Major Server Upgrade Completed in ZohoSheet

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Phew … we just completed a major server upgrade in ZohoSheet. All user accounts and documents have been migrated to our new grid infrastructure. The service should be much faster now (try it out and tell us!). The team has been working flat out the past few weeks to get this completed; as usual it took longer than originally estimated, but that is the nature of software.

Now that this infrastructure upgrade is over, the next couple of updates will focus on cool new features. We will also continue to enhance performance, and the ability to handle larger, more complex spreadsheets. Stay tuned!

Zoho Projects Update

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An update to Zoho Projects happened a few minutes ago. Some cool features that many of you have been asking for are available now. Zoho Projects, like Zoho Writer and Zoho Planner, now offers different colored skins to choose from. Choose the one you like.

zohoprojects-nov2-update-screenshot

Mac users rejoice. Zoho Projects now supports Safari! Opera too is now supported as Zoho Projects takes the tally of supported browsers to 4 (the other two being the obvious ones – Firefox & IE). Other useful features include : Timesheet log hours can be added/edited, forums posts can now be edited/deleted and can have attachments as well. A few issues have been fixed as well.

Update : Another important feature available now – you can now see both the Internal/External Milestones in a single page.

Podcast interviews with Sridhar & Raju

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A few days earlier, Kiruba Shankar interviewed our CEO, Sridhar Vembu. The podcast is up now, click here for accessing it. Lots of insight into services vs products companies in India, venture funding in India now as compared to way back in 1996, how Zoho’s gonna take on Google/Microsoft, desktop vs online security, how blogs have helped spread the word on Zoho etc.

In another interview, Allen Stern at CenterNetworks met up with Raju Vegesna, Zoho Evangelist. The interview concentrates on Zoho’s background & technology behind it, comparison with Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Microsoft Office, the future of office products, Zoho’s clients etc. The podcast can be downloaded from here.

Layers, embedding documents and more

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The latest update of Zoho Writer brings in some cool new features and fixes a few bugs.

You can now have multiple layers in your Zoho Writer document. Click on the ‘Insert Layer’ button on the Zoho Writer toolbar and a layer gets inserted. You can drag & drop the layer to any part of the document. Such layers and other HTML elements like a paragraph can be formatted quickly using the ‘Format’ link. Layers are useful in creating easily columnized and neatly formatted documents.

zoho-writer-layers-quick-format

You can now insert a Zoho Writer document to your blog or web site using a simple script. (this is already possible with Zoho Sheet and Zoho Show)

zoho-writer-embed-doc

The link for the Zoho Writer Bookmarklet which lets you easily copy contents from a web page to your Zoho Writer document has got changed. Delete your earlier bookmarklet and copy the new one (accessed by clicking on the ‘Options’ link at the top) to your browser. The new bookmarklet works best in IE7 where all the  formatting is retained. We couldn’t find Firefox 2.0 offering such an option and the selected text gets copied into a Zoho Writer window sans formatting.

There was this issue of posting to blogger returning the ‘Unable to connect to your blog. Username or password may be incorrect’. It was due to our using the old Atom API that Google deprecated recently (see our earlier post on this for more details). We have moved over to Google Blogger Data API and the posting to blogger blogs should work fine from now. If you still have issues, do write to us at feedback(at)zohowriter(dot)com.

The “Export to HTML” feature now has a menu bar that allows an easy save option. You can now click on “File” -> “Save Page As”. (previously there was no menu and you had to use the Ctrl+S shortcut keys)

On the performance front, we have started on making the home page load faster and you should already be able to notice this change. We will be working on bringing the loading time further down in the upcoming updates.

Check out the latest Zoho Writer and tell us what you think.

Sharing your presentations just became easier

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One benefit of Zoho Show that’s been somewhat hidden is to share your presentations with others by embedding them in your website or blog. We have made this a little easier with the latest update made today. Just click on the Actions link on the top-right and you will see the ‘Embed Slideshow’ link there. Clicking on it, you will get a HTML code snippet which you can embed in your blog or web site. Expect a few more niceties in the upcoming updates as regards sharing!

Launch the above embedded presentation as a full-screen slideshow

In IE7, some screens didn’t show up well and a few functions couldn’t be accessed. With the update done yesterday, Zoho Show works fine in IE7.

Previously, when inserting images, we would be showing all your images and this took quite some time to load if you had a lot of images. This has been made easier now as we load the images in batches of 10.

And there are some improvements as regards writing text. Text boxes automatically expand now as the lines of text grow. And many of you have written back to us expressing the font sizing in Zoho Show as percentage is a bit diferent from the normal way of setting it in points. We have made a graphical representation of the sizing now. And we plan to give the points system in future.

Choosing the type of fonts is easier too as we now display how each font looks like.

Check out Zoho Show and tell us what you think of this update.

Non-English blog posts on Zoho

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While we have been featuring a lot many blog posts on Zoho, almost all of them tend to be in English. But Zoho attracts users from around the world & bloggers from non-English speaking countries write about Zoho too. Some such recent posts below.

Morten Brunbjerg Bech
at Net Tips has a long post in Danish on the various services offered by Zoho.

Benoit Descary (a long-time user of multiple Zoho services) has a post that compares Site24x7 with a couple of other monitoring sites.

Peter Lemenkov has one in Russian comparing the various online word processors.

ps : I use AltaVista’s Babel Fish to see the translated posts in English. While it does the job (you know the jist of what’s being said), any other translators that you can recommend?