Nextcloud releases in 2020 – what a year!

We know, 2020 wasn’t an easy year. At Nextcloud, most of us already worked from home which helped us in the transition, but we dearly missed our bi-monthly physical get-togethers. At least, we happen to write software that helps you work remotely. So we were deeply motivated to move Nextcloud forward, faster than ever, to meet the growing need! In this blog, we give you a bit of an overview of 2020 in terms of Nextcloud releases. We can’t cover everything, so only the highlights!

The major releases

Let’s start with the Nextcloud server releases! We did three major releases, and here’s what was new, starting from the beginning of the year.

Nextcloud Hub 18 announcement

Nextcloud Hub is the first completely integrated on-premises content collaboration platform on the market, ready for a new generation of users who expect seamless online collaboration capabilities out of the box. We announced it at a 📺 live event at our office in Berlin.

Nextcloud special event announcements by Frank Karlitschek

With this release, we made a big change to what we ship. Nextcloud 17 is now Nextcloud Hub. Nextcloud Hub comes with a number of new apps that get installed by default on installation (but not shipped as part of the tarball/zip). The biggest news was that we integrated office out-of-the-box, making it work without the need for fancy apache configuration with a reverse proxy and the juggling of docker containers. We also ship groupware (Mail, Calendar and Contacts) and Talk out of the box with Nextcloud Hub. Of course, a lot of improvements and features were added all over the place as well.

We created a really cool video to show off what’s new and amazing about Nextcloud Hub!

Nextcloud Hub overview (📺 YouTube link)

A quick overview of what is new:

  • 📁 Files – features an improved sidebar, accepting internal shares & folder owner transfership
    • 🗃 Workspaces bring context to your folders, facilitating collaboration in one place.
    • 🔏 File locking prevents conflicts editing shared files with others
  • 🤖 Flow – Brings extensive, easy to use workflow capabilities to Nextcloud. Automatically turn documents in PDFs, send messages to chat rooms and more!
  • 📝 ONLYOFFICE – Built-in ONLYOFFICE makes collaborative editing of Microsoft Office documents accessible to everyone
  • 📸 Photos – A brand new image gallery makes finding, browsing and sharing your images easier than ever before.
  • 📅 Calendar 2.0 – Calendar 2.0 books Talk meetings, brings busy view for meetings and resource booking and more
  • 📩 Mail – Mail 1.0 recognizes itineraries, handles rich-text emails, and more
  • 🗣 Talk – rewritten user interface brings message delivery notifications, circles support, message replies and flow integration

Read the release announcement for more details.

We created more videos, showing Nextcloud Files, Talk, Groupware, and office integration:

Nextcloud Files (📺 YouTube link)
Nextcloud Talk (📺 YouTube link)
Nextcloud Groupware (📺 YouTube link)
Nextcloud Document editing (📺 YouTube link)

Nextcloud Hub 19

Nextcloud Hub v19, code name “home office”, represented a big step forward for remote collaboration in teams. This release brought document collaboration to video chats introduced password-less login and improves performance. We also made a video to show off this release!

Nextcloud in working-from-home (📺 YouTube link)

A quick overview of what is new:

  • 🔒 password-less authentication, account locking, automatic logout and many other security measures
  • 📝 Talk 9
    • 📝 Built-in office document editing courtesy of Collabora
    • 📷 A grid view
    • 📁 Easier sharing of files with drag’n’drop support
    • 🚀 Much better performance and lower network load
    • 📱 Many improvements in the mobile apps
  • 🚀 Improved performance, especially with external storage
  • 📆 Deck integration in Calendar and other deck improvements
  • 🙇 guest account groups and more guest account features

We also released our high-performance back-end for Talk under an open source license and introduced improvements in Mail, Calendar and other apps.Read the release announcement for more details.

Nextcloud hub 20

Nextcloud Hub 20 was announced at the Nextcloud Conference 2020, in the opening keynote by Frank. It was a big release, introducing a renewed focus on integrating third party applications with a dashboard, unified search and a lot of other improvements.

Nextcloud Conference 2020 Opening keynote by Frank Karlitschek

The three biggest features we introduced with Nextcloud 20 are:

  • 🏁 Our new dashboard provides a great starting point for the day with over a dozen widgets ranging from Twitter and Github to Moodle and Zammad already available
  • 🔍 Search was unified, bringing search results of Nextcloud apps as well as external services like Gitlab, Jira and Discourse in one place
  • 🗨 Talk introduced bridging to other platforms including MS Teams, Slack, IRC, Matrix and a dozen others

👾 Some other improvements we want to highlight include:

  • 📢 Notifications and Activities were brought together, making sure you won’t miss anything important
  • 🟢 We added a ‘status’ setting so you can communicate to other users what you are up to
  • 🗨 Talk also brings dashboard and search integration, emoji picker, upload view, camera and microphone settings, mute and more
  • 📅 Calendar integrates in dashboard and search, introduced a list view and design improvements
  • 📫 Mail introduces threaded view, mailbox management and more
  • 🗂 Deck integrates with dashboard and search, introduces modal view for card editing and series of smaller improvements
  • ↕ Flow adds push notification and web hooks so other web apps can easily integrate with Nextcloud
  • 🗒 Text introduced direct linking to files in Nextcloud
  • 🗄 Files lets you add a description to public link shares

Read the full announcement on our blog.

More releases

There are many more things the Nextcloud community releases – independent but very cool apps like Notes for Android or the brand new Podcasts app. And of course our mobile and desktop apps! Here some highlights from 2020.

Also, did you know we introduced a podcast?

There is, as always, much more that happened – we announced partnerships with IONOS and Deutsche Telekom and over a dozen other companies, participated in many virtual events, and not by us but certainly relevant – the European Court of Justice basically ruled foreign cloud services illegal.

A look forward

2021 has started in rather odd ways, with political unrest and big disparities in vaccine roll-out across the globe. We do not envy the people responsible for vaccine roll-out, given the enormous logistical challenges, made worse by misinformation and the current weather conditions in some parts of the globe. At Nextcloud, we’ll focus on what we are good at: writing software that helps people get work done without losing control over their data!

2021 should see 3 major server releases from us again, as per our schedule. The first of these is Nextcloud Hub 21, coming in just a few weeks – the first release candidate is out and we love to hear your feedback!

We are accelerating the work by our Groupware and Talk teams, hiring new team members (we have many open positions!) and our desktop client team has grown to four developers. We are looking for people to join our Android and iOS teams, too! If you want to join us, see our jobs page.

Of course there is more news – the team growth means indeed our company is growing, which we’ll talk about in a future blog. And we do hope to organize another Nextcloud conference this year, partially in person (as much as is feasible), around late September/early October, in Berlin again. Stay tuned for information on that as well!

Nextcloud continues to grow, fast, and we’re humbled that so many of you have joined us on this journey. Thank you for making this possible, and for caring about privacy, security and owning data!