Extending Nextcloud with Apps

nextcloudThere are a large number of apps for Nextcloud. This article will describe how to get started with some apps that I have found particularly useful. I particularly like Featured apps and apps with 4/5 star ratings.


Installing Apps

To install Nextcloud apps, you need to perform the following tasks:

  1. Log on with an admin account.
  2. Click your Avatar > Apps.
  3. Select a category from the left pane.
  4. Click the Download and enable button for your preferred apps.

Some apps might require further configuration which will be covered below.

 

Customization

AppOrder

Administrators can define a custom default order.

  1. Go to the Admin settings > Additional settings.
  2. Select App order in the left pane.
  3. Drag the icons under App order.
  4. Use first app as default app.

Individual users can change from this default order, by going to their Settings and choosing App order in the left pane.

You can let Nextcloud redirect your users to their first app in their personal order by changing the following parameter in your config/config.php:

'defaultapp' => 'apporder',

 

External sites

This application allows an admin to add additional links into the Nextcloud menus. Following a link, the external website appears in the Nextcloud frame. It is also possible to add links only for a given language, device type or user group.

  1. Go to the Admin settings > External sites.
  2. Click the New site button, to create a new site.
  3. Click  3dotsHorizontal to edit your External site.

 

Splash

Show a new random featured nature photo from Unsplash on the log in screen and (optionally) in the header.

 

Files

Quota warning

This app sends notifications to users when they reached 85, 90 and 95% of their quota (checked once a day). In addition an email can be sent to the users. The three percentages can be changed in the admin settings.

  1. Click your Avatar > Settings.
  2. In the Administration section (left-pane) select Additional settings.
  3. Change the Notification thresholds as needed.
  4. Select the Send an email option (e.g. for 90% and 95%).
  5. You can leave the default 7 days for Resend notification period.

 

Draw.io

Allows you to create amazing diagrams using the online Draw.io application.

  1. Click your Avatar > Settings.
  2. In the Administration section (left-pane) select Additional settings.

From here you can change the theme and other configurations.

 

Camera RAW previews

This will create previews of your Camera RAW files.

 

File access control

Nextcloud's File Access Control app enables administrators to protect data from unauthorized access or modifications. The administrator can create and manage a set of rule groups. Each of the rule groups consists of one or more rules. If all rules of a group hold true, the group matches the request and access is denied or the upload is blocked. The rules criteria range from IP address, mimetype and request time to group membership, tags, user agent and more.

An example would be to deny access to MS Excel/XLSX files owned by the "Human Resources" group accessed from an IP not on the internal company network or to block uploads of files bigger than 512 mb by students in the "1st year" group.

Learn more about File Access Control on https://nextcloud.com/workflow

 

Group folders

Admin configured folders shared by everyone in a group. Folders can be configured from Group folders in the admin settings. After a folder is created, the admin can give access to the folder to one or more groups, control their write/sharing permissions and assign a quota for the folder.

Note: encrypting the contents of group folders is currently not supported.

 

Mind Map

This application enables Nextcloud users to open, save and edit mind map files in the web browser. If enabled, an entry in the New button at the top of the web browser the Mindmap file entry appears. When clicked, a new mindmap file opens in the browser and the file can be saved into the current Nextcloud directory. It reported an error when I installed it, but it seemed to run okay after that.

 

Integration

Maps

The whole world fits inside your cloud!

  • πŸ—Ί Beautiful map: Using OpenStreetMap and Leaflet, you can choose between standard map, satellite, topographical, dark mode or even watercolor! 🎨
  • ⭐ Favorites: Save your favorite places, privately! Sync with GNOME Maps and mobile apps is planned.
  • 🧭 Routing: Possible using either OSRMGraphHopper or Mapbox.
  • πŸ–Ό Photos on the map: No more boring slideshows, just show directly where you were!
  • πŸ™‹ Contacts on the map: See where your friends live and plan your next visit.
  • πŸ“± Devices: Lost your phone? Check the map!
  • γ€° Tracks: Load GPS tracks or past trips. Recording with PhoneTrack or OwnTracks is planned.

 

Monitoring

Activities for shared file downloads

Creates activities for downloads of files that were shared with other users or a group.

 

Multimedia

Music

Plays audio files directly in the Files view or in a separate library view. Depending on the browser, supports playing filetypes mp3, ogg, m4a, m4b, flac, wav. All browsers should be able to play at least mp3.

In the library view, you can play tracks by album, artist, genre, or folder, create custom playlists, or shuffle play over your whole library. In the Files view, an audio file can be played with one click and the playback continues to next files of the folder until stopped. The app includes also a server compatible with Ampache and Subsonic clients.

The Music app also integrates with the mediaSession API (available at least on recent versions of Chrome). When the API is supported by the browser, this allows controlling the Music app via the media playback keys on keyboard even when the browser is not focused, and shows the playback controls also on the lock scren of the OS (at least on Windows 10 and Android).

Limitations: The app can handle libraries of more than 50,000 tracks on modern desktop browsers, but the user experience is not optimized for such collections. Libraries significantly larger than this may fail to function altogether. The playback from Files works regardless of the collection size.

 

Radio

Listen to your favorite radio stations in Nextcloud.

 

Talk

Chat, video & audio-conferencing using WebRTC

  • πŸ’¬ Chat integration! Nextcloud Talk comes with a simple text chat. Allowing you to share files from your Nextcloud and mentioning other participants.
  • πŸ‘₯ Private, group, public and password protected calls! Just invite somebody, a whole group or send a public link to invite to a call.
  • πŸ’» Screen sharing! Share your screen with participants of your call. You just need to use Firefox version 52 (or newer), latest Edge or Chrome 49 (or newer) with this Chrome extension.
  • πŸš€ Integration with other Nextcloud apps like Files, Contacts and Deck.

 

Office & text

Calendar

This app simply needs to be installed and enabled.

 

Contacts

This app simply needs to be installed and enabled.

 

Deck

Deck is a kanban style organization tool aimed at personal planning and project organization for teams integrated with Nextcloud.

  • πŸ“₯ Add your tasks to cards and put them in order
  • πŸ“„ Write down additional notes in markdown
  • πŸ”– Assign labels for even better organization
  • πŸ‘₯ Share with your team, friends or family
  • πŸ“Ž Attach files and embed them in your markdown description
  • πŸ’¬ Discuss with your team using comments
  • ⚑ Keep track of changes in the activity stream
  • πŸš€ Get your project organized

 

OnlyOffice

ONLYOFFICE connector enables you to edit Office documents within ONLYOFFICE from the familiar web interface. This will create a new Open in ONLYOFFICE action within the document library for Office documents. This allows multiple users to collaborate in real time and to save back those changes to your file storage. You will need to install an ONLYOFFICE Document Server before using this app.

 

Mail

A mail app for Nextcloud

  • πŸš€ Integration with other Nextcloud apps! Currently Contacts, Calendar & Files – more to come.
  • πŸ“₯ Multiple mail accounts! Personal and company account? No problem, and a nice unified inbox. Connect any IMAP account.
  • πŸ”’ Send & receive encrypted mails! Using the great Mailvelope browser extension.
  • πŸ™ˆ We’re not reinventing the wheel! Based on the great Horde libraries.
  • πŸ“¬ Want to host your own mail server? We don’t have to reimplement this as you could set up Mail-in-a-Box!

 

Notes

The Notes app is a distraction free notes taking app. It provides categories for better organization and supports formatting using Markdown syntax. Notes are saved as files in your Nextcloud, so you can view and edit them with every Nextcloud client. Furthermore, a separate RESTful API allows for an easy integration into third-party apps (currently, there are notes apps for Android and iOS which allow convenient access to your Nextcloud notes). Further features include marking notes as favorites.

 

Tasks

Once enabled, a new Tasks menu will appear in your Nextcloud apps menu. From there you can add and delete tasks, edit their title, description, start and due dates and mark them as important. Tasks can be shared between users. Tasks can be synchronized using CalDav (each task list is linked to an Nextcloud calendar, to sync it to your local client - Thunderbird, Evolution, KDE Kontact, iCal, … - just add the calendar as a remote calendar in your client). You can download your tasks as ICS files using the download button for each calendar.

 

Organization

Polls

A polls app, similar to doodle/dudle with the possibility to restrict access (members, certain groups/users, hidden and public).

 

Circles

Circles allows your users to create their own groups of users/colleagues/friends. Those groups of users (or 'circles') can then be used by any other app for sharing purpose (files, social feed, status update, messaging, ...).

Different type of circles can be created:

  • A personal circle is a list of users known only to the owner. This is the right option if you want to do recurrent sharing with the same group of people.
  • A public circle is an open group visible to anyone willing to join. Your circle will be visible to everyone and everyone will be able to join the circle.
  • A closed circle requires invitation or confirmation by an admin. This is the right circle if you are looking for privacy when sharing your files or ideas.
  • An Secret circle is an open group that can be protected by a password. Users won't be able to find this Circle using Nextcloud search engine.

 

Cookbook

A library for all your recipes. It uses JSON files following the schema.org recipe format. To add a recipe to the collection, you can paste in the URL of the recipe, and the provided web page will be parsed and downloaded to whichever folder you specify in the app settings.

 

Forms

A forms app, similar to Google Forms with the possibility to restrict access (members, certain groups/users, and public).

 

Security

Antivirus for files

Antivirus for files is an antivirus app for Nextcloud based on ClamAV.

  • πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™‚οΈ When the user uploads a file, it's checked
  • ☒️ Uploaded and infected files will be deleted and a notification will be shown and/or sent via email
  • πŸ”Ž Background Job to scan all files

This application inspects files that are uploaded to Nextcloud for viruses before they are written to the Nextcloud storage. If a file is identified as a virus, it is either logged or not uploaded to the server. The application relies on the underlying ClamAV virus scanning engine, which the admin points Nextcloud to when configuring the application. For this app to be effective, the ClamAV virus definitions should be kept up to date. Also note that enabling this app will impact system performance as additional processing is required for every upload. More information is available in the Antivirus documentation.

 

Passwords

Passwords is the most advanced password manager for Nextcloud and allows you to manage and store your passwords safely in your own cloud. The intuitive and modern web interface of the app makes it easy to update and add new passwords from anywhere. Included security checks help you to keep your online accounts safe and up-to-date. You can also share passwords with other Nextcloud users.

  • Intuitive and modern user interface
  • Password security monitor
  • Secure encryption
  • Folders & tags
  • Sharing
  • API for apps
  • Extensive handbook
  • Import & Export
  • Browser extensions
  • ... and many more to come

Note that there is an issue with the Passwords app, when you delete a Nextcloud account, and then try to create a new user with the same username, it will fail, and you will see a log error 'The username is queued for deletion'. You can disable the Passwords app and then you'll be able to create the new user. Importantly, when you re-enable the Passwords app the old user passwords will be gone.

Registration

This app allows users to register a new account.

Flow

  1. User enters his/her email
  2. Verification link is sent to the email address
  3. User clicks on the verification link
  4. User is lead to a form where one can choose username and password
  5. New account is created and is logged in automatically

Features

  • Admin can specify which group the newly created users belong
  • Admin can limit the email domains allowed to register
  • Admin will be notified by email for new user creation

 

Two-Factor TOTP Provider

This allows you to improve secure access to users accounts. It is a very good idea to create backup codes, in case your mobile phone is stolen or otherwise compromised.

 

PhoneTrack

PhoneTrack is a Nextcloud application to track and store mobile devices locations. It receives information from mobile phones logging apps and displays it dynamically on a map.

 

Tools

Data Request

Enable your users to request an export or deletion of their data. According options are added to the personal settings section. Administrators will be notified by email about the request.

 

Impersonate

By installing the impersonate app of your Nextcloud you enable administrators to impersonate other users on the Nextcloud server. This is especially useful for debugging issues reported by users.

To impersonate a user an administrator has to simply follow the following four steps:

  1. Login as administrator to Nextcloud
  2. Open the user administration interface
  3. Select the impersonate button on the affected user
  4. Confirm the impersonation

The administrator is then logged-in as the user, to switch back to the regular user account they simply have to press the logout button.

  • This app is not compatible with instances that have encryption enabled.
  • While impersonate actions are logged note that actions performed impersonated will be logged as the impersonated user.
  • Impersonating an user is only possible after their first login.

 

OCC Web

Run OCC Commands in a web terminal. This app is only visible to the admin group.

 

Piwik/Matomo Tracking

Track user traffic with Matomo analytics.

 

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