-sided sync’ing, one could for example edit simple plaintext seamlessly, or have configuration files (such as e.g. user dictionaries, book annotations, app config files, dotfiles, metadata files etc) synched seamlessly between devices. It is completely NOT FEASIBLE to always upload all config files one by one.
For reference, last time I checked, the dropbox android app was similar: folder changes were ignored, but editing a single file in android would sync it with the server. The defunct ubuntuone had no such functionality. This seems like a nontrivial task to implement.
After getting audio notes working (recording an audio note, dictation) the next thing I would like to see is simple editing of text files. Excel files and the like are another problem. Even if the app has to open a text file in a browser window in order to make it editable it has to work as a feature or people will consider the app to be useless. just my 2 cents.
For viewing of odt files I recommend OpenDocument Reader. It can also edit, but then you have to find the edited file in your home folder, rename it (its always called modified-by-bla.odt) and them upload it to Nextcloud. Very painful process. Another open document editor is AndrOpenoffice but it’s UI is not good for mobile.
Interesting discovery: I edited a txt file that was synced and therefore stored locally. I opened it from file manager, not NCapp, opened it with Total Commander, it has built-in txt editor. I hit save, and it automatically synced back to Nextcloud! So two-way sync already works… Kind of :+)
Then I tested to move a picture to this directory, but nothing happened, it did not get uploaded.
Another possibility is to host your own Colabora Online, then you can edit your docs online, the interface is quite mobile friendly.
But you’d have to use your browser to open the file.
Nothing is as good as Google at this point in time. And its no surprise, there is so much more money and manpower behind Google. So lets put in some energy ourselves, or put some money on bountysource :+)
Discovering this thread was a bit of a pain for me - I thought I would be able to move some of my Google Docs stuff to NC . . I had just worked out a nginx config problem for this post:
and then realised I could only see “info” for files on the server instead of being able to edit them . . but NOW I am confused - what is the point of the Android NC app? I found IT IS possible to edit txt files on the server from an Android browser . .
I will have another look at the Android app when v3 is around I guess . .
Great to hear, I used FolderSync in the past and it worked great in combination with Nextcloud, offering 2 way sync for linked folders and by this also automated picture upload in configured schedule. Would love to have this features in official Nextcloud app though, to be independent from another third party ;).