ownCloud and Nextcloud compability

Will ownCloud and Nextcloud stay compatible to each other? (Federation, …)

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Only at first. My understanding is that the idea is to have the projects completely compatible at first, and to keep the api’s as compatible as possible, however they are different projects, so over time as the two projects create different features and functions, it’s inevitable that they’ll have some incompatible differences.

I think though that if the two projects can collaborate as much as possible on the api and the federation protocol, then the most important functions of both project are likely to remain compatible for a long time.

On the technological side, it depends.

First the webdav, caldav and carddav stuff will mostly be compatible as it’s the *dav standard.
For the OCS APIs that will be similar. For everything else we can assume that it will slowly divert aka app accessible APIs.

IMO NextCloud should maintain as much federation possibilities with owncloud as possible. Personally I think federation is very important in this sort of projects and even better if maintained by multiple different platforms (see diaspora and firendica or hubzilla).
I hope devs on both sides should collaborate to make sure dav standards are kept so people could exchange their contacts, calendars etc, and that you would still be able to share files between those two platforms. This is very important and great opportunity to maybe in the future convince other alternative cloud solutions to follow this path and federate together under one standard protocol. This functionality could bring corporate ‘clouds’ to their knees.

As for apps and the general API I know things cant be kept the same because it will make no sense to fork it in the first place.

It would be great if apps worked on both platforms. If not, the user could end up in a difficult situation that for app x, he would need nextcloud, and for app y, he would need owncloud. In the end of the day it is very likely that he will move to a different platform.

The issue there is that over time, the codebase for both projects will continue to diverge, making interoprability harder and harder to achieve. To some degree, this can be minimized by trying to keep some parts stable such as the api and use of standards such as webdav/caldav. In projects as young as OC/NC though, even this is tricky to do without limiting the apps ability to grow and mature.