Selective Sync/Placeholder Files

I’m new to NextCloud, but have used OwnCloud in the past.

I love the UX/UI and community of Nextcloud and really want to migrate all of my files into this ecosystem, but I need a selective sync function based on placeholder files. Various third party cloud services either currently have or previously had this ability including Dropbox and OneDrive. The best examples of this feature are Odrive and Resilio Sync.

If Odrive connected to NextCloud natively, that would be a step in the right direction, though I’d still miss out on the NC UI most of the time. The preferred solution would be for NextCloud to offer the placeholder/selective sync feature. That would make a very good tool great!

The options I am hoping for are:

  • Placeholder files in your file-system that can be searched locally and download only the files that you need, when you need them, without having to replicate entire folders on every device.
  • Progressive sync engine. Only syncs the folders you use.
  • Recursively sync all files as placeholders.
  • Unsync files/folders back to placeholders.

Does anyone know if this functionality already exists in NC and I am just not seeing it? If not, is this something that might be feasible to add as a feature?

There was a similar question asked here and what may be a related item on Github. But for a clear idea of what I am asking, this Odrive video explains it well.

If NextCloud doesn’t have this ability, I guess I could stick with Resilio or Odrive until NC supports it (assuming it ever will), but if prefer to use NextCloud.


+1 - this would be awesome. Way better than sliced bread!

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ExpanDrive just released this feature in their product (they call it “offline-sync mode”). I’d be over the moon if it came to Nextcloud.

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Expandrive and Odrive both support Webdav, which Nextcloud supports since the beginning, did you already try those clients out to see if it works? The Nextcloud client does not have this feature (yet).

@alfred - thanks for the suggestion, but then I’d lose the ability to share files/folders from within the OS; not to mention, both of those are paid products and would cost prohibitive for me and my immediate family, extended family, and friends that I support. I will continue to wait for the Nextcloud client to catch up. :sunglasses:

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@alfred I appreciate your participation, but I am very confused by your comment.

Expandrive and Odrive both support Webdav, which Nextcloud supports since the beginning, did you already try those clients out to see if it works?

See if what works, WebDAV? Are you advising to connect Nextcloud to Odrive via WebDAV? That becomes a very clunky setup and I still have to use Odrive as the primary app in order to benefit. Odrive already supports syncing with any folder, cloud storage or drive, so If I go that route, I don’t need Nextcloud in the equation at all. That’s basically where I am today, so no improvement. My hope is to replace Odrive with Nextcloud, not run each concurrently.

The Nextcloud client does not have this feature (yet).

Thank you for confirming. Hopefully, there is an emphasis on the “yet” portion of your statement.

@justs I meant connecting those clients to Nextcloud using Webdav as they both support it and Nextcloud as well. It is not a nicely integrated solution though.

@AndrewBucklin Yes, that is a serious drawback.

This is quite an old topic though, here is another bug report on it:

Maybe a pledge on Bountysource might help:

i took odrive for a quick spin and connected to my nextcloud via webdav. wasn’t exactly as nice as i hoped it would be. the concept of placeholder files isn’t transparent and requires you to sync the file first through windows explorer before you can work on it. if you work on the placeholder file directly through an application you lose your data.

what we really need is placeholders as implemented in onedrive aka “Files on Demand”. that’s completely seamless and doesn’t require any interaction. you nominate folders or files to be set to sync or available in the cloud only.

it’s essentially a combination of a sync agent and a webdav client rolled into one. the thing that makes it neat is that the support for “files on demand” is provided by windows itself. it used to be a virtual file system driver installed by onedrive in earlier releases of windows, but microsoft pulled this - so for some period of time this feature was unavailable in onedrive. microsoft has now built this into their storage driver. it is referred to as “hydration”.

in theory this should be accessible for other storage mechanisms.

see notes here re windows storage provider. search for “hydration”.

some interesting discussion about NTFS flags and offline support:

it would be great to see this in nextcloud and would give it the leg up on other cloud providers.

at the moment my workaround is to use selective sync in the desktop client and use RaiDrive for WebDAV connectivity. i’ve discussed RaiDrive in more depth on another post.

cheers, wizdude.

There is a new selective sync feature coming soon: Nextcloud introduces Virtual Drive in Desktop Client to simplify desktop integration