Novell Filr 1.0 tested

Cloudy with a Chance of File Servers

Uploading and Editing Files

Filr users can upload files, depending on their access rights, either to My Files , to a shared folder of another user, or to a network folder. Folders or extensive folder structures unfortunately do not work in the web client. This functionality is only supported if you use the native client for Windows or Mac.

Network folders are shared directories in the filesystem of the enterprise file servers, which the admin integrated into the Filr setup and which are managed by Filr. You can upload files by dumping them into the drag-and-drop area of the web client, or you can use the file selector. New folders can be created at the press of a button.

Internal and external Filr users can edit files directly in the web interface or after downloading. The mobile client only supports the offline method and therefore always requires a download. To edit the file via WebDAV directly in Filr, you need the necessary rights and an appropriate application for the file type on your computer  – say, MS Office or LibreOffice for .doc files. To edit the file, select View Details from the drop-down menu to the right of the file entry. Filr then displays a preview of the file in the browser for all supported file formats (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Filr shows a preview in the browser for numerous file types.

In this view, you can also press the button to share the file with other users. More takes you to actions for copying, deleting, and subscribing. If a user subscribes to a file or folder, Filr uses email to notify the user about changes. A subset of the functions available in More is also found in the object menu to the right of each file.

When a user clicks the Edit this File button in the browser preview, Filr opens the file in the registered default editor, such as Microsoft Word for .doc files. The button is only available if the file type is supported locally and is associated with an application. Thus, for example, you cannot immediately edit a .docx file on a Linux machine, but you can edit a .doc file. You can, however, use the Define Editor Overrides option under Personal Preferences , which lets you replace the default application for the specified file type (Figure 6). You can access Personal Preferences by clicking on the Filr ID at the top right.

Figure 6: The Define Editor Overrides dialog lets you define the local application responsible for a file type.

When the user clicks on the link directly, instead of on the file name, Filr downloads the file and displays the Save As dialog in the browser. After a user has made changes offline, Filr offers to overwrite the existing file in the Resolve File Conflicts dialog when it is uploaded again.

Access Privileges and Shares

Filr users can share files and folders with other Filr users if the option is enabled by the administrator. Otherwise, the Share button is not available. The Filr admin can grant share rights to individual users or groups in the administrative console below System | Share Settings . Filr distinguishes between the share targets Internal users , All internal users , External users , and Public . Additionally, Filr supports a Re-share right, which lets a user share an element that was shared with them, without being the owner of that element. To share a file or folder, select the object, click on Share , and use the Share with search filter in the Share dialog to find the target.

Then, you can use the Grant Share Rights dialog to choose between Viewer and Editor . An editor can edit files that are shared with them and all the files in any folders shared with them. For shared folders, a Contributor right also can be granted. Contributors can create folders in the directory and rename, edit, move, or delete existing files. Alternatively, the Make Public option is an element with the Public group assigning Viewer rights to the group (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Filr differentiates in terms of share rights between the type of permission (read, write, contribute) and between target groups (internal and external users and guests).

Filr shows the files shared by a user in the web interface below Shared by Me . Files and folders shared with the user are available in Shared with Me . The Filter List at the top right lets you filter the displayed items. The Collaboration icon next to it lets you change the number, order, and width of the columns displayed. In addition to editing, sharing or deleting, you can also comment on shared files.

In the context menu to the right of the file name, you'll find the functions Share (or Re-share ), View Details , View HTML , View Who Has Access , Rename File , and Subscribe . Shares also can be provided with an expiration date. Pressing More takes you to a context menu with the functions Copy , Move , Clear , Read/Unread , and again Subscribe . During copying, you can use the file manager icon to select a destination, such as a Filr folder or a share.

User Management

The administrator defines an internal Filr user in Management | User Accounts in the Administration Console. When creating a new user, Filr opens a new browser window in which the admin can enter the first name, last name, a password, and personal information. Users can also customize or enter this information themselves and, if desired, add an image of the user.

Back in the user list, a click on the little arrow next to the appropriate user name opens a special menu: Here, the admin can enable or disable personal storage for the user and access the User Properties dialog to change the user's profile. Additionally, by pressing the Sharing button, the Filr admin can assign a network folder and set up basic sharing rights for internal users with the respective buttons in the sharing rights dialog (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Besides concrete, object-specific sharing rights, the admin can also define what kind of sharing rights users have in their own work area.

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