The Digg Effect on Zoho

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Zoho got the “Digg Effect” today.

http://digg.com/tech_news/Has_Zoho_Got_Google_Microsoft_Beat

On the whole our services survived the onslaught of traffic, except for one, ZohoSheet, which went down for an hour or so. We know why too: ZohoSheet, along with ZohoCreator, hasn’t yet moved to our grid based framework, while ZohoWriter, ZohoShow, ZohoCRM and the new ZohoProjects have all been on it. So as of today, we can handle a lot more load on ZohoWriter than on ZohoSheet. The Digg effect proved that.

We are working hard on solving this – ZohoCreator will move to the grid within the next couple of weeks, and ZohoSheet within a month. We are also adding server capacity constantly to increase the capacity of each of the Zoho services. Single sign-on is another thing being furiously worked on. So there is a lot cooking at Zoho.

Please give us some time – by the end of the year, we will provide a much more pleasant user experience at Zoho. The services we are working on involve solving a lot of hard engineering problems. Our team is hard working and diligent, not to mention very productive, as you can judge from the product releases and updates. Please give us some time, and we promise to delight you.

Zoho Creator – Tip of the Day #10

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#10 How to send a mail when a record is submitted?

In the “Edit GUI” mode, click “Form Actions”.

Form Actions

Select “on success” and remove the comments. (/* and */)

on success
Change the email ids and you will receive an email when a record is submitted. You can learn more about deluge’s “on success” here and here.

Zoho Show Update

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Zoho Show had a major update over the weekend. The update has some very cool things that you will like. Clicking on the ‘Actions’ link at the right-top results in a drop down menu. Notice the ‘Copy Presentation’ option? This allows you to have multiple copies of a presentation. Very handy for Sales/Marketing personnel – say you are having a standard presentation about your products and want to show the same presentation to different companies, this feature will help you well.

zoho-show-actions

One another option under the ‘Actions’ menu is ‘Set Show Timing’. This allows you to set a fixed interaval between slides. Useful in multiple ways as there is no need for you to click on the ‘Next’ arrow after each slide. And when you have a slide show put up on your website, the viewers too can see it on auto mode.

When you make your presentation public, you get to see the ‘Embed Slideshow’ under ‘Actions’. Very useful again, as it allows you to embed a slide show in your blog or website. Like the one below! (wait for a few seconds for the slide show to load)

If you have been importing presentations, you would have noticed that the import into Zoho Show strips off the background color & images. Not anymore. They will get imported fine from now on.

The slide show now has a slide control toolbar at the bottom with options Pause/Play, Previous/Next, slide speed etc.

zoho-show-slide-controls

Other than the above features, there were a few bug fixes as well. Try out the latest Zoho Show and do write to us your valuable suggestions.

Zoho Sheet Update

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We did an update last week with some improvements in performance. We have basically speeded up the loading times while opening and switching between sheets. The first time there may not be any difference, but subsequent load times should be faster. We will be improving the performance even more in the coming updates.

We also now support comma (in addition to semicolon) as the argument separator in functions and exclamation mark (!) as the operator to refer to other sheets (earlier it used to be only dot) . These are the operators used in MS Excel, which we failed to support earlier, but now we have supported them.

Also we are working on more features which didn’t make it to the last update. You can expect them in the next update coming soon.

Zoho Projects video by Robin Good

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Robin Good at MasterNewMedia has come with something that took us all by complete surprise. While we released the screencast of Zoho Projects yesterday, we were hard pressed for time. So it was just a recording of the mouse movements & screen changes & the screencast was a silent one.

Robin had taken the screencast, had given a very good voice over & mixed some mild background music too. I doubt if it would have come out that great if we had done it. A Web 2.0 mash up in its own right, I should say.

See Robin’s Zoho Projects video on YouTube. And his article “Project Management Online: Zoho Projects Goes Live – Video Introduction” in MasterNewMedia.

Thanks a lot, Robin!

Why are simple things made so complex?

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I got a feature request to import Yahoo finance live quote in Zoho Writer document. I went to Yahoo Finance & by getting the quote for a symbol in “Get Quote”, I found the URL “Add Quotes to Your Web Site”. I thought by clicking this I will get the iframe code which I can embed in my document in Zoho Writer. But it’s not that simple.

It redirected me to http://finance.yahoo.com/badges/. There I clicked on the “Start Now” button & I am redirected to Sign in page. I don’t understand why should I Sign in but I decided to Sign in.

This redirected me to a Wizard page ( http://finance.yahoo.com/badges/wizard/select ) which showed 3 steps. The first step is “Select on of the Modules” & there are 3 options. I selected one of the option & went to step 2. The second step is “Choose what your content look like” & I filled the information. At the end, there is an licensing confirmation. I clicked on “I agree to licensing terms” & clicked “Get code” to get the iframe code.

I still don’t understand why they want me to sign in. Is this an effort to increase the sign up’s? If so, what’s the purpose of increasing sign up? In Zoho, we offer demo login for users to try the service before they sign up. We don’t want to pain users with registration even for trying the service. Are we doing anything wrong here??

Can anyone help me understand why is this so complex?

Zoho Projects launched!

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Please join me in welcoming the latest addition to the Zoho suite of web services – Zoho Projects! Zoho Projects, as the name implies is an online project mangement tool that helps teams to easily organize their work & track progress.

zoho-projects

Salient features include :

  • Splitting up of a project into Tasks & Milestones
  • A Dashboard view to show all the recent activities
  • A Calendar based view of the project
  • AJAX-based design ensuring better usability (no page reloading for every beck & call)
  • Centralized uploading & storage of files
  • Easy collaboration among the project members by allowing meetings to be scheduled & through forums (integration with Zoho Chat coming soon)
  • Logo customization – allows having your company’s logo
  • Reports including Gantt charts
  • Support for unlimited users
  • Various plans ranging from Free (1 project) to Enterprise Version (unlimited projects, $80/month) available

Take a tour of Zoho Projects (QuickTime movie), login as a demo user & give it a test drive or sign up now for free. Try it out & do tell us what you think.

Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick & Mike Arrington for covering the Zoho Projects launch in TechCrunch!