An engine room update on ownCloud Infinite Scale: The new web interface – the story so far

As you all probably have noticed by now, we are currently rewriting ownCloud from the ground up, which already took a while since we announced our plans for ownCloud Infinite Scale. But have no fear, it’s well worth the wait. Our goal is infinite scale, hence the name. Infinite scale means an infinite number of files, users and machines as well as infinite file sizes. We write it in Go, making ownCloud platform independent. ownCloud Infinite Scale neither requires Apache nor any PHP infrastructure, becoming the most easy-to-use and most easy-to-deploy ownCloud ever. We use microservices and a three-tier architecture, making ownCloud a secure cloud native solution to file access requirements. Some globally well-known research institutions are involved in the creation of ownCloud Infinite Scale, making sure it extends their capabilities as it will yours.

One of the tangible ways in which ownCloud Infinite Scale enables, well, infinite scalability is the shiny new web interface.

Roughly one year ago, ownCloud published the beta version a new web interface that works with both ownCloud Infinite Scale and ownCloud 10. Since then, we didn’t disclose much publicly, while the development went on in plain sight on GitHub, at least for all the code-savvy people there. We know that is not ideal from an open-source stewardship point of view, but as some among you might understand, it’s kind of hard to communicate unfinished projects.

What it is
The new ownCloud web interface is a web app written in JavaScript using the framework Vue.js. It has a strong development focus on ease of use, speed, platform independence and accessibility. The new ownCloud web interface is made to match the scalability that our next generation file platform ownCloud Infinite Scale brings, while also serving as a front end for ownCloud 10 installations to ease the transition to oCIS. To get an idea, you can just give it a spin at

Development considerations
The overarching goal in the development of our new frontend is to completely disentangle it from the backend, being connected only through APIs. Up until ownCloud 10, the ownCloud frontend is written in PHP with jQuery and some vanilla Javascript, which is fine, but it brings a few limitations and doesn’t reflect the state of the art in building web application interfaces. When we decided to rewrite ownCloud from the ground up in Go, we knew we also had a great opportunity on our hands to build a modern framework-based frontend that fits both the PHP-based ownCloud 10 and the upcoming Go-based ownCloud Infinite Scale.

How does it make my life easier?
Whether using our demo page or your own test environment, you will quickly notice just how quick and easy the new ownCloud web interface is to use. Our intention behind this: Users should not even be noticing it, it should transcend into the background just like a familiar desktop file manager so users can completely focus on what it is they actually work on. We also tried to boost accessibility to make ownCloud useful to positively everyone, by bringing in external expertise and by creating a pattern library called ownCloud design system (ODS) that consists of snippets that are created accessibly and can be reused across the interface.

Can I use it yet?
The new ownCloud web interface is currently available in the Version 0.27.0 that is nevertheless not yet intended for production use. If you feel particularly adventurous, you can install it as the frontend to an existing or fresh ownCloud. You have been warned: There be dragons, as we don’t provide official builds yet, you will need to build them from source with scant documentation.

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