Open Edit Save (OES) is a feature in Fronter that makes it possible to edit office documents that have been uploaded to Fronter. The feature previously used a custom-made OES browser plugin. But the technologies behind this plugin are no longer supported in several browsers. Therefore, the OES feature has been reimplemented using a native ActiveX plugin where applicable, and WebDAV directly otherwise.
When we first got the chance to reimplement this feature, we wanted to improve the user experience. There are two main things that you will probably notice:
- Instead of a complicated dialog asking you to choose how to version (major, minor, none), and provide a comment, you now just need to answer a single question: Do you want to create a version?
- The instructions for WebDAV were overly complicated and difficult to read. We have pared down the instructions to what we think users really need to know. And you can skip over the instructions if you already know what to do.
- We found several behaviours related to editing and commenting on a file that were inconsistent. Where possible, we have improved consistency.
There are two main places where OES is possible:
- From any Resources folder, including Hand-in folders, Activity folders, My Documents, Documents and Fronter Documents.
- From Hand-in comments.
From a Resources folder, navigate to the file you want to edit. In the file’s drop down menu, there should be an option to Edit file:
After you click on Edit file, you can choose to either create a new version of the file, or edit the existing version.
Create new version: The new version will be stored as history “under” the original file (choose History in front of the original file to see other versions). The file name remains the same and the version number is added in parentheses next to the file name.
Overwrite existing file: You are overwriting the document and can’t go back to the original document or latest version. When the document you are overwriting had already some versions, the latest version will be overwritten.
Note: If you want to create a new document based on an existing one and keep the existing one, copy the document (choose Copy instead of Edit file).
At this point, if you are working in Internet Explorer on Windows, an ActiveX plugin (ActiveX should by default be enabled in Internet Explorer) will trigger opening of the relevant desktop application (e.g. Microsoft Word, LibreOffice). You can immediately go to that application and start editing your file.
If you are using another browser on a different platform, then there are few additional steps you need to take:
Copy the file url:
After you have clicked the ‘Copy’ button, you can either open the desktop application or if you need more instructions, you can click on the ‘More info’ button.
Now open the desktop application. Open the file by pasting the url you just copied into the File -> Open dialog.
For example, in LibreOffice, it will look something like this:
Click on ‘Open’ and that is it. Now you should be able to edit the document, then choose save, and all your changes will be saved back to the file in Fronter. No additional message about the document being saved will be shown.
If you are a teacher, in the Hand-in tool, you can comment on a student’s reply by clicking on the wanted hand-in, then clicking on the context menu for the wanted student reply, and selecting Comment in that menu:
You are then directed to a new view, where one of the options is “Add comments in the hand-in”. Clicking on the document link will open the same dialog as above.
In the comment view you will only be able to edit the file, so you won’t see the “Create new version” option.
Once you have saved the document with your comments, there will be an entry in “Comments”, called “Commented version of “. You can edit this repeatedly and add or modify any comments. You can also edit offline, and upload the commented file, but that will add another entry to the “Comments” section. Editing via WebDAV will always edit the same file, regardless of how many comment documents you have uploaded.
Changes compared to the former OES plugin in Fronter
There are some behaviours that have changed, compared to the old OES version:
- In a Resources folder, when a file is overwritten using both ActiveX or WebDAV (copy-paste url into the editor), the author of the document will always be the same (the user who has uploaded the file). If you create a new version, however, the author of the document will change.
- In a Resources folder, if you add a comment on a file, it will always be related to the latest version of the file.
- Some files would get the “Edit file” option even though it was not actually possible to edit and/or save the file. Now, only files that can successfully be edited and saved, will get the “Edit file” option.
- It is now possible to track the changes that were made to the document in Word. If you are not used to this Word option, you might get surprised at first seeing a lot of red lines and corrections in your document. But to see the changes a person has made in the document is an improvement and track changes can easily turned on or off in Word. Please see this help article from Microsoft for more info.
Supported file types
The OES function supports the following file types:
docx, dotx, dot, docm, doc, xlsx, xlsm, xls, pptx, pptm, ppt, ppsx, ppsm, pps, sxw, sxc, sxi, sxm, odt, odg, ods, odp, pdf
When I edit a *.docx file in OpenOffice, and then save, I only get the “Save as” option
It is not possible to use WebDAV with the combination of *.docx files and OpenOffice. In this case you will have to re-upload the edited document to Fronter. To resolve this, we recommend that you use LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.
Why is my file opening in ‘Protected View’ in MS Word?
When you are using Internet Explorer and MS Word, your file might open in ‘Protected View’ and you are not able to edit it unless you click on ‘Enable Editing’. This is because Microsoft protects files that are coming from a website. If you want to disable the ‘Protected View’ so that all documents you open from Fronter, you have to add https://fronter.com to your trusted sites in your Internet Explorer settings. Here is an explanation on how to do this: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/forum/ie9-windows_7/how-do-i-add-a-site-to-my-trusted-sites-list/98cc77c8-b364-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5
Please note: When you have opened a document and it is in ‘Protected View’, another user can also edit the file. If you then go to edit mode, but the other user is also editing already, your changes will get lost.
When I click on “Edit file” from the file’s context menu, I get the following message:
Only one person can edit a file at a time. So when one user opens a file for editing, that file is set to a “locked” state, preventing other users from editing the same file. To “unlock” the file, the first user needs to complete their editing session and log out of Fronter.
Internet Explorer breaks unexpectedly when I click one of the choices (“Create a version” or “Overwrite existing version”) in the Edit file dialog
To resolve this, you need to add the Fronter domain as a trusted site in your Internet Explorer:
- Go to Internet Options –> Tab Security –> Trusted sites
- Click on the Sites button and add the Fronter domain: https://fronter.com
When opening the file in OpenOffice or LibreOffice, a popup is shown saying: “document.doc is locked for editing by: Unknown User. Open document read-only or open a copy of the document for editing”
This message means that OpenOffice/LibreOffice needs to be configured to allow opening documents using WebDAV over HTTPS:
- Go to Tools –> Options –> General –> Open/Save dialogs
- Check the “Use OpenOffice dialogs” option
For more info: https://help.libreoffice.org/Common/Opening_a_Document_Using_WebDAV_over_HTTPS
I cannot save my *.dotx file when using LibreOffice
LibreOffice does not support saving *.dotx files. To make changes to *.dotx files, you will need to use Microsoft Word, or else convert the document to a type that is supported.
I use Internet Explorer 11 and have MS Office, but MS Office does not open when I want to edit the file. I only get the Copy link dialog
Please make sure that ActiveX is enabled in your Internet Explorer settings. Please see here for how to adjust ActiveX settings in Internet Explorer: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/internet-explorer/use-activex-filtering#ie=ie-11
The copied WebDAV url is lost when I open Word 2007
This is a known issue with Word 2007. The workaround is to open Word first before you copy the url. For more info: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2007-word/clipboard-emptied-every-time-i-open-word-or-excel/8604b1b3-ef20-4af2-b006-d8682973c151?auth=1