With the launch of Zoho DB & Reports on Wednesday, we now have 3 services that handle structured data. So the natural question that many people have asked is “What is the difference? Why have 3 services when one would do?”
Zoho Creator has gained considerable popularity as an online database and application creator. So it is particularly worth considering the difference between Zoho Creator and the new arrival Zoho DB. The primary objective of Zoho Creator is to be an online application creation environment, that happens to come bundled with a database to complete the application creation experience. We provide a variety of ways to import & export data, create views and so on, but Zoho Creator is not a reporting solution by itself, but a development environment . While the Zoho Creator database is an SQL engine underneath, the programmatic interface is not SQL, but Deluge, a scripting language we created, purpose built for easy application creation. Deluge is not primarily a query language, though it does integrate querying capabilities within, consistent with its mission to ease application development. Zoho Creator queries are primarily intended for application development purposes, so they are not as fancy as what you can do with SQL.
Zoho DB & Reports, is a database, that comes bundled with extensive reporting capability. Pivot tables, grouping, charts, SQL querying in multiple-dialects – these are some of the key features. What it does not provide is an application creation environment. It will provide APIs at the SQL level, so you can build applications backed by Zoho DB, in your own preferred language. With Zoho Creator, you have to use Deluge for the application creation, with the advantage that we host the application.
We will integrate Zoho Creator and DB in a future update, making it easy to create reports on the data your application generates in Creator. Initially the integration will focus on the data level, so your Creator application data is automatically available in DB, and eventually GUI level integration will also provided, so your applications can embed a Reports tab drawn from Zoho DB. Once such an integration happens, it would be possible for you have forms embedded in your website (coming from Creator) whose data is available for analysis in DB.
Now, the difference between Zoho Sheet & Zoho DB, particularly because DB adopts the familiar spreadsheet interface as a starting point. But once you dig deeper, you will realize that the products are quite different underneath. Some of the features of Zoho DB will eventually make their way into Sheet, and it will be possible to move some of the structured data from Sheet into DB, but the two products retain their distinctive core identity.
Extensive integration across these services is very much in our road map. We adopt a “depth-first” strategy – first evolve each of the products well, and then focus on integration.