I remember being blown away the first time I saw how Google Docs works, how two (or more) people could be editing the same document in different places at the same time. I don’t very often need that functionality, but I thought it was super cool.
When I was first setting up my Owncloud server, there wasn’t anything like that for Owncloud. When I moved to Nextcloud, I hoped maybe it would have something close. Nextcloud seems pretty eager to be a fully formed alternative to Google, to provide all the many apps/features (drive, mail, maps, news, calendar, etc.) that make the user happy to stay inside the Google ecosystem and never leave. I can report that Nextcloud is well on its way to that goal, even if it is not there quite yet. “Nextcloud Hub” is what they call this suite of tools. As I have mentioned previously, it includes the file server, a news reader, a kanban task manager, a music player, a calendar, an email client, video chat, contacts, maps, and so on.
So far, I have the file server, news reader, kanban task manager, and music player working well as my daily drivers. I just installed the shared office software and got it configured fully. It is called Collabora, and it is based on a form of LibreOffice, the leading office suite in free/open office software. My report so far? Wow! Just beautiful, fast, fully functional, smooth, fantastic all around.
The one caveat that I should make is that it can be tricky to set up. You have to set up a separate server to host the Collabora software, and what Nextcloud does is it just provides you a user interface to interact with that server. Once it is up and running, it is butter. But getting it up and running might be a bit of a pain.
It actually was really easy for me, though, because, as is now my unerring practice, I followed Jacob Kauffmann’s lead in setting Collabora up. His video guide is here. He uses Docker as a container to hold Collabora, and so I did too (you do what the nerdonthestreet tells you to do), but he says you can install it without Docker if you want/dare. I had not used Docker before, and Jacob is not high on Docker, but I have found everything to work great so far.
One important note: if you are not familiar how to set up virtual hosts in Apache (or the equivalent in Nginx), you might want to learn about those first, since they allow you to set up the Collabora server right there on the same machine (Atwood!) that your Nextcloud server is on. Never fear, though, Jacob has you covered on that score as well. You could also host Collabora on a different server (like I could have put it on Arlington), or on a server provided by a hosting service like Digital Ocean. Any of these methods will work fine, I think, but I found the same-server approach easiest given what I had available to me at the time.
This is cool, and fun, and (mostly) free. You should do this.