Friday, February 8, 2013

Synchronize Sakai content with an Android device

The Sakai CLE offers a WebDAV service to connect from your computer to the contents of a Sakai site as if they were folders in your computer. Normally all WebDAV clients can edit directly files and folders.
Today, mobile devices like smartphones, tablets or ultrabooks allow us to work directly with these files everywhere, although working always on-line maybe is not the best. We must keep in mind that it's easy to lose the network connection so will make it impossible to work on these documents. You must look for a tool that allows you to work directly with documents in your device and synchronize with the server to avoid having to download, edit and reload the document manually each time.
There is a free tool called WebDAV File Manager for Android, developed by Shigadroid, that allows to work with WebDAV services letting you to synchronize with a folder of your mobile device.
On this post, I will explain how to set it up in order to access and synchronize content of a Sakai site.

First of all, install the app in your device. You can find it at Google Play Store. Once installed, open the app and press the Android menu button. Now, press 'Server Add'.

Type a server name (you can choose whatever you want), the "http/s" URL where the content is offered (Sakai offers the content under  ', and finally provide your Sakai username and password. Press 'Registration'.
If you don't know the WebDAV URL of your site, then log in to your Sakai, go to the site and select the 'Resources' tool. Now, press the 'Upload-Download Multiple Resources' button.
Now, you can access to the content through the app, but it's not linked to a device folder yet. To do that, you must go to the main app screen and hold pressed the item you just created. A pop-up menu will appear. Press on 'Sync Setting' option. Fill the second text input field with the device folder path you want to synchronize with. (The folder must already exist). Use a file manager app like Explorer ES or File Manager , to create the folder.

Check the 'Download Sync (Preferred server)' option if you want to get the existing site content and then Press 'Synchronous starting' button.
If you go to the path using the file manager app, you will find all the contents of your site there, and you will be able to edit and save them locally. Now, you can synchronize from server to device, and from device to server opening the main menu and pressing 'Sync' button.
You can also automate the sync process pressing 'Setting' on the main screen menu. Check the option 'Background synchronization' and set the sync interval period pressing 'Synchronization interval' option.

You can do that process for each site you want. Just keep in mind that synchronization interval is applied to all folders you set up.