Zoho Notebook Update: Auto-save & more

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After opening up Zoho Notebook recently, we got very good response/feedback from many users like you that kept us busy enhancing the application. In the last three weeks we made several updates to notebook enhancing different aspects of the application. You can track all our updates in this notebook which can also be accessed from the ‘Updates’ link inside the application.

One of the issue mentioned by some of the users is related to save. Some said they lost some data. We apologize for this. We take this issue very seriously. Our recent updates addressed this issue in particular. There were several enhancements we rolled out for saving content, but I want to share few key ones.

  • Auto-save: We implemented Auto-save for Notebook. Active notebook will now be auto-saved every one minute if there are any modifications.
  • Save on Close: If you make any changes to your notebook and close the browser window without saving changes, all your content will still be saved
  • Page Navigation: When you navigate across notebook pages without saving, the pages are saved automatically

Many users asked us how a book can be renamed. You can double click on the Book/Page tab to rename a book/page. In the latest update we also provided ‘Rename Book’ and ‘Rename Page’ option under the Edit Menu. We are working on contextual menus (for Book and Page) which might be a better way to provide options like Rename. Here is a proposed design. We’d love your feedback on this.

Any comments?

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.