I’ve been waiting for this–for Nextcloud to level up its offering such that it becomes not just a no-brainer for individuals but businesses as well. Said leveling up occurred when Nextcloud announced a partnership to roll support for Rocket.chat into their on-prem cloud service.
According to Nextcloud CEO Frank Karlitschek, “In a post-pandemic world, solutions like Office 365, Dropbox and Slack will become more popular. This means that all of our data, communication and digital lives will be in the hands of some big corporations without control, privacy and with this huge vendor lock-in.”
With every passing day, it becomes more important that businesses be able to control their data. That’s not just for files saved in cloud services, but the communication that goes on between staff and even clients/customers. Having the addition of such a full-blown chat/collaboration service like Rocket.chat is a big win for Nextcloud.
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Yes, Nextcloud does have its own chat/video server built into the platform, but it’s not nearly as powerful and collaborative as Rocket.chat. The features in the Nextcloud/Rocket.chat union include:
- Project and document collaboration.
- Integration with other Nextcloud tools.
- Easy organizational structure mapping with groups, teams and discussions.
- Integration with many social platform chat tools.
- Integrates with other HR, CRM, ticketing, project management and developer tools.
- Use advanced messaging formatting such as code syntax, formula syntax and message threads.
Now, here’s the caveat. This integration is very much in the early stages of development. I’ve kicked the tires and found it to be far from ready for production environments. In fact, I’ve been unable to get the Nextcloud Rocket.chat app to connect to my in-house Rocket.chat server (which I can connect to with the Rocket.chat desktop app–so I know the server is working properly).
Once installed, it should be a simple matter of adding your username, password and address for the Rocket.chat server and clicking Connect and save (Figure A).
Unfortunately, every attempt to connect failed. And, as you can see, even the app setting icons are broken (so this tool is most certainly not ready for prime time). That failure to connect doesn’t dampen my excitement about this union of platforms. I believe this could well be the one missing piece Nextcloud has needed to make it a viable solution for many businesses. That said, it would certainly have been nice to get a full test of the connection to watch it work. I do have a feeling the problem with my connection is the self-signed certificates used by Univention Server (how I deployed my instance of Rocket.chat). When connecting to my server via the desktop app, I was prompted to accept the self-signed certificate, whereas Nextcloud did not offer that option. Hopefully, in future releases, they’ll add that functionality, so businesses who deploy Rocket.chat as an internal-only solution can also link these two platforms together.
Hopefully, the Rocket.chat/Nextcloud integration will develop quickly and those who want to add this service to their on-premises cloud solution will be able to do so with ease. For those who want to give the integration a whirl, all you have to do is log into your Nextcloud instance, go to Apps | Social & Communication, locate Rocket.chat, and click Download & Enable (Figure B).
Once you’ve installed the app, click your profile image and select Settings | Rocket.chat, where you can attempt to connect to your existing on-prem Rocket.chat server or one hosted on a third-party platform.
As always, I must tip my hat to Nextcloud for continuing to think ahead and advancing a platform that has become an absolute necessity for so many people.
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