Welcome to the fifth entry of our ownCloud App of the Week blog series. Today’s topic is the ownCloud Announcement Center, a small and lightweight way for administrators to communicate individual announcements to all users of an ownCloud instance.
We all can agree that communication is key when it comes to efficient collaboration. When talking about a file sharing and collaboration platform like ownCloud, communication happens on different levels. There is communication between users, communication involving administrators and also automatic communication from the system. To understand the ownCloud Announcement Center app, we first have to take a quick look at ownClouds Activity and Notifications features.
The most user-visible communication from the system in ownCloud is most probably the Activity stream and Notifications functionality. Activities was developed to provide an overview of what happened to your data. It tracks creation and modification dates and associated users, shows you when a file was shared and by whom and so on. Notifications are of a different nature: you have to respond to them. They are things like a share notification, information about a server outage, a security update you must apply or accept and deny federated shares in a Federated Cloud Sharing environment.
Why do we need an additional Announcement Center app then?
While Activities and Notifications are great and important, the ownCloud Announcement Center app adds another small, but for administrators very useful detail: The option to send a freely written message to users. The Announcement Center app provides you with a simple interface to freely enter a subject and a related message and announce it to certain user groups or everybody with a simple button click. Furthermore admins get an overview of all posted announcements and have the option to delete them if needed. While sounding trivial, this announcement system offers administrators the opportunity to broadcast important messages like upcoming maintenance windows, feature changes or whatever might be important at that time. The announcement will be sent via Activity mails, displayed at the Notification bell icon in the WebUI as well as in ownCloud Clients. To provide notifications in the WebUI or Clients, the Announcement Center app depends on the ownCloud Notifications backend, so please make sure to have both enabled if you’d like to have that functionality.
There it is – a very light and quick way to broadcast important announcements to all users within the ownCloud platform. May it be important updates, new features, maintenance information and other crucial notifications, your users will always be up-to-date.
So, are you already using the ownCloud Announcement Center App? As always we’d love to hear your feedback. Stay tuned for next weeks App of the Week Blog!