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File viewing in multi-tenant application

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    File viewing in multi-tenant application

    I have a multi-tenant attorney application. I want to add file viewing. We get large electronic reports, pictures, and videos as discovery. Given the volume and nature of the discovery, uploading through the app is not practical and privacy dictates against storing all the documents on a single server. What I envision is each attorney using their own onedrive, dropbox, or google docs account using a standard folder naming scheme like last.first. They would upload discovery with their desktop onedrive(eg) folder into a last.first folder. A button on my app's client page would list the files in the last.first folder of the user's onedrive account and they could be viewed.

    I've seen the video on doing this with a hardcoded onedrive connection string but I wonder if there is a way to accomplish it in a multi-tenant context with each tenant using their own secure document server account?

    Interesting use case. Is this an app at scale or a smaller collection of small law firms that are relatively flexible and good with “doing things a certain way” and if you do, it works?
    I generally have found with file sharing and document storage online, my code needs to deal with every aspect of what a user could try to do. They will do things sometimes that surprise me with how they name documents, the size of documents, changing file extensions… you know lol.
    Alpha put out some pretty good videos I am sure you watched as well that do some pretty incredible things with with the cloud providers you named. I believe even traversing folders and such.
    I have had pretty good success using drag and drop extensively. I wrote a common ux for it and every form calls that same object, passing in the appropriate variables that correspond to the type of document being uploaded to that part of the app.
    We had thousand of documents prior drag and drop over say 7 years. Once we changed to it, my last look was 56,000 and that’s running it for 3/4 of the year. It was a game changer for bulk uploading and user ease.
    If your users need to still be able to use windows explorer for the files like a file server, obviously going 100% app does not work. I would stay away from OneDrive. But I am biased from having sync issues with my users and having them lose data. I would look at Egnyte or Dropbox.
    Or go with AWS S3 buckets and build an interface to interact with the data. Each client could have a bucket and you let them enter their bucket key for privacy.

    post up your progress if you do this. Very interesting


      It can't be S3 because the files are used by other client apps like PDF programs with notations and proprietary video players that won't play in an app. This really has to be an add-on to a major file-sharing platform. In terms of naming, as long as they use the proper folder convention like last.first, it should display all the contents. I don't think we need Alpha to track the individual documents. I just want to open the client folder on the server website. The viewing, sharing, managing, etc. can be handled on the server site or app if it opens automatically. It looks like most of the majors have some API that requires authorization. I was hoping that authorization would come from the fact that the user is logged into their account on the computer or device and thought there might be a way to craft the one needed URL such as

      Thanks for the thoughts.


        I'll also recommend a cloud provider for storage. Add in a table to keep track of documents: Attorney_ID, Filename, Category, Subcategory, Upload_Date, etc. I've done with a large multi-tenant app - it really is by far the best path.


          Thanks for the input Steve. When you used cloud storage for multi-tenant, did the tenants use their own cloud storage accounts, or do they all use one account dedicated to the app?


            I really recommend Wasabi. Wasabi rents space from Amazon, and you set it up using S3 settings in Alpha, but it is cheaper, and easier to work in than Amazon S3.
            It has it's issues like anything else, but the main thing I have found, is that it shows you have 300 records, until you go past the 300 records. (ie. it says 100 of 300, until you keep scrolling and then it says 400 of 600).
            That is my only complaint, but then I started using CyberDuck's free software to manage it, and it is managed by a simple app that looks just like Windows File Explorer. (Only issue with CyberDuck is that when you open it, it asks to upgrade to the full version for $5-$10, and you can just click no, and continue using the free version).


              Originally posted by ecalan View Post
              Thanks for the input Steve. When you used cloud storage for multi-tenant, did the tenants use their own cloud storage accounts, or do they all use one account dedicated to the app?
              We set up Google cloud storage, set our various policies such as expire time, access, etc. That allows a single UDF on our end to store everything in a common manner.


                Thanks again Steve. It does look like, given the unique situation of my app (and aren't they all unique), that users need to access the files outside of Alpha without downloading. (i.e. use their own cloud account) I guess I am going to have to research the available services to see which offer relatively easy direct addressing of folders with common names in the URL. I have already seen that Dropbox does while Onedrive uses a long random-appearing character string that is not based on the folder name. Onedrive is my preference as premium accounts are included in most Office subscriptions which my users likely already have. If I figure it out, I will post the solution here.


                  All the apps I've ever written are multi-tenant and most all of then utilize Amazon's S3 service for file storage services. I handle my own file names. I store, in SQL, the original file name and the file name I give for storage purposes. I just add on a GUID to the file name to make it unique. Some of my apps even separate the files with each individual tenant getting their own folder on S3.
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