Donation Coder Review names Zoho Writer as the Winner in Online Word Processor Category

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The long title of this post says it all. Donation Coder did a very extensive review of Word Processors available in today’s market. This is arguably the most comprehensive coverage of all the word processors. In the review all the available options were categorized into three parts – Major Word Processors, Second-Tier Word Processors and Online Word Processors. I am not going to talk about the first two categories here, but in the Online Word Processor category, Zoho Writer is selected as a Winner and Google Docs is the runner-up.

Here is what Donation Coder has to say about Zoho Writer.

Zoho Writer combines the best of both word processing and HTML worlds in one online package. You can even use a CSS file as a template for your documents (more support for this on the way, too), making Zoho Writer a natural frontend for blogging. Faster than any other online app reviewed here with regard to upload speed, UI responsiveness, and navigation — you really get to see what AJAX can do here. Zoho Writer doesn’t waste space, either. By combining text, icons, toolbars, tabs, buttons, a sliding sidebar file explorer, along with a tight workspace, it clearly is built for productivity. Good design is when you take the best of others and bend them to your needs. With Zoho Writer you can get right to work with no learning curve at all. Even better, you can create (or learn!) a lot of cool HTML, and to a lesser extent CSS code with the documents you create using it. After using it for a short while, I’m willing to bet you’ll like it better than your desktop word processor — it’s that good.

We are honored to be selected as a winner in this category. Zoho Writer is a work in progress. We can do magic with these online apps. Stay tuned for some good enhancements coming your way.

Set margins to your Zoho Writer documents

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Zoho Writer’s latest update enhanced the setting up of margins. Clicking the ‘Document Properties’ button, one can set the top/bottom & left/right margins.

For user convenience, the left/right margins have now been made draggable. Please note that the margins are calculated as percentage of screen area. Try the new feature out.

ps: From the feedback we have received so far, setting the margin properties globally is one that’s been most requested. We will try having this soon

Zoho Creator 2.0 Launches

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One of my personal favorite Zoho apps, Zoho Creator just went through a major upgrade few minutes back that involves some key changes. Our team calls this update as Zoho Creator 2.0.

So, what’s new in Zoho Creator 2.0?

Brand New Interface

With this update we just rolled out a completely new user interface for creating applications. You can now create forms with simple drag and drop, create views and define layouts.

Deluge Script Builder

If you like using our Deluge Scripting, you’ll love our new Script Builder. We are introducing a script builder that lets you create scripts with simple drag-n-drop without having to learn the syntax. Here is a quick video intro of our Script Builder.

Other Goodies

We obviously have other Zoho Creator goodies like the ability to share your applications with other Zoho users, embed your applications in websites/blogs, export your data in multiple formats etc.

For those of you who are not familiar with Zoho Creator, I’d define it as an online database application creator. But one of our users defined this as ‘Online Visual Basic + MS Access‘. I think I like his definition better :)

The video below provides a brief intro to the Creator 2.0. Here is a video for Script Builder.

Do give it a try and let us know your feedback in the creator form below.

Zoho Creator Scheduled Update

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We have scheduled an update for Zoho Creator. Hence Zoho Creator service will not be available from June 11th 2007 22:00 hrs PDT to June 12th 0600 hrs PDT.

We regret for the inconvenience this may cause.

[Update] : You can now access ZohoCreator. The update is over. We will be posting a separate blog on the updates. We once again apologize for the inconvenience caused. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

[Update] : Please see here for more information on the update.

Zoho Show and the Changing Face of Education

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Here’s a good example of how a teacher and student have used Zoho Show + Skype. From the blog of Glenn Moses :

First, I uploaded her [the student] presentation to Zoho Show. Then I gave her the rights to collaborate and present. Then I sent her an invitation to the presentation. What this allowed us to do was look at the same part of the presentation at the same time; she on her computer me across town on mine.

I called her home phone using Skype, she had the presentation up in Zoho Show on her computer, flipped through the slides as she presented and I was able to get a much deeper understanding of this student’s knowledge. As she presented I asked her a few questions that got her to show her understanding of her American Government class and the conflict she was telling me about. Aha! A direct connection to her government class. Borderline grade no more. Cha-ching!

Here’s what I love about this: There are pay programs that can do this, notably Elluminate and Centra, but I was able to do this for free. Well, almost. At 2 cents a minutes in Skype, by 17 minutes, the whole thing cost me 34 cents.

I spoke with the student at graduation and she said at first she was a little nervous, but after a little bit she got more comfortable. What I didn’t know, is that she had the call on speaker and was actually giving the presentation to both her mother and me. I think that would be enough to make anyone nervous.

Can you imagine a traditional classroom environment where both parent and teacher can see what their child/student knows in real-time? Me neither.

The changing face of (online) education is truly awesome. Not to mention a lot of fun.

We know Zoho Show (and Zoho in general) is used extensively by the teacher-student community but we were blown away reading the above! If Zoho has helped you in such situations, we would like to hear your experiences as well.

REST API for Zoho Planner

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We recently announced the availability of REST APIs for Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show. Today, we have added REST API for Zoho Planner as well. The functionality & working of this API is similar to those of Writer/Sheet/Show. The Zoho Planner API allows you to get, create, update ToDo lists and do a lot more as well, all from inside your web application. Check out the new Zoho Planner API. If you need help in building a mashup using our API, do write to us at feedback(at)zohoplanner.com.

MIT Technology Review writes about Zoho

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Richard Brandt at MIT Technology Review has an article on Zoho titled “Can Zoho beat Google?“. From the article :

Zoho has become a prolific designer of online software tools, releasing at least one new product every month for more than a year. It boasts 15 product offerings so far, including a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation tool, a Wiki, a project manager, a customer-relationship management (CRM) tool, a database, and a project-planning tool. Bloggers who have tried the software say it’s more robust than online applications offered by Google, and it offers better collaboration capabilities (for example, it lets multiple people work on a document simultaneously or sync spreadsheets with remote data from websites) than products from Microsoft. Zoho’s fans see it as the model for a new generation of Web-based applications that could displace expensive software sold by Microsoft.

Zoho is the suite to beat. A Gartner report released on March 12 placed Zoho at the top of its list of “Cool Vendors in Web 2.0,” five companies that offer “a glimpse into the future of enterprise innovations.” Says Gartner analyst Nick Gall, “Zoho is ahead in the user community and in the technology.”

Thanks to Richard Brandt & MIT! In other news, The Social Computing Magazine has a write-up on Zoho Notebook titled “Zoho Notebook: One-Stop Business Collaboration Tool“. And in a blog post on Zoho Notebook at weblogg-ed, Melinda Miller has this to say about Zoho Polls in the comments :

I really like zoho polls. One of my 4th grade teachers used it in class one time so now I use it all the time with my staff. We voted on our theme for next year, planning for next year’s holiday party, and staff shirt preferences. Here is a link to my school blog with the zoho poll embeded.

In a post titled “CRM on the Cheap“, Davey Moyers writes,

Looking for an inexpensive, robust CRM program? Why not check out Zoho CRM. The price is right, free for three users. I have been giving this system a test drive, and there’s power under the hood. Full CRM functionality. It lacks mobile capability or offline use, but otherwise this is a solid player for the individual sales rep or small team. It also boast Outlook synchronization that is as good as the competitors in this space. The features I especially find appealing are lead management, opportunity management, and sales quotes…. I spent four years using salesforce.com on a daily basis, and I would pit this program against salesforce.com in all categories save one. Offline and mobile are not yet offered. However, the print templates on Zoho are much better than salesforce.com. So you plan it, print it, execute it. Whatever “it” is.

Amit Agarwal has a nice post explaining how to embed Zoho Sheet’s charts in one’s blog. Zoho Chat’s shoutbox feature (embedding a chat window in your website) has been put to good use by a community named Cerebrals Hens Network. Cool background options, guys! And our recent REST API release got noted by Thomas Willingham & Go To India Web 2.0.

Thanks, one & all :-)