Discussion: Zoho Writer Offline on Google Gears

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Myself and Sridhar sat down with Dion Almaer from Google Gears team to chat regarding our Offline Editing capabilities in Zoho Writer. We talked about how we implemented editing capabilities, what’s next and other related stuff.

Here is the video of our discussions with Dion. He also talked about this in Google Gears blog. You can find our previous discussion here.

Zoho Business – Scheduled Update

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We’ve scheduled an important server-side update for Zoho Business tonight (Tuesday, December 04, 2007) between 10.00PM PST and 11.00PM PST. During this time, access to Zoho Business will not be available.

We apologize for the very short notice and for any inconveniences that this may cause.

Sridhar Interviewed in ‘Working Webware’

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Sridhar was interviewed for the first episode of ‘Working Webware’, a video show done by Dan Farber, ZDNet’s Editor in Chief & Rafe Needleman, Webware.com’s Editor. According to Dan, Working Webware will “look at some of the up and coming companies and products aimed at businesses”.


Watch the video here. More about the episode here : Can Zoho get a good share of the SMB market?

Thanks to Rafe & Dan for the opportunity!

Zoho Planner & Matthew Moran at ITtoolbox

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Matthew Moran at ITTtoolbox finds Zoho Planner so useful that he first had a blog post titled, “The Joy of ZOHO Planner – shared todo lists, tasks, and collaboration…“. He then followed it up with a cool video showing how he uses Zoho Planner. From his post,

I have also been playing around a lot with ZOHO’s suite of applications. I’ll be covering these in more detail over the next few weeks. Suffice to say, their documents are more full-featured and have a better interface than google – hands down.

Zoho Planner allows us [Matt & his wife Laura] to have our own tasks page or pages. We can then share a page or pages of tasks with someone else – giving them read only or read/write access to the page.

I setup a page called Laura’s Shared Tasks and one called Matt’s Shared Tasks. I gave Laura read/write access to both.

Laura can then add tasks, appointments, and notes to my page and to her page. I can see them, I can add tasks, and I can add notes. It does a couple of things. First, she and I both have a place to add tasks to the other person – and notes with greater detail if needed.

Second, we can see the tasks we’ve added in context of other tasks and appointments they (the other person) has due. It helps us know two things – one that the other person has the tasks on their list and two that our tasks to them are not the only things they must do.

And here is Matt’s nice video where he explains Zoho in general followed by a tutorial on how he emails tasks (to-dos) & notes to his Zoho Planner account.

Thanks, Matt! Now, to the readers of this blog – do tell us how you are using Zoho Planner.

Mashing it up with Zoho Sheet and Zoho Creator

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Our users have created some cool mashups using Zoho Sheet and Zoho Creator. The first two examples are from Jynn, a software engineer from Hyderabad, India. In the first application, Jynn mashes up Zoho Creator, Google Maps and Yahoo Pipes.

Zoho Creator offers end users a brand new way to perform basic CRUD operations using the web both as a database and for processing data.

Here I will briefly describe how I used Google Maps to Integrate with Zoho Creator,Using simple transformations with Yahoo pipes.

The application and its uses:
This Integration i.e Creator +Maps can be used in many ways e.g., Tracking Inventory, tracking Human resources, Basic Travel maps or even geographic maps of movie theatres where a current movie is playing.

This application overlays Zoho creator data onto a Google Map i.e in this case Movie Theatres where a particular movie is playing shown on a Google map.
Zoho creator is used to update movie info using the UI or even Bulk upload and Google maps is used to overlay the data.

I also used the cool technology of Yahoo Pipes to basically transform the Feed generated by Zoho Creator.

In the second example, Jynn uses Zoho Sheet along with Dapper, Yahoo Pipes and Google Maps. Here’s how Jynn describes the application :

The Application:
There is a live excel sheet hosted on Zoho Sheets,which gives info on Radio stations in India for radio Enthusiasts….

Updating the sheet with coordinates will be immediately reflected in the Google Maps

Technology Used:

Zoho Sheet:
Can be embedded onto your blog/webpage (Here it is in my blog),and contains City name and Location

Dapper :
This is the killer app which I used to parse the HTML output from Zoho Sheet and convert to RSS.

Yahoo Pipes:
To extract Geo Encoded data From The RSS feed…

The next one comes from Pete Thomas of Land of Zoho Creator fame. Pete mashes up Oodle, the local classifieds site with Zoho Creator. Nicknamed Zoodle, the prototype mashup creates the work flow of the customer service process for Pete’s friend Ted. From the post :

Zoodle will let Ted enter the listing data he gets from a BuggyRocket customer as it becomes available and only publish it for Oodle to pick up once it’s complete. Other features include:

  • Listing detail page: Although it’s not the slickest looking thing in the world, we do manage to provide a “detail page” served directly from Zoodle. We also provide an image URL in the same fashion.
  • Private application with some public pages: Ted’s use of Zoodle requires his authentication but the detail page, image URL, and Oodle XML feed are all publicly available on the web.
  • Gradual approach to form completion: Through the use of several forms that are attached to the main “Essentials” form, Ted can easily fill out the parts of a real estate listing that he currently has data for and come back to finish the rest at any time before publishing.
  • Republishing: Data can be edited, overwritten, and republished at any time.

Thanks Jynn & Pete!

If you have such mashups made using Zoho, please do leave your comments.

Emergency Maintenance

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Update: As of 6:15 pm PST  We have put in a fix & the services are now up. We are monitoring the logs closely, to see if the race condition below recurs. We will keep you updated of the status. Our development team is also doing an exhaustive review of the impacted parts of the code. If you encounter any errors accessing services, please post a comment here or in the forums. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused, and we assure you of our vigilant effort to maintain a high level of service.

(Original post 5:35 pm PST) We encountered an unexpected error (a potential race condition) this evening in a part of the common software framework underlying our services, and as a matter of precaution, we have taken down Zoho services (except Zoho CRM & Zoho Projects, which are on a different framework), as we work to isolate the problem. This race condition seems to occur under heavy load (as they typically do), and the past couple of days, our load has been quite heavy, several times the normal load. We have sufficient hardware infrastructure to handle the load, but we detected some potential software race conditions from our logs. Multiple teams are working right now to isolate the issue. We will post an update here as soon as additional information is available.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. We realize so many of you depend on Zoho services, and we take the responsibility you entrust with us seriously. We will bring up the service as soon as possible, likely within 3 hours (8:30 PM Nov 27, Pacific Standard Time i.e GMT – 8 hours).

Zoho Writer Supports Offline Editing

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Just a few days after we added features like Pagination, Header/Footer etc in Zoho Writer, the team is ready with another update adding offline editing capabilities.

In August, we made Zoho Writer available offline. When we released it back then, the documents were available in read-only mode when offline. With today’s update, you’ll now be able to view and edit your documents offline. This functionality is based on Google’s open source project Google Gears. We thank them for the project and their support.|

For Zoho Writer to work offline, you’ll need to have Google Gears plug-in installed on your browser (works on Firefox 1.5+, IE 6+). Click on ‘Go Offline’ to access your documents offline. By default, we download 15 documents each from ‘My Docs’ and ‘Shared Docs’ section. You can change the default setting by clicking on the down arrow beside ‘Go Offline’ link. The documents are downloaded based on the ‘Sort Order’ in your ‘My Docs’ section.

When you are not connected to the internet, you can visit http://writer.zoho.com/offline to access and edit your documents offline. When you are back online, clicking on ‘Go Online’ will let you to synchronize the modified documents with the online versions.

The following video should give you a quick overview on how this functionality works.

For better clarity, try this video. You’ll notice that not all functionalities available online are available in offline mode. This is because some of the functionalities are online specific while others will make their way into the offline mode moving forward.

Another new feature to come as part of this update is Right-to-Left language support. We have a lot many users from the Middle-East who had been asking for this. Click on the ‘Page Setup’ icon (), the third from left on the Zoho Writer toolbar and you will see the language ‘Direction’ option in the pop-up window that opens.


Please do give our offline editing capabilities a try and let us know your feedback. If you’d like to be informed in advance of announcements from Zoho, subscribe here.

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