Should I go for Nextcloud, Sandstorm or something else?

nextcloud
sandstorm
groupware
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#1

I like this question! And I needed more than 500 characters to answer. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t compare Nextcloud and Sandstorm, but I totally get it! And it’s odd we don’t see more comparisons, but I think the difference may be the approach each ecosystem has to apps.

In Nextcloud, apps are built to the conventions of the core system. They are little subsystems that allow new features, and/or in many case outside integrations and libraries, to interact with the core systems, like users and permissions, things that are fundamental to how Nextcloud works.

Sandstorm provides containers to run a variety of web software. There is so much web software! And there are a bunch of ways web apps express themselves. Sandstorm makes that both manageable and sane for one or a few people to provide relatively instant access to just so much web software.

I prefer Nextcloud, but only because I also happen to like how the core system works there. If you aren’t into it, it won’t make much sense. And if you are looking for a bunch of stuff that isn’t file sharing and organizing, Nextcloud may be a bit overkill.

That said, it has some solid apps that raise to the top that make it a really powerful groupware solution. I have personally used:

  • file sharing/storage/uploading
  • calendaring/contacts with webdav connecting every device ever
  • text and video chat (though not from a mobile device, I have it on my todo)
  • password vault

The Nextcloud app store web interface whatever is trash. I have nothing but love for those folks, and I aint doing anything better, but the app store is a sore spot for sure, and to know what is good you have pay closer attention, I think. Kinda depend on what the core team supports. It’s like how if a WordPress plugin has Automattic as a developer, it won’t necessarily thrill you, but you can be 95% sure it won’t bork your site. And the good stuff increases and gets a little more stable, all the time.

Sandstorm is really neat, but there are some quirks about it that I, as a person that habitually self-hosts a variety of web software, don’t really have to deal with. For instance, a lot of software is built with Sandstorm in mind, if it wants to expose user information is a useful way to the app inside the container.

Now, if I were in a position where I had to support a bunch of web apps for a small team, or just want a sandbox to play with (get it?), and didn’t already invest in a vast infrastructure of cloud services and VPSes, then yeah, I’d reach for it.

That said, I haven’t kept up with Sandstorm since Sandstorm is returning to its community roots. Maybe someone wants to discover more about it! :slight_smile:

As for other groupware solutions, I haven’t had to scan the landscape for a while, and Nextcloud gets the job done. I kinda feel that if the thing that outclasses Nextcloud happens, it will pop up on my radar. But if you think otherwise, let me know!


I recommend Nextcloud to lots of folks, because it is also federated! If we get lots of teams and families and clubs and pubunixi and phr34ks using ActvityPub, it just adds to the network, giving us strength and teaching folks we can expect better systems, and not a solution from Google or Microsoft or Apple or Adobe or Amazon. Federation: The Win!

Also, and gah, I hate to say this because they want me to, but it really is a snap to install, via snapd. @tim and I were trying out new features, and I spun one up in a few minutes. It’s pretty dope!


#2

I want to pop in and mention one of my beefs with NextCloud, is that if your after collaborative editing of rich formats like ODF. Modern builds of Nextcloud/OwnCloud have depreciated WebODF. Which effectively means you can’t get that without a fairly complicated resource intensive deployment. You can’t effectively get that feature anymore on a RaspberryPi deployment like you once could. I also could never find documentation of anyone who got the Open Office Online connection working on a pure BSD environment.

So if thats a high priority feature for you, its going to cut into ease of deployment and mandate your family of server OS a bit.

Depending on what features your after and what your deployment plans might be. This can be a factor.


#3

Great point. The Google Docs experience can be had, maybe?, in Nextcloud, if one invests in hosting Collabora Online. Not a small investment, here’s a quote from Collabora Online Office – Nextcloud today:

Requirements

To install it the following dependencies are required:

  1. A host that can run a Docker container
  2. A subdomain or a second domain that the Collabora Online server can run on
  3. An Apache server with some enabled modules (NGINX instructions in a blog here)
  4. A valid SSL certificate for the domain that Collabora Online should run on
  5. A valid SSL certificate for your Nextcloud

Note: This guide does NOT cover self-signed certificates. If you use a self-signed certificate then you’re mostly on your own :wink:

Now, if we look at what it is doing, that’s not bad! I think a lot of folks take for granted the complexity of Googly docs.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never bothered setting up CODE, the whatever, community version or whatnot. I don’t like Collabora because they have sales people where tech docs should be. But I also never, ever have a reason to edit a document in that way, either. Version control, text, publishing workflows, I don’t really use word processors in life.

I wonder how many folks see the sales pages for Doocly Gogs, try to get it set up, have no idea what to do, go clog up the support forums.


#4

I never have either. Because ive looked at it and it wasn’t enough bang for how little I needed it. Especially considering the lack of docs and overall complexity of setup. Ive sinced just moved to purely P2P usage of syncthing; and just throw up files to people via https://jirafeau.net if I need to share them.

However I did use WebODF because it was there out of the box and had zero admin complexity; and I know people are looking for that feature. WebODF worked quite well for me back in the day.


split this topic #5

4 posts were split to a new topic: Syncthing the things with friends that sync