Zoho@Zoho: Zoho Creator

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Linchpin seems to be the buzz word these days. With this post.. Rodrigo set the ball rolling on how we encourage linchpinness @ Zoho. However,loooong before the book came about and talked about this revolutionary sounding idea.. Zoho has been a pioneer of this concept.  We use Zoho services within Zoho extensively.. Take Zoho Creator for example..Zoho Creator has simplified lives for many teams here at Zoho..  From the simplest of use cases/situations/scenarios like using an application to book train tickets for a team outing, collecting registrations for a Badminton/ Cricket tournament, arranging lunch for non working days or even making Cab reservations all the way up to serious ones like requesting a hardware, monitoring overseas travel by employees etc.. You name it… you can find one here..

The admin team @Zoho, however, is by far the most serious user of Zoho Creator. Until about a couple of years back.. the head count here at Zoho was at a manageable 500. Now that we’ve grown to be more than twice that.. taking care of the logistics for various activities became a challenge.. That’s when Zoho Creator stepped in and made the difference..
 
Applications came up left right and center.. Requesting a hardware/software was just one form away..auditing software downloads became a breeze.. Even booking a cab to drop you home no longer involved sending an email to the admin team and waiting for a response.. Trivial things which had to be accomplished in a complicated manner were now child’s play..

We thought it would be nice to showcase to our users, apart from coming up with solutions for their everyday need.. how we eat our dog food.. Each real time scenario that we have mentioned above has an application, a story behind why the application was built, how much effort it involved, was it really as complex as it sounds and more.. Starting next week, we shall unveil each one of these beautiful apps through a series of posts in this space.

 Stay Tuned!!

WWII, Indiana Military Organization and Zoho Creator – A Case Study

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War heroes are made of the same flesh and blood as anyone else.. It’s a miracle fiber called courage that makes them stand apart.

Only one emotion comes to mind, when we think of those people, who take up the endeavor to scourge every last bit of information on forgotten heroes and sons of the soil, and put them together in one place, making it easier to lookup relevant information within seconds. Respect.


The Who:

Indiana Military Organization



A small group of people from Indiana, headed by Jim West, who even at the age of 60 has the enthusiasm of a 6 year old, has been doing some exceptional work. They have put together all the details they could find about the

local WWII bases

and

the heroes

under one place. Their site has been serving as a knowledge base for quite some time now. Their site is the largest in Indiana (excluding commercial), at more than 50 Gigabytes of pure history.  No comments, no interpretation, just history.

Their site

is used in numerous libraries, schools and colleges, and is a reference for the U.S.Military.  For family members attempting to research their loved one’s past, this is a blessing.


Their Predicament:


In Jim’s words: “We are re-constructing Rosters of Veterans of the major Divisional units that trained in South Central Indiana during both World War II and the Korean War.At the close of the wars, the US Army destroyed all official rosters.As our data increased in size, it was becoming more and more difficult to present them on the website, and the DBF format did not have any SEARCH capability. It was particularly difficult for those viewers without high-speed Internet connections and a lot of patience. “

Jim and his team were looking for a software that could help them with their most important need – the ability to search through 30,000 plus rows of data – pronto. The visitors to their site found the process of waiting for all the records to load and then manually search through rows and rows of data to be extremely cumbersome and left abruptly.


What they really needed:


The solution needed to be easy to work with for even non programmers. They did try out a couple of other solutions but nothing worked out to their expectation. They were struggling to cope with the size of the data, maintaining it and trying to present it on the website. If their situation was not resolved, they were left with the only option of removing it all from public view.  As a last resort they turned to good old internet search and found Zoho Creator. After a brief trial, they realized that Zoho Creator fit the bill perfectly.


How did Zoho Creator add value:

  • Our quick and informative responses to their questions impressed them
  • It took them hardly an hour to set up the complete application and publish it on the website. Every subsequent tweak made to their application only made them love Zoho Creator even more
  • They were on the verge of dropping the entire project when they came up on Zoho Creator. From anguish to bliss in just an hour  – that’s how they describe their experience with Zoho Creator









To date most of our experience was in page building, and we stayed away from databases, due to our perceived notion of the difficulty in including them on the site. Zoho Creator has changed all of that.We could not be more pleased with both the software and the support.We can focus on gathering history, instead of attempting to learn software. – Jim West, Webmaster, Indiana Military Organization





It brings us a strange warmth in the heart when we find that, through us, they have been able to present to the families of Veterans, information that they may not have previously had for their husbands, fathers, brothers and sisters.It’s only natural that as the popularity of the site spreads, more improved and corrected data would be updated. We also heard that the personal accounts and diaries on the site are used by the military schools in their study of past wars and battles.

We were taught about giving back to the society in our schools. What better way to do that than support such a noble initiative. We at Zoho Creator are proud to be associated with Indiana Military Organization.

PS: Indiana Military Organization also happens to be a happy migrant from Dabble DB.

Reporting & Task Scheduling – Now live at Zoho Creator

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Our users trust their business with us – some of their critical data is taken care of by our software and we understand the seriousness. So it’s only logical that we take good care of them, their needs and requests. It’s always two way ain’t it? Rolling out some stunning new additions to our long list of boast worthy features at regular intervals, is one way to make sure this goodwill stays around. Today, we are delighted to unveil, the latest enhancements that have been added to your favorite online database software. Some new features, some integrations, some tiny alterations that you may have missed. Here is a quick run through on what’s new at Zoho Creator. 


Zoho Creator Reports:



Piling up data just doesn’t make any sense. Representing your data visually using charts and then trying to understand them is a lot easier than just staring at rows and rows of data. Generate stunning reports, charts and pivot tables from the data that you’ve so painstakingly accumulated.. and lo and behold! The fruits of your labor are surely sweet and yeah colorful and informative too. Try out Zoho Creator Reports, where we have integrated our Reporting tool – Zoho Reports and added sanity to the mayhem of the heaps of data.




Not only can you collect data using the detailed forms that you have created, you can now transform the data into meaningful charts. It’s not longer like trying to find a needle in a haystack.. Whip up reports to suit your exact need with just the data you need. You can share the reports.. embed them in your website and do a lot more with them. Give it  a try.. 

You can learn more about Zoho Creator Reports from our

Reports page

. As always, the tech specs

are here

.


Zoho Creator Scheduler:





Missing an appointment or a pay by date can become increasingly frustrating over a period of time. Here is a magic wand that’s going to make your life a lot easier, than it is at the moment. The Scheduler at Zoho Creator helps you schedule tasks to be executed at specific times for exactly the period of time that you want them to, with absolutely no intervention from you!  So write the logic, save it and forget it. The tasks will be executed as and when it’s time for them to fire! 



It is like programming Roger Federer to win 20 Grand Slams on the trot and then take rest and make way for younger and nosier guns to take over. Choose from 3 different types of schedules and run berserk with joy when you realize those pesky tasks that you kept forgetting are no longer a problem.


The Scheduler page

will give you more insight into the actual feature itself and then there is

our help page

to assist you with putting one in place.

Apart from announcing these shiny new features, we thought it might be a good idea to give you a heads up on a couple of other awesome additions to the Zoho Creator repertoire that were added recently.

Zoho CRM Integration: 


A first cut of the long requested and much eagerly awaited integration is now here.. Access your CRM contacts right from your custom application in Zoho Creator.. Or go ahead and create new contacts in CRM from Zoho Creator. We’ve introduced 2 new tasks in Deluge Script for this very purpose.. More details on it

here

.

Zoho Invoice Integration:


The CRM integration milestone was closely followed by the Zoho Invoice nexus, there by adding yet another novelty to our wonderful service. You can create drafts and invoices at Zoho Invoice using the Deluge tasks created for this very purpose. Read more about this step

here

.

That is quite a lot of punch to pack in a single post. Our efforts to please our loyal users will continue and will only get bigger and better from here .. Play around with these new features and let us know what you think of them..



Hello Zoho Invoice! Zoho Creator here!

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Close on the heels of the Zoho Creator – Zoho CRM integration initiative, here is one more reason to cheer. Yet another business application, Zoho Invoice can now talk to Zoho Creator… yeah you heard that right.. not only can you snap up customer orders in an instant, you can also send them their invoice .. right from within Zoho Creator in seconds.

We’ve come up with 2 new Deluge tasks dedicated to this effect. The  zoho.invoice.createdraft() task creates a draft invoice, one that may undergo further changes and the details of which aren’t being reflected in the sales records just yet, at Zoho Invoice.  Our other task zoho.invoice.createinvoice() creates an invoice with an open status, which simply means that the customer has received our goods/services and is yet to make partial or complete payment for the same. Invoices can be generated for single or multiple items depending upon your need.  And if a record for the particular customer already exists in Zoho Invoice, you can do the rate calculations from the existing record itself.

Us having a fully detailed support document explaining this feature in all its glory isn’t news. So head over to the help center for the nitty gritties of this feature and yes, those of you who badly wanted this to be in place.. There you go!

Zoho Creator Lounge – What’s cooking?

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We have a few avenues from where we reach out to our users. An all formal blog portal at Zoho Blogs where we make the high profile announcements and the Forum which is our 2 way communication platform – our users voice their opinions, ideas, suggestions etc and get help from us and other power users when they are stuck up at some place. We felt that other tiny announcements, geeky tips and tricks, ways and means to make any application jaw dropping, informal posts – bordering on technical stuff and otherwise which don’t fit into either are being left out. 

We thought a middle ground where such posts could see the light of the day would be a good idea. And thus was born ZC Lounge. We started out with a few guest posts from some of our power users and other geek tips which users could use. It has been around for a while now. The news is, lately we’ve been spending a lot of time at the Lounge coming up with more interesting posts.

Here are some of the recent posts from the Lounge:

We have loads of posts and activities planned for the Lounge in the coming days. So keep your bookmarks/feeds updated. Come and be a part of our discussions there too. Do let us know what else you’d like to see there. Even better.. If you’d like to make a guest post.. Send us an email so that we can set it up for you!

See you at the ZC Lounge :)

Zoho Creator – Zoho CRM Integration – The First Step

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As we grow stronger and push out more features, our focus has slowly but steadily been shifting towards integration between Zoho Creator and other Zoho business applications. A while ago we came up with an initial step towards integrating Zoho Creator with Zoho Reports. We are nearing completion on that front and we should be up and about soon. In other news though, some of our Zoho CRM users have long felt the need to build situated applications like Sales Commission Calculations, Quote Request, Travel Request etc which can be created in Zoho Creator, and make such applications available to their Leads/Contacts from Zoho CRM. Providing some level of integration between the two services seemed to be the next logical step.

On the one side was our successful online database software and on the other side was our popular online customer relationship management counterpart and making these two behemoths talk to each other was no simple task. Endless rounds of discussions and drawing board meetings ensued. We needed to make sure we made space for each other and make one’s presence felt in the other’s space. And thus was born the initial level of integration between Zoho Creator and Zoho CRM.

So how do you access Zoho CRM right within your Zoho Creator application? You can now fetch records from any of the modules in your Zoho CRM account into your Zoho Creator application and even create new records in Zoho CRM from within Zoho Creator. No kidding!

We have introduced 2 new tasks in Deluge Script that will help you do this. Using getRecords() task, you can fetch records from your Zoho CRM account and display them in your form using a dropdown field. As for creating new records in Zoho CRM, you can use the create() task in Deluge Script and push the record into Zoho CRM.

Our help pages for Fetching Records and Creating Records should give you a detailed explanation on this. On the other hand, if you wish to open your Zoho Creator form/view inside Zoho CRM, that’s possible too. Thanks to the Webtabs from ZCRM. Read more about the Webtabs here!

So, there you go. Zoho Creator – Zoho CRM – Integration – Step 1 – Check.

Oh, there is so much more to announce! Watch this space :)

Zoho Creator Help 2.0

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With great power comes great responsibility. And we want to add, with a huge user base comes the need to support them even better. After endless rounds of  discussions and cups and cups of tea, we found that making it easier for a user to resolve any query that he/she might have while developing an application would go a long way in making his/her Zoho Creator experience a pleasant one. And thus was born …

Zoho Creator Help 2.0

Creator Help Center

Presenting a revamped Help Center with a cool and squeaky clean interface that is easy on the eyes. The various topics that are covered by the Help Center are neatly segregated under different categories. For instance, a new user looking to get started with Zoho Creator can use the Quick Start Guide while a current user can check out the User Guide for his/her needs.

The Knowlege Base section is in the Q&A format. We have handpicked a few queries which we have received from our users and provided solutions for them. Novice Zoho Creator users who’d like to unleash the power of the Deluge Scripting language can use the Developer Guide to pick up a trick or two. And for the API gurus and geeks, API Guide is the place to be.

If you can’t find an answer to your query from any of these, you can post your query at the Zoho Creator Forum where our passionate developer community will help you out. The Community Pitstop gives you the latest news from Team Zoho Creator. Be it the issues that we are working on ironing out, be it our limitations, or our newest updates you can find them all here. You can also find our contact details and our Social Networking presence too here.

In addition to all these resources, we are pleased to announce the Zoho Creator Lounge. An interactive portal which will feature Tutorials from the Zoho Creator Team and some of our prolific developers on the nitty grittys of Zoho Creator and tricks to turn that cool app of yours into a stunning one. In addition to this, it will also feature regular updates from the Zoho Creator Team on interesting tit bits and news. 

So poke around the new look Help and if you’d like to see something more added to this or if you’d like to tell us your 2 cents of feedback, drop us a line at  support@zohocreator.com.