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File / Image Manager in Hornbill


samwoo

File / Image Manager in Hornbill  

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Hello,

When we upload files into Hornbill, they are obviously stored somewhere... I was wondering if we could have access to this file storage and maintain it in some ways? Ie. add tags to the files, viewing what people have uploaded, grouping them and being able to upload files this way.

I am have tried different methods where I want to upload a couple of images I would like to use in a Workspace post... or even in the timeline of a ticket 

  1. The first method was to upload to a folder on our network, then pull in the FTP url... this didnt work
     
  2. The second method which took a while was to upload to a folder on our network that is visible to Hornbill, whilst this works it was time consuming, as I had to navigate via FTP to the file itself then extract the EXACT URL - not very user friendly.
     
  3. The third method was to use Document Manager... whilst this worked a little, it would eventually clutter the libraries and doesn't really make sense to store in that location.
     
  4. The fourth method was to create a Workspace called "Image Uploads" - Users would upload an image to it, right click on the upload image and copy the URL from it's Properties... but the problem with this is that it would appear on the user's Buzzfeed... i am unable to prevent anything from this Workspace from appearing in the Buzzfeed and it isn't user-friendly for users to have to rely on right clicking on the properties of an image to get the URL

My idea would be to have a dedicate area for where files and images are stored, where we can access what's already uploaded and maintain them or to be able to upload to it.

I can imagine this being called something like File Manager.

In here we can generate a Wiki Markup URL which we can copy and paste into our posts.

I can also envisage File Manager being available anywhere in the system with a shortcut and a box that popups up in front of Hornbill.

Just a thought,

Thanks,

Samuel

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Hi Samuel,

Thats an interesting question, the notion of a File Manager type app has come up before.  I presume you are talking about files that are attached to requests etc?  In essence all files are stored under the hood in a flat key/value store. Unlike a filesystem on a computer that you are used to working with, the file storage on Hornbill relies on the meta data in the database to relate the content to the information. For example, the email messages sent and received are in the database, one of the tables is called something like mail_file_atachments  which contains all of the information about the file, its name, its size, creation date etc... and its content ID, The content id is the pointer into the key/value store that holds the actual file content.  Each application (like Service Manager for example) also uses the same scheme but maintains its own set of tables that hold references to file attachements, as well as we do have a general scheme for what we call "Entity File Attachemnets" which again has some form of table to hold the meta data. 

So the file attachments meta data are distributed around numerous database tables, and the content is stored in a number of key/value stores. Providing a single unified view on all of these files would not be possible, and more importantly would break the security access controls on that content would be compromised because we rely on the meta data and go through the applications in order to get at the content, which is all rights controlled.

So if you are talking about existing content being uploaded to the various entities there is no way of doing that easily I am afraid. 

If you are talking about a File Manager applications where you can upload and organise files (a bit like document manager but for libraries of files) then this is something I am also keen to add to our ever growing list of Hornbill Applications but probably not something we could get done any time soon.  

hopefully that all makes sense. 

Gerry

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Hi @Gerry,

Thanks for your detailed response. That method of storage is not something I know very much about so am happy with your explanation into how it all works and it makes sense. But yes in short I am talking about a File Manager app, very much like Document Manager as you say, but for files of all types. Just thinking about this almost makes it sound like it can plug in to every aspect of Service Manager and other apps you provide, including the Portals.

I wonder if when such a time comes that this gets developed that the ability to link with OneDrive and others which will truly make this shine.

Thanks Gerry!,

Samuel

 

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  • 2 years later...

Hi @Gerry,

I wanted to revive this request as we have a need for storing files and images somewhere that can be accessed within the Employee Portal as well as the Mobile Portal. (In particular, within FAQ's, within the Employee Portal pages and within the PCF)..

At the moment, we are not focused on the Mobile Portal since we have no external file storage solution but would like to introduce it at some point, once we are fully established with the Employee Portal.

Has there been any thoughts / conversations with regards to the idea of having a file manager app taken place?  This would prove useful if links to files and images can be contained within Hornbill, with the future possibility of linking to external third-party cloud storage such as SharePoint, OneDrive, Google Drive, and any others.

Thanks,

Samuel

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Hi @samwoo

As its now possible to share documents from Document Manager, what are the nature of the images? Are these images you want to include in FAQ's? I ask because its also possible to add images to FAQ's so with these two things, can this meet your need?

Gerry

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Just now, Gerry said:

Hi @samwoo

As its now possible to share documents from Document Manager, what are the nature of the images? Are these images you want to include in FAQ's? I ask because its also possible to add images to FAQ's so with these two things, can this meet your need?

Gerry

Thanks for getting in touch Gerry,

We would like to include these in FAQ's, we also want to include these images, videos + files in the PCF as well as on the Employee Portal configuration and widgets too.

For example, the header text in the employee portal requires a HTTPS URL - an image cannot be uploaded to it, so I'm having to use a temporary HTTPS location on our servers, but we don't want to expose this server and its files to the web (even if restricting the access to just a specific location) - which means this won't work in the Mobile Portal.

So, to summarise the file storage is for holding:
1. Files (.docx, .pdf, .xlsx, .txt, .sql, .ps1, .zip etc.)
2. Images
3. Videos

That can be used in one or more locations:
1. FAQ's
2. Progressive Capture Forms
3. Employee Portal Widgets (including Mobile Portal)
4. Employee Portal configuration
5. Timelines

If there was a Hornbill App that can manage these, then tags against the files would be extremely useful so we can search for files that are tagged "Employee Portal" and "Infrastructure Service" for example.

Of course, Hornbill would have to consider storage space as part of the offering, with various levels of storage options, like how Google does for example.

Thanks,

Samuel

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@samwoo

Thanks for the clarifications.  For static content like documents, XLS and general text documents, Document Manager does this reasonably well already, it allows you to maintain versions, organise with tags and provide descriptions etc... 

FAQ's also let you include static images, and a link to media such as Youtube or Vimeo video content.  

With regards to *storing video* the storage is really only a small part of the equation, you also need to deal with streaming, and that means you have to deal with encoding/transcoding when you upload video to put it into a streamable format, and then you need the web server infrastructure that can understand and manage the video streaming requests. This collectively is known as Video on Demand VoD and is essentially what YouTube and Vimeo do.  Having VoD capability on our platform is something I have looked at previously, there is clearly a need for secure video hosting/streaming which is what a platform like Hornbill could offer over and above what something like YouTube offers. The problem with this is, its a very expensive service to provide, storage an bandwidth are huge, any CDN provider will be charging for both storage and streaming bandwidth and overall I very much doubt there is enough demand in our customer base, who would be also willing to pay for such a service, and so its not made any priority at this time, I think Video-On-Demand is probably out of scope for any type of Servicedesk or CRM solution. 

In terms of the static content though, I think you can already achieve what you want?

 

Gerry

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Hi @Gerry

16 hours ago, Gerry said:

Thanks for the clarifications.  For static content like documents, XLS and general text documents, Document Manager does this reasonably well already, it allows you to maintain versions, organise with tags and provide descriptions etc... 

 
 

Is it possible for Employee Portal users to download a file that's in Document Manager by clicking on a link in the Employee Portal or in the PCF (without displaying a library of documents)?  I can't quite picture how that works without a basic user having full Document Manager access, unless I've forgotten something that can make this work.

16 hours ago, Gerry said:

With regards to *storing video*

Thanks for the information regarding storing video.

16 hours ago, Gerry said:

In terms of the static content though, I think you can already achieve what you want?

Yes, I can for the most part - the difficulty lies with how we manage those places where static content cannot be uploaded to but only linked using Wiki Mark-up (such as PCF and the Employee Portal widgets) or in a field that requires a HTTPS link (such as the Employee Portal Configuration pages in Administration for the logos and banners).  These will need to feed back into the Mobile Employee Portal as well.

I tried creating a workspace to upload these files to, then extract the link from there to be used in these areas, but it only works on my end, no-one else can see them... i'm presuming these links include a unique session id that's just available to me.

Thanks,

Samuel

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@samwoo

Ok I see what you are asking for I think. Let me first clarify, all content in Hornbill is considered "secure content" that is, there are access mechanisms to control access to documents, images and other content, and access is generally bound to a user session. In other words, there is no default or public access to almost any content, at the point you access a document, for example when you are viewing a list of documents being presented to you in Document Manager, at the point of you clicking the link to view/download the system will verify that you have access through whichever security mechanisms are protecting that content, and then issue an access token, which our serves will recognise and serve the content of the access token authorises them to do so. That is the essence of how the security model works.

Now what I think you are asking for is a way of managing content such as images., documents, files and other stuff, and then create share/publically accessible links which you can subsequently use in other content such as web pages, wiki markup etc...  Is that what you are looking for?

I think what you are looking for is a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution - or at least that class of functionality, tools/platforms like these: https://www.capterra.co.uk/sem/compare/directory/30203/digital-asset-management/software

Is that the sort of thing you are looking for?  That does fall into the category of a different application, its certainly something that the Hornbill platform could support, its a form of reimagine of Document Manager is how I would see it, but I guess at this point there is very limited demand for such a capability, it would be quite a lot of engineering effort to build such an application and given the plethora of cloud-based file-sharing solutions that exist out there already, many of which are free to use, it does not appear commercially viable at this time for Hornbill to build such an application. 

Given there is such a diverse assortment of file sharing applications already out there, including things like o365, Google Docs, Sharepoint and the list goes on - what do you see Hornbill brining to the table? I guess I am asking what are your motivations when you look to Hornbill for a solution to the file sharing need?  (I am just curious about why Hornbill should be considering building such a solution... which is why I am asking that particular question)

 

Thanks,

Gerry
 

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Hi @Gerry,

Happy New Year!

On 12/31/2020 at 2:42 PM, Gerry said:

Ok I see what you are asking for I think. Let me first clarify, all content in Hornbill is considered "secure content" that is, there are access mechanisms to control access to documents, images and other content, and access is generally bound to a user session. In other words, there is no default or public access to almost any content, at the point you access a document, for example when you are viewing a list of documents being presented to you in Document Manager, at the point of you clicking the link to view/download the system will verify that you have access through whichever security mechanisms are protecting that content, and then issue an access token, which our serves will recognise and serve the content of the access token authorises them to do so. That is the essence of how the security model works.

 
 
 
 
 
On 12/31/2020 at 2:42 PM, Gerry said:

Now what I think you are asking for is a way of managing content such as images., documents, files and other stuff, and then create share/publically accessible links which you can subsequently use in other content such as web pages, wiki markup etc...  Is that what you are looking for?

 
 
 
 
 
On 12/31/2020 at 2:42 PM, Gerry said:

I think what you are looking for is a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution - or at least that class of functionality, tools/platforms like these: https://www.capterra.co.uk/sem/compare/directory/30203/digital-asset-management/software

Yes, you are correct - however if the potential solution was just contained to just the Hornbill products that then would be even better - then the issue with having these files available publicly as any DAM solutions would provide would not exist, because all security is contained within Hornbill, and therefore managed by the Hornbill platform against the user that is logged in to the platform, either via live.hornbill.com or via Hornbill mobile.

  • This could mean that users can link to a file from the Hornbill platform. 
    • Include a link to the file in the email templates,
  • Auto attach specific files to the emails as part of the BPM
    • Access the files from within the Hornbill platform either via a direct link URL (so it can be used to display the image banner in the Employee Portal or within an FAQ) or
    • They could download it. 
  • Certain security roles (or even tags) against these files could restrict the ability to download them or not etc. 

Lots of possibilities.  All of this could be considered as an extension to Document Manager, allowing these additional functionalities, especially uploading images and extracted a fixed HTTPS url from it so it can be used it all locations within Hornbill... though in the end it may mean the Document Manager name being changed to reflect the management of all file types (except video).

 

On 12/31/2020 at 2:42 PM, Gerry said:

Given there is such a diverse assortment of file sharing applications already out there, including things like o365, Google Docs, Sharepoint and the list goes on - what do you see Hornbill brining to the table? I guess I am asking what are your motivations when you look to Hornbill for a solution to the file sharing need?  (I am just curious about why Hornbill should be considering building such a solution... which is why I am asking that particular question)

 
 
 

We are very big on security and therefore want to keep the number of services / applications we work with to a minimum.  Out of the list above and other services, we only use Office 365/SharePoint, however we would ideally not have a location on these Services which is publicly accessible (so the contents can be accessed via Hornbill mobile, on a work Smartphone for example), when the time comes.

We are currently exploring having a public storage location in Azure so these files/images can be accessed within Hornbill mobile, but again raises the question about security.

 

On 12/31/2020 at 2:42 PM, Gerry said:

I guess I am asking what are your motivations when you look to Hornbill for a solution to the file sharing need? 

 
 
 

So to summarise, I am looking for a way to keep Hornbill related files and images contained within Hornbill, that can be accessed in any part of Hornbill and within Hornbill Mobile or the Employee portal, that could potentially be controlled by security / roles / groups etc.  But I would also like the ability to extract a direct link to these files so everyone can access them, so or using a shortcut that Hornbill can interpret - making these up as an example 

  • eg. [[doc:DOC000123455]]
  • eg. [[img:IMG00001]]

Which means that the Hornbill platform could then interpret that and generate a link from it for the user clicking on it (or even just trying to view it when navigating to a page)

Maybe file sharing isn't the right word to use, but I can't think of what could be.

Thanks,

Samuel

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@samwoo

For your info we have a similar requirement, but more focused on external customer software file distribution. We are currently implementing this via OneDrive integration and the new Document Management Service/Customer Portal integration.

From your description is sound like a Content Management System (CMS) application for the Hornbill platform, with links to the related applications.

Cheers

Martyn

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  • 5 months later...

@samwoo @Gerry @Alisha

Hello, we are having a similar problem with trying to launch our new employee portal.  We do not have anything internally with an https location for us to put images onto.  Thus we cannot add any images at all to our new employee portal, so we run the risk of 'launching' a new employee portal that actually looks less professional than our current portal which has a nice banner across the top etc...

It would be ideal for us to have a location within the Hornbill cloud, whether just a simple folder somewhere or the ability to add images to My Documents, where we could then link these images to our new portal.

Anything here would help us greatly...  we are running out of ideas now...

 

Thanks,

Bobby

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as a temporary fix you could upload here https://imgur.com/ and make the images hidden and then use the links to add images etc to the employee portal.

I know it may not be the best solution but we have found that it works for us for some non-copyrighted/generic images.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi!  Just jumping on this feed as here at MSE we also looking for a way of managing/storing images in Hornbill and using in email templates, rather than having to store images on an externally facing webpage. 

Has there been any progress in development on this? 

Thanks

Sam

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, a really easy way around file storage (small files) would be an enhancement that allows images to be added to the My Document sections as images and not inserted into 'documents'.

Our current issue of not having an https area to link images is preventing us from using the new employee portal.  At present we cannot go live until a solution can be found for this.  Our IT believe that file storage for a 150kb logo should be done by Hornbill and shouldn't be a solution that the local IT have to provide.

So either having images (as images) within My Documents or a small storage area within Hornbill seems to be the only way we can move forward and actually use the new employee portal.  Security issues prevent us from using external file hosting sites.

@Gerry

@Alisha

@Samrai

 

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@BobbyB

Thanks for the suggestion. The problem is this (a bit technical sorry), Document Manager works with "protected" storage under the hood. That is to say, the content (documents) are stored in storage that is quite robustly protected for security reasons, in essence we treat that data as private, not only to individual instances, but based on user rights/roles.  This means, amongst other things that there is no direct path from the internet to this storage, and access to it would have to go through a session/API's making it entirely unsuitable for managing embedded images in emails. which by definition would need to be accessible publicly by someone that does not have a session on your Hornbill instance.  

So what looks like a simple change here is actually not that simple to achieve in practice.  I continue to recognise the need for this, and I would love to find the time to have the team focus on a solution to this, but at the moment, its just not been a high agenda item. We would need to create a service behind the scenes to handle this public facing data, and it needs thinking about, and the right infrastructure needs to be put in place. A complete review of our distributed storage is currently underway and part of that is looking at publicly & efficiently accessible content serving, including images, video and documents/other resources are all being looked at. Wiith this in place we could then build some form of app for managing these types of resources, but for the reasons above this would not be based on Document Manager, it would look like it somewhat from a user perspective, but it would be a very different thing under the hood. 

So at the moment this is not in our 90-day pipeline I am afraid

Gerry

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@Gerry

Thanks for the reply.  I'm not sure about the 'making it unsuitable for managing embedded images in emails.'  I'm not trying to put images into emails but want to put 1 image onto my new employee portal.  I currently have links to My Documents that contain user guides for customers to view (until a decent FAQ widget becomes available) so this 1 image can be set to the Basic role for all customers just like the guides we've created which would make it visible on the portal to all our customers.

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@BobbyB

Understand the requirement, and its something we do want to introduce on our platform. I mention email because thats the other really common use case.  There are lots of stand-alone image hosting services, many are free and simple to use and will give you what you need, perhaps one of those would be a short-term solution?

Something like this: https://postimages.org/ this maybe?

Gerry

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am delighted to be able to (finally) tell you that we now have in motion an image hosting and image management function in our 90-day pipeline and under development.  This is a platform-level function that will allow you to : -

Administration
* Upload and see a list of images in the image library.
* Do basic privilege level access control, essentially allowing images to be public (i.e. no session required), customer, basic or user, requiring an appropriate session
* Will automatically generate a thumbnail image for each image uploaded. 

User
* As well as be able to use an external URL as you currently can, in the employee portal where you can change/add an image you will be able to upload an image into the library and use it, or browse/search the image library to choose a specific image to use. 
* We will make this generic in all places where you can configure portals, services and other such stuff where images are required. 

This will be made available within the next 90 days, likely before the end of the year.  Thanks for all the feedback regarding this requirement. 

Gerry

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@Martyn Houghton

"For your info we have a similar requirement, but more focused on external customer software file distribution"  this change will not cater for this requirement, although we are looking into the possibility of creating an application on the Hornbill platform for managing a digital asset library, which would include access controls, sharing and distribution capabilities.  One of the dependancies is our back-end storage which we are in the process of building a whole new and more capable storage layer in our software stack.  I will keep you informed of progress and will hook you up with an early preview of this as we have something to look at. 
Gerry

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12 minutes ago, Gerry said:

I am delighted to be able to (finally) tell you that we now have in motion an image hosting and image management function in our 90-day pipeline and under development.  This is a platform-level function that will allow you to : -

Administration
* Upload and see a list of images in the image library.
* Do basic privilege level access control, essentially allowing images to be public (i.e. no session required), customer, basic or user, requiring an appropriate session
* Will automatically generate a thumbnail image for each image uploaded. 

User
* As well as be able to use an external URL as you currently can, in the employee portal where you can change/add an image you will be able to upload an image into the library and use it, or browse/search the image library to choose a specific image to use. 
* We will make this generic in all places where you can configure portals, services and other such stuff where images are required. 

This will be made available within the next 90 days, likely before the end of the year.  Thanks for all the feedback regarding this requirement. 

Gerry

This is fantastic @Gerry thank you for giving us an update on this.

Funny, yesterday I had logged an internal ticket to get an Azure Blob Storage configured for storing images used for the Employee Portal / Progressive Captures / Email - this hasn't moved on yet so I can let them know that this is coming.

Will this new functionality be available to all as standard, or would it be licenced functionality?

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55 minutes ago, Gerry said:

I am delighted to be able to (finally) tell you that we now have in motion an image hosting and image management function in our 90-day pipeline and under development.  This is a platform-level function that will allow you to : -

Administration
* Upload and see a list of images in the image library.
* Do basic privilege level access control, essentially allowing images to be public (i.e. no session required), customer, basic or user, requiring an appropriate session
* Will automatically generate a thumbnail image for each image uploaded. 

User
* As well as be able to use an external URL as you currently can, in the employee portal where you can change/add an image you will be able to upload an image into the library and use it, or browse/search the image library to choose a specific image to use. 
* We will make this generic in all places where you can configure portals, services and other such stuff where images are required. 

This will be made available within the next 90 days, likely before the end of the year.  Thanks for all the feedback regarding this requirement. 

Gerry

Great addition, thanks @Gerry

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