New version of Groupfolders App is coming

Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/new-version-of-groupfolders-app-is-coming/

Nextcloud is focused on secure sharing between members of an organization, and there are many ways in which individuals and organizations share. Shares in Nextcloud have always been individually owned, that is - a user shares a file or folder with others and as long as the others don’t deny the share (unshare it) or the owner doesn’t change permissions things stay as they are. But in companies and other organizations there is often ‘official’ data, from HR documents to department specific files to be shared. Often, organizations tend to create a special user who shares such data with groups or the entire company as a work-around. But users can un-share those files and it can be complicated to add new users. Another work-around is to create a local external storage but that, too, has potential downsides. For Nextcloud 12, we developed the Groupfolders app to do this the ‘proper’ way.

Groupfolders App

The Groupfolders app solves the problem: an administrator can create a folder and assign it to one or more groups. All the users of these groups will then see the same folder structure and have access to the same files. Unlike with normal shares, they will not be able to unshare these folders. This application is designed to cover a typical usecase of enterprises or government structures: it allows them to keep their existing and familiar workflows, often stemming from shared network storage like Windows Network Drive. While it is possible to mount a Windows Network Drive and use it as external storage, preserving access rights, many companies are migrating to Nextcloud entirely. With Group folders, Administrators can recreate the structure of such a Windows Network Drive and set the same type of server policies, entering a brave new world of productivity and ease of use!

What's new

The new version of the Groupfolders app introduces two major improvements:
  • Quota support
  • Permissions
  • Removal warning
  • Some bugfixes
The quota is set once per group folder and simply limits its maximum size, making sure the amount of data on a Nextcloud server is kept under control.

The administrator can configure permissions to the content of a Group folder on a per-group basis. For instance, the Marketing team can edit and share the content of the /Marketing Material folder, while the Sales team can only read it.

Once configured, the folders show up in the home folder for all users of the groups. They will share common permissions and a common structure in these groups. And when it is time to remove a Group folder, Nextcloud will warn the administrator that this can not be undone as Group folders do not end up in the trash. Better be sure!

Right now, there is one major caveat to be aware of, which is due to the way Group folders are currently implemented: the naming of new Group folders has to be unique or they risk overwriting existing user folders with the same name. While this does not cause data loss, the users will see the new (empty!) Group folder and won’t be able to access their old folder. When the Group folder gets removed, the ‘old’ folder reappears. While we look into forcing group folders to be unique in an upcoming update, we recommend administrators to make sure the names are unique, for example by prefixing them in a certain way like “GS_” and instructing users not to name their own top-level folders in a similar way.

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Excellent additions :clap:

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This is so fantastic application!
:thumbsup:

I would like to have a try.

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Very nice improvements!

One quick question:
So if you delete group-folders they do not end up in the trash, but what about individual files? Who can see them in the trash and could theoretically restore them?
Previously for files shared with a larger group of people it was the person who deleted the file and the original owner of it. In the case of the group folders, who is the owner? Or does it end up in the trash of all users that have access to a group folder?

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When a folder is shared it appears on the home directory of the user, is it possible to state a group folder where the directory will appear?

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Nice feature! Thanks!

I installed “Groupfolders” in NC 12, but have massive problems:

A groupfolder is created, but when trying to save files inside the folder, I get error messages, that the file could not be created (via browser) or synced (via NC client).
Some hours later, I can see files inside the groupfolder, that can not be deleted, also trying to delete the groupfolder itself (or folders inside that groupfolder) shows error too.

The error-log of NC client says this when trying to upload:
Blacklisting fortsetzen: Error transferring https://myserver/remote.php/dav/uploads/admin/1820720222/.file - server replied: Internal Server Error (path needs to be relative to the system wide data folder and point to a user specific file)

Someone else made this experience?

Regards,
Ivan

Users can choose where new shares appear but I think that that won’t work for Group folders, they are always top level.

Hi Jospoortvliet,

Thank you for your response.

You told that when I share a folder with another user I can say in what directory that share will appear, can you explain how to do it?

Our problem is since in nextcloud when you share a folder that includes all its files and subfolders is creating a use mess with our team, the best way to solve that is for example have a Project Delivery directory and when a directory is shared it would be awesome to say that the share would appear inside the Project Delivery directory.

Hi,

with version 1.1.0 of Group Folders, there is no sync to client when file changes happen on Server.
Changes in local folder on Client get synced to server.
(Tested with macOS client 2.2.4.1 and 2.3.2.1 (beta) in macOS Sierra here on nextcloud 12.)

https://github.com/nextcloud/groupfolders/issues/36

This group folder works fine. Thank you for that solution. do you have the same thing for contact. I want to share the liste of member but I need to create a special user for that. And share the list of contact with the group… Or maybe I misunderstood how to share contacts.

“Does not work with encryption” This is a joke, right? Why announce something which does not work with a mature feature of the platform?

Does not work with encryption?! OK, that would explain why not working for me… :disappointed_relieved:
Found some entries in my error log just after deactivating group folders in my app

That’s really disappointing.

Regards

Only a small minority of our users uses the server side encryption app as it only offers improved security for a corner case. Of course it works with our usual encryption-in-transport as well as with OS level full disk encryption.

Hello.

Can somebody please confirm if versioning is working in Group Folders.
In my setup it seems id doesn’t.

Regards.

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I can confirm that versioning doesn’t work with group folders. This would a very useful improvement - especially since files in group folders are modified by more than one person.
Activity Stream doesn’t work for group folders as well.

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Hello. Thanks for doing work in this way!

Any dates of release or beta? Where can we see new code, write some suggestions to new version or test it?
I ask because I working on some project based on this functional and current version have some issues with most other apps in nextcloud and don’t have any api to work with it. I can resolve some of them in my project, but not want rewrite my code anytime when updates come, so want to help solve them globally.

Hi,

You can find this project on Github:

It’s great to read that you’re going to contribute.

Thanks for answer, but I know about this repo. I don’t see there any activity last month so that’s why I asked about dates and new version. Now I have to resolve some issues with other nextcloud apps and then I’ll back to groupfolders.

I believe that all the devs of groupfolders have been very busy with NC 12.1 as it will be release in the next few days.

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Yeah, priorities. Plus, icewind is actually wandering around in the Austrian mountains at the moment, holiday is the excuse he gave for that :wink:

Bloody summer time… :stuck_out_tongue:

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