Zoho Planner now supports Safari and Opera!

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Zoho Planner had an update a few hours earlier that brought in some cool new features.

We receive constant feedback from Safari & Opera users to make Zoho applications work on these browsers. As the first Zoho app, Zoho Planner now works on Safari (2.0+) & Opera (9.0+). Zoho Planner already supports Firefox, Mozilla & Internet Explorer.

zoho-planner-safari-opera-support

We have tested Zoho Planner on multiple versions of both the browsers. There may be untested versions, so do write to us if you come across any issues.

Users have been asking to collapse & expand todo lists & notes. This has been done in the latest update. Another feature to roll in is the facility to delete all your completed todo list items in one go.

Till now you can private share your pages with Read & Write (Edit) privilege or have them shared to public. Now you can private share your pages in Zoho Planner with Read Only (View) permission too.

planner-sharing

Check out the latest Zoho Planner & tell us what you think. Do write to us if you have any specific feature requests.

Jake Ludington on the Zoho Office Suite

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Zoho’s online office suite apps, Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet & Zoho Show got extensively reviewed by Jake Ludington’s MediaBlab. From the review :

Many companies have tried with limited success to take on Microsoft Office. … Recently a number of Web apps have been appointed the “MS Office killers” for various reasons. I think the demise of Microsoft’s cash cow is greatly over exaggerated , but the online versions succeed in usability where their downloadable counterparts have failed at providing a highly usable experience . My favorite of this category is Zoho Office Suite, which includes a spreadsheet, word processor and basic presentation maker.

If you need most of the features of Microsoft Word, but it isn’t on your computer or simply isn’t in your budget, you could download one of those bulky free Office Suites, like OpenOffice or Software 602, but there’s an easier solution. Zoho Writer is a browser-based word processing application with every feature I typically use in Microsoft Word.

Zoho Sheet is perfect for light duty spreadsheet usage. It does all the basic spreadsheet calculations. Zoho Sheet imports data from existing Excel and OpenOffice Calc files as well as CSV files. Like Zoho Writer you can either work in a mode that requires no login or create an account to maintain a set of online spreadsheet files.

Like PowerPoint, Zoho Show creates slide decks for presentations. From adding graphics and text, to adding timed transitions, Zoho Show will do basic presentation tasks. … , Zoho Show is quick and easy to use – and if you’ve got an Internet connection, you never need to worry about not being able to access your presentation from any machine with Firefox or Internet Explorer.

And Jake pointed out about the various Zoho applications requiring signing up for each
one separately & Zoho Show’s lack of audio/video support. We will addressing them soon. Thanks Jake, for the wonderful review!

Zoho Creator Demos

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The Zoho Creator home page has been sporting two small TV icons for the last few days now.

zoho-creator

Have you clicked on them? Try the second icon titled ‘Spreadsheet to Web Application‘. You will find a neat demo explaining how easy & at the same time how powerful Zoho Creator is. It will be great hearing your feedback. And, if you have similar demo requests (for Zoho Creator or for any Zoho service), do send in your suggestions to aravind(at)zoho.com.

ps: Did you try placing the accent of the voice behind the demo? Not an American one, right? ;-) The voice is of Dean Ernst the man from NZ/OZ!

Update : Zoho Writer & QuickRead

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Noticed anything different in working with Zoho Writer since yesterday? We have done some html compression tweaks that makes working with Zoho Writer a little faster. Loading of files & switching between tabs should happen faster than before. An exception in this update is the initial loading time when you login. It remains the same as before & we will be working on making it faster too.

Another cool update to happen is with Zoho QuickRead. You can now save an online document (.doc, .sxw, .odt, .rtf) opened with Zoho QuickRead to your Zoho Writer account directly.

zohowriter-qr-public

Open up an online document with QuickRead & the top panel looks as above. Click on the ‘Edit’ link. If you are already logged in to Zoho Writer, the next screen will look as below

writer-quickread-signedin

You can click on the ‘Save to My Account’ link to save the opened document to your Zoho Writer account directly.

writer-quickread-save-as

Similar changes will be done to Zoho Sheet & Zoho Show – opening spreadsheets/presentations available online with QuickRead & adding them directly to your Zoho Sheet/Show accounts – soon.

Zoho Creator : Modify picklist items dynamically

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There has been requests from users like Ted Hughes for automatically filtering picklists based on selection in the previous picklist. This can be done very easily now.

Let us take a Bug Tracker application as an example. This simple application has just three forms.

1. It has a form to fill in the modules. e.g. In the case of Zoho Creator, it could be user interface design, deluge script etc. See a list view of all the modules added.

2. It has a form to fill in the team member details. It has the name of the team member and the module he works for. See a list view of all the team members (and the respective modules).

3. It has a form for filing issues. Each of the issues filed has to be assigned to the appropriate team member. Since we have already defined the person in charge for each of the modules, it will make more sense if the items in the ‘Assigned to’ picklist gets updated every time the module is changed, listing only the relevant entries.

If ‘Persistence’ is selected in the ‘Module’ picklist, only those members of the team, in charge of the ‘Persistence’ module should get listed in the ‘Assigned to’ picklist. In this example, Edward and John should get listed.

This can be done by writing an ‘on change’ event for the ‘Module’ picklist.

Deluge code snippet:

must have Module
(
    type = picklist
    values = Add_Module.Module_Name
    on change
    {
        team = team_member [Module == input.Module];
        for each t in team
        {
            Assigned_to.add(t.name);
        }
    }
)


Explanation:

The code snippet given below fetches all the members of the team, in charge of the selected module.

team = team_member [Module == input.Module];

Since the variable team is an array, it has to be iterated to get the properties of each team member.

for each t in team
{
    Assigned_to.add(t.name);
}

The names of those team members in charge of the ‘Persistence’ module are added to the ‘Assigned to’ picklist.

Assigned_to.add(t.name);

I have taken a very simple use case to explain this feature. But I am sure our users will exploit its full potential and use it in a lot more interesting ways to enhance their applications.

NetworkWorld reviews Zoho Creator

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Mark Gibbs has a very good review of Zoho Creator in his NetworkWorld ‘Web Applications Newsletter‘. Some excerpts :

Zoho has released a whole range of services and one in particular has really impressed me: Zoho Creator a weblication that creates weblications.

Sign up (the service is free) and you are presented with a polished AJAX-driven interface that allows you to create an application from scratch or copy (and modify if you wish) an existing application.

All of the views and forms can be embedded in your own Web site using a script that is downloaded dynamically from the Zoho Creator site (either as a simple reference or enclosed in an i-frame) or referenced via a “permalink.”

You can add code written in the Deluge language to drive your application. Some examples of the value of Deluge suggested by Zoho are:

* Perform an action when a row is added successfully or detect when someone adds a row to a form. For example, you might want to receive e-mail notifications as and when a row is added.

* Perform an action when a row is updated. For example, in the case of abug tracker, you might want to receive e-mail notifications whenever the status of the issue gets modified.* Validate the form data before persisting it.

* Add a row only if it satisfies a certain criteria and reject the other entries. For example, in a recruitment application, accept only those applicants who have more than two years of experience.

* Define formulas for calculations. For example, assume a student database has marks obtained by students in all the subjects and you want to display the total and average marks also.

* Create complex filters in views.

You can also export all records in a view in Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice spreadsheet and Zoho Sheet format (Zoho’s own spreadsheet service); as an HTML document; as a PDF document; as an RSS feed so that subscribers can watch changes inthe data; as a JSON (a Javascript-based, lightweight data exchange format).

I found a couple of minor problems with Zoho Creator: Performance was occasionally poor and embedding the views in my Web pages sometimes didn’t work. That said, Zoho Creator is incredibly ambitious and there’s a lot more to the service that I just don’t have space to cover. If there was ever a poster child for the Web 2.0 world, this is it! (emphasis ours)

Thanks for the comprehensive review, Mark! We are working on the performance aspect & you should be able to have a faster & uniform experience with Zoho Creator soon.

Zoho Office Update

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A cool & very useful update for the Zoho Online Office Suite happened just a few minutes ago. Ismael Ghalimi and a few other Office 2.0 patrons have been discussing about opening Office files directly on the web. With the latest update to Zoho, you can just do that.

If you noticed, Zoho Writer login page went for a re-design (tell us how you like it compared to the old page) & there are two new buttons right in the middle РQuickRead Plugin for Firefox and Internet Explorer. Install QuickRead and you can directly open documents, spreadsheets and presentations present on the web with Zoho! With Zoho QuickRead, downloading files to your computer & opening it with a desktop app becomes pass̩ :-)

Note : Zoho QuickRead works only for Office files on unauthenticated web pages

zohosheet-quickread

zoho-quickcreate

The above screenshot shows how a sample .doc can be opened with Zoho Writer. Notice the ‘Open with Zoho Writer’ option added to the right-click menu. ‘Open with Zoho Sheet’ & ‘Open with Zoho Show’ menu items will appear for spreadsheets & presentation files respectively.

Thanks are due to to Craig Cmehil, Dennis Howlett & Ismael Ghalimi who beta-tested QuickRead.
What’s more, if you are like Ismael and not so keen on having browser plugins, try using the following URL APIs for opening files

Documents (.doc, .sxw, .odt, .rtf) – http://www.zohowriter.com/publicimport.im?url=<url of document>
Spreadsheets (.xls, .csv, .sxc) – http://www.zohosheet.com/view.do?url=<url of spreadsheet>
(or) http://www.zohosheet.com/publicimport.im?url=<url of spreadsheet>
Presentations (.ppt, .pps, .sxi) – http://www.zohoshow.com/publicimport.im?url=<url of presentation file>

(The QuickRead plugin is now downloadable from http://zohowriter.com for now. Links to the plug-in will be made available in Zoho Sheet & Zoho Show pages too soon. Update : It is now accessible from those pages too)

Now to some Zoho Writer specific goodies. Important Note : Do a Shift+Refresh (for clearing browser cache) before trying the below features.

Zoho Writer now offers category support for WordPress (and other metaWeblog API supported blogs). I’m posting this to Zoho blogs from Zoho Writer!

zohowriter-metaweblog

zohowriter-metaweblog-categories

Click on the ‘Insert Table’ icon now & you will be in for some surprise :-)

zohowriter-insert-table

For all those who have been struggling with Zoho Writer’s print functionality, we now have a direct ‘Print’ icon. (It is the second icon just next to the ‘Save’ icon & can be recognized easily)

Enhancements have been made to the right-click context menu. The menus will be context specific, ie., you will be offered the appropriate choices alone depending upon which part of the document you are.

Some bugs have been fixed too, the most notable one being the functioning of ‘Tab’ inside tables while in IE. You can now press the ‘Tab’ button and can move from cell to cell while using IE.

Do try the latest features added to the Zoho Online Office Suite & tell us what you think.

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