FOLLOW also called as SUBSCRIBE in previous versions of Filr is an effective feature when a user wants to get notified for the actions performed by him and other users (in case of a shared folder or a net folder) on a particular file or folder he is interested in.
In previous versions of Filr, the feature was called as Subscribe and it was configurable for every file/folder i.e. user had four different notification types to choose from for every file/folder in his workspace.
In Filr 4.2, the feature is renamed to Follow with few changes for ease of use. To reduce the complexity the notification types are limited to two and they are made configurable per user level unlike the old versions of Filr which was per file/folder level.
Email address is mandatory to enable the follow feature for the user. Users can add their email address in User profile settings, if the Email address bar is disabled, contact your administrator to add the email address.
There are two types of email notifications a user can choose from the User Profile page,
Email Only - Filr sends one email for every supported action performed on a subscribed file or folder. The emails do not contain the attachment of the actual file but it has the preview or download link of the file and a text to denote the action performed by the user. These actions recorded for the last 5 minutes and individual emails are sent to the users for the same.
Email Digest- Filr sends one email that summarizes all the actions performed on the followed folder. Users get these digest emails once in 24 hours or as configured by the administrator. Digest emails apply only to folders, files followed will fall back to Email only notifications.
Note: Post upgrade to 4.2 the notification type would be set to Email digest by default for all the users provided they already have an email address or after adding their email address.
Once the follow option is enabled a star icon would be displayed beside the Filename on hover. The user can then follow a file or folder by clicking on the star icon. The star icon changes to yellow color which indicates that the file or folder is followed.
There are also other ways to follow or unfollow an item in Filr,
If a user follows a folder then the files and subfolders contained in it will also get followed. If a user unfollows a subfolder under an already followed parent folder, then the contents of the subfolder will also get unfollowed i.e. the user won’t get any notifications for the actions performed on this subfolder but will receive notifications for its other sibling folders and files.
For disabling the notifications user can go to User Profile -> Notifications & click on the toggle button. Follow state will be preserved for the previously marked items, just that user won’t be able to follow new items when notifications are disabled.
For a better understanding of this feature let us consider this use case of a user logging into Filr and using this feature for the first time.
Bob is a Filr user who wants to try out the new follow feature. Bob logs into Filr using his credentials and navigates to My Files area and tries to follow the Project-X folder.
Since Bob has not registered his email address. Filr throws a pop-up dialog box asking him to add his email address to use this feature.
On Clicking “OK” button, Filr would navigate him to the User profile page where Bob can add his email address. If user is unable to access this field, then he should contact the Administrator to add or change the email address.
For now Bob would prefer his notification type to be Email only as he wants an email for every change or action, so he navigates to Notifications section in the User Profile page and chooses the Email only option. (Notifications type is Email digest by default)
Now Bob returns back to My Files area to follow the Project-X folder, on clicking the follow icon the icon turns yellow indicating the folder is followed successfully.
Bob uploads his project-related documents to the folder Project-X, these files also get automatically followed as the parent folder is already followed.
Now Bob will receive an email for every action performed on a followed entity, he gets two upload emails notifications as he uploaded two files.
In case of Email digest, Bob could get a consolidated list of actions performed on the folder Project-X in a single email every 24 hours (or as configured by administrator)
This feature can also be used as a better tool for collaboration as stated in the below example.
Let us consider Toby and Bob are colleagues working on the same project. Toby wants Bob to review his document. After working on a document toby decides to share the file with Bob.
In the Share dialog, he shares the file with Bob with an appropriate share note as seen below.
After he is done sharing, now Toby needs to know, whether Bob has reviewed the document. So, he follows the file that he has shared with Bob and makes sure his notification type is Email only (to get notifications for every change).
After following the file, Toby will see a yellow colored star icon near the filename which indicates the follow state.
Since Toby has made the share, Bob gets an email for the same with a link to the file.
Bob opens the document by clicking on the link from the email and begins to read the document. And finally, he decides to write his review and opens the Comments tab from the Right pane.
Bob writes his review comments for the file.
Since Toby has followed the document he gets an email notification stating that ‘Bob has commented on the file’ with a link to open the document in Filr. Now Toby can open his file to check the comments given by Bob.
Consider a similar situation where Toby & Bob have access to the same folder inside a Net folder. Toby is waiting for Bob to upload a Technical document so that Toby can start working on it. In this case, Toby can follow the folder where he is expecting a file upload from Bob. So, once Bob uploads the document Toby will be notified via email about the same.
If Toby has followed a folder to which all his team-mates have access and is expecting frequent intermittent changes on that folder, he can switch his notification type to Email digest and observe the changes with the digest email sent to him every 24 hours (or as configured by the administrator).