We just released a beta version of Nuxeo Drive, a desktop synchronization tool for the Nuxeo content repository. We thought that a little story would be the best way of presenting this plugin, that you can yourself install it on your running Nuxeo 5.6 instance that is up to date with all hot fixes (through HF14). (This version is not compatible with a 5.7-SNAPSHOT Nuxeo server).
John Doe works as a sales rep in a pharmaceutical company. He is frequently at customer sites, presenting the product catalog. When he started with the company, they only had one drug on the market. The company has grown, the product line has grown, and the product documentation is frequently updated. Often, he doesn’t have the latest documents when on site. He is tempted to use one of many consumer cloud file sync services, such as Dropbox or Box, but knows that it is against policy and would violate basic security rules, putting his company’s intellectual property at risk.
John Doe has heard about Nuxeo Drive, the desktop file synchronization tool that simplifies the way you access documents stored in a Nuxeo content repository. John asks his sys admin to install the Nuxeo Marketplace package in the corporate Nuxeo Platform instance, a quick 2 min + server restart operation.
Easy client set up
John can easily see that the plugin is active because there is a new action button on every folder in Nuxeo. Then John goes to the Home tab, and notices a new sub tab on the left, called “Nuxeo Drive.” From that tab, he sees the “Download the Nuxeo Drive Client” section, and clicks on the Mac OS X link, which is next to the Windows package. Installation takes only a few seconds – he only needs to choose the location of the Nuxeo Drive folder. Then when starting Nuxeo Drive for the first time, John is prompted for connection information to his Nuxeo application. That’s a one-time task; after that, the URL persists and authentication is token-based.
Quick folder hierarchy synchronization
John now has a Nuxeo Drive folder on his desktop, but it is empty! He remembers seeing the synchronization icon in Nuxeo, and goes to the product presentations folder and clicks on the Drive sync icon. Immediately he can see under the local Nuxeo Drive folder that the synchronized node appears, as well as all the subfolders and files they contained. It was a big folder with multiple sub levels and thousands of documents, so it takes a little time, but John is impressed by the speed! And he can see on the taskbar a new Drive icon. Clicking on it gives him a status: 42 pending documents.
Offline access to documents
Unfortunately, John has to stop his experiment as he has a meeting in 30 minutes and he has not left the office yet. He closes his laptop and jumps into his car. There is no traffic and John arrives 10 minutes early for the meeting. This gives him time to review his slides. He finds them in the set of synchronized files in the Nuxeo Drive folder. Double clicking on the file launches PowerPoint as usual. He notices some spelling errors and fixes them, then saves the presentation. He also had to open and edit a second PowerPoint file caleld “animations.ppt,” where corporate drawings are stored.
Resume synchronization and conflict management
Back at the office, John is back online. The systray notification says 44 pending operations, actually the 42 pending downloads + the 2 uploads of files that were modified when he was offline. John is happily surprised at the robustness of the synchronization process. A few seconds after, the systray says “folder up to date.” Johns checks how the presentation was updated on the Nuxeo server. He browses the Nuxeo application and sees that a new minor version was created that includes his modifications. In the folder where the other file, the one with the animations is located, he now sees two files: “animations.ppt” and “animations.ppt (John Doe - 2013/04/08).ppt.” That’s because a conflict was detected at synchronization time, and Drive services let the users do the merge, keeping the two files safe.
Conflict resolution and new Live Edit action
Someone had updated the animations.ppt file while John was on the road. To resolve the conflict, Johns opens both files (either from the local Drive folder, or from Nuxeo using the new “Live Edit” action button, that now relies on Nuxeo Drive software) and uses a PowerPoint comparison/merge tool for resolving the conflict. He updates animations.ppt with his own modifications. Finally, he deletes animations.ppt (John Doe - 2013/04/01).ppt.
Managing all the synchronized root folders
John finds this new feature so useful that he starts clicking on plenty of folders he wants to synchronize. He noticed he can see the complete list of synchronized folders from the /Home/Nuxeo Drive screen and is even able to remove some of the synchronized nodes from there, so he doesn’t worry about synchronizing too many of them.
Documents and folders
John starts using Nuxeo Drive for more of his daily work. He discovers that removing files and folders locally will remove them on the server. Moving, renaming, deleting files on the server will do the same locally – all this is very simple and intuitive!
Token deletion and multiple devices
After an important presentation for a potential customer, John forgot his briefcase and laptop, probably in the lobby. As he doesn’t want someone else to have a way of always getting synced with the corporate Nuxeo document database, he uses the token revocation feature from the Nuxeo application, located in the Home/Nuxeo Drive tab. He also understands that on his new computer, he will just need to set up the client again, and it will already be configured. Nuxeo Drive can be used on multiple devices. It is a pragmatic tool for keeping your content repository available, whether you’re online or offline.