Office suites have to be just about the most boring topic to write about on the internet…but when you think about it, they are a hugely important tool in education. Microsoft has ruled this space for decades now and done everything it can to try and bury open file standards for documents. Tools like Open Office and its fork Libre Office have gamely tried to catch up to the Microsoft juggernaut. Certainly in business Microsoft Office is king and that was the case in education until recently. Schools have increasingly moved away from standalone software to utilising cloud-based solutions like Google Drive. It seems to me that Microsoft is a little late to this party with Office 365 when compared to Google Docs. However…Google!
I recently saw a demo of a fork of Libre Office called Collabora Office. Normally this wouldn’t be of much interest, but this fork was running as a backend server for online editing. In essence, this version worked much as Google Drive did, but through frontends like Nextcloud and Owncloud. With a bit of fiddling I ran the backend server as a docker container and installed a connector app from the Nextcloud App repository. I had to mess about with subdomain names and configuring my reverse proxy, but I’m super impressed with it!
The guide for doing it yourself is here, along with a handy youtube tutorial.
There is also a fairly active forum with lots of resources to help.