Intelligent Synchronization, Improved UX: Virtual File System Introduced into ownCloud Desktop Client

Posted by Jonathan Kawohl – 4. June 2018

Today ownCloud announces the introduction of the Virtual File System within the ownCloud Desktop Client. The Virtual File System provides the technology to synchronize with the end device only when needed. With this,users will now need significantly less local storage space, have a simplified usability, as well as an improved user experience with ownCloud.

Unlike earlier versions, users can now choose not to synchronize all files with the server from the Desktop Client. Users no longer need to selectively decide which folders they want to synchronize, now, the local ownCloud folder shows them the exact file and folder structures that exist on the server, regardless of whether or not the data is fully available locally. If a file is requested, users can download and open it with just a single click, they can also download several files at a time by right clicking the files via the context menu. This function will also  be available for entire folders with future versions of the app

The innovation of the Virtual File System not only creates an intelligent solution for constantly growing storage requirements within ownCloud, but it also significantly improves user experience with seamless integration into the natural workflow of the desktop. Users no longer have to worry about configuring their Desktop Client; they can simply work within their ownCloud folder while all the hard work takes place behind the scenes. Native functions of the file browser (i.e. search for file names) can also be used without  data being physically located on the end device and without having to access the web application within the browser.

Smooth Integration and Adaptive Synchronization

The long-term goal of the Virtual File System is to strongly integrate ownCloud with familiar workflows of the desktop, so that the user can concentrate solely on their essential tasks. In future versions, for example, users will soon be able to perform file operations, such as moving, deleting or renaming files, and will even be able to share data with other users more conveniently from the file browser and without having to manually synchronize the data from the server.

Users will also be able to change the synchronization status of any file, at any time. It will soon be as easy as making data available on demand; local storage space will intuitively be freed up  by transferring corresponding files to the cloud via the context menu.

With the introduction of the Virtual File System,selective synchronization is soon going to be replaced by adaptive synchronization,tailored to fit the users’ needs. In the future the Virtual File System will also provide AI elements to  to enable automated and anticipatory provisions of certain files when needed (keyword: machine learning).

Release with Version 2.5.0

Following ownCloud’s release of Delta Sync, the Virtual File System has been highly anticipated by 22 million ownCloud community users. As part of the Desktop Client, the Virtual File System is licensed under GPLv2 and can, therefore, be freely used by all ownCloud users and developers.

The official release of the Virtual File System will be included with the release of the next Desktop Client version (2.5.0). The technology is currently still in the testing phase, however, a video demo is now available to provide users with a first look into application, including  the functionality of the Virtual File System:

Users who want to try the Virtual File System in advance in a first available test version of the Desktop Client will receive detailed installation instructions under the following link: https://owncloud.org/news/owncloud-client-goes-virtual-sync-files-demand/

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