Alternative ways of viewing attachments

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Some people have expressed strong concerns on attaching documents along with e-mail. (Rather ironical that the most commonly used document type is considered the most dangerous as an e-mail attachment). Instead of sending a document as an attachment, with Zoho Writer, these methods can be alternatively used:

(1) If the document is hosted at a website: If the document is in any of the formats – MS Word (Doc), Open Office (SXW), HTML, ODT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TXT – then use the “Import URL” option and enter the URL.

(2) If the document is not hosted at a website: If you don’t have the software such as MS Word or Open Office installed, then this will be of help. Click on the “Import” button in Zoho Writer. As the “Import Document” box opens, you will find an e-mail address. Usually it will be {somecharacters}[at]docs[dot]zohowriter[dot]com. You can e-mail an attachment to your account using this address and the document will appear in the left pane.

These would mean that:

(1) You don’t need any software installed to read the documents (mainly MS Word and Open Office formats)

(2) Free from vulnerabilities. No virus threat. (Atleast not yet)

(3) You don’t require a crash course in file formats and the problems associated with creating them. We support most common formats and export to one of these formats.

(4) It is independent of the version of software you used for creating the document. So to speak, it is irrelevant if you used version x.x.01 or x.x.02, you can import the document. Although there are possibilities of formatting losses, the document can still be viewed.

Plus, all other advantages of using Zoho Writer such as collaboration can be availed.

Zoho Creator had been to salon…

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…to get a more polished look for few screens and enhance the user experience.

Polished Screens:

1.Create application window.
With our earlier design (tabbed style), users where unable spot different ways of creating application quickly. A user even asked us whether he can create application by loading his spreadsheet, when Zoho Creator was supporting it already. Pretty sad, UI was not 100% obvious.

So we decided to get away with the tabbed style and opted for window split style.

Create application window.

The create application window is split into two – Left and Right. Left pane has different ways of creating an application (from scratch, from template, by importing xls file and by writing Deluge script) and the right pane has the required input fields.

With the new design you can identify different ways of creating an application easily, by its unique and colorful icons. You can also make your application as private or leave it as public in this screen.

2. ‘Getting Started’ screen.
We have added ‘Getting Started’ screen in the edit mode of the application. I am sure this will be handy for the first time users.

Getting Started

This screen has 4 very useful pointers on how to proceed with your application.

3. Views
When the whole world is going gaga over Zidane’s clean shaved head (no not his head butt!), Zoho Creator Views has also opted for clean, well organized head.

View header

  • Filters, Add, Delete, Search Records and pagination – aligned left
    When applications has many columns, it was difficult to access pagination and search records (which was at right extreme of the view header, earlier).


  • Now you can easily toggle between display types – List View, Summary View or Calendar View.
  • More Actions – Embed this view in your site, Export data, Column Display/Rearrange.
    (‘Export Data’ has undergone significant changes, I will post a separate blog on it.)

Records

  • Alternate row colors for better readability.

Days are not far away when edit user interface also gets a complete make over. So stay tuned!

~Roughic

Is Zoho Creator high priority for Zoho team?

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This is a valid question raised by Andrew (DabbleDB’s founder) in their forums. With bunch of online applications under zoho brand, obviously, any one-product-competitor would say our weakness is “lack of focus”

To clarify on this,

We have extremely focused independant teams working on each zoho service – in Paul Graham words, each zoho service is a startup, and each product manager is the chief executive for the respective service.

In fact, too much of such independency to zoho teams is hurting us now ;-) Many of our customers have asked for single sign-on support between zoho services which we thought we could take up after each service has its own customers and stands by itself. Now its time and we are on top of it. This is a clear evidence that each zoho service has its own external focus and operate as separate startup.

Zoho Creator has come long way to what it stands today, still lot more ahead. We make almost monthly once major updates, which proves we have dedicated team and validates that we have high priority for it.

In the same post, Andrew had made interesting comment that Zoho Creator has water fall model of app creation and Dabble is more of incremental development. Your observation is wrong, Andrew. We have deliberately separated the “build mode” (app creation environment) and “live mode” (the actual app itself). We feel, when both mode mixed up it confuses the user, especially if the user is not the one who created the application. We do have option for users to change their application as they proceed with their data, like support for field type change, view configurations, filters etc. So, Zoho Creator is very friendly for incremental app creation. Please try it yourself and decide.

Hyther

Zoho Show: Audio & Video Support?

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Does Zoho Show have audio/video support? My answer would be YES.

While it is not straight forward as we’d like, you still can insert audio/video clips into your presentations created in Zoho Show. Let me explain.

The addition of a new feature – Insert HTML - in Zoho Show gives some really cool abilities inside presentations. You can use this feature to insert Audio and Video. Here is a sample presentation to demonstrate this.

There are quite a few sites out there to hold your audio/video files and they also provide code to embed these files in other sites. You can use those sites to upload your files and the code they provide to insert audio/video files can be used in Zoho Show. For audio files, I like Odeo (Odeo Studio lets your upload/create/link audio) and for Video, I use YouTube. You can upload your existing files in to odeo/youtube and copy the code for embedding these files, then click on ‘Insert HTML’ icon tag.jpg in Zoho Show and paste the code. This should insert audio/video player in whatever slide you need this. Here are couple of screenshots…

 

Audio
Video

 

Thats simple right? Beleive me, you can do magic using this -Insert HTML- feature.

More later….

Raju

Latest Features for Zoho Polls

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Zoho Polls has come up with an update in which some new features have been added and performance issues fixed. The major features are listed below:

RSS feed is provided for the following:

  • Latest Polls
  • Comments for a specific poll
  • Public polls of a specific user
  • Public polls with specific tags
  • Public polls using search

Subscribe using RSS feed readers like Feed Reader, Thunderbird, Bloglines etc.

The owner of the poll has the permission to close or reopen a poll. When a poll is closed, further voting of users is not possible.

Why Zoho will survive – Part 2

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It is perfectly natural for all the Web savvy people to get carried away. And at times like those, when you feel like there needs to be a reality check, people are around. Dead 2.0 has been calling that the web is getting hyped for a while. Dead 2.0 also felt that Zoho Show, when it first released, was primitive to put it mildly. While it was a bit too early to ‘judge’, this recent post sheds light on bubble-bursts. While laying down survival-tips, the author (unintentionally, ofcourse) mentioned these points, which would serve as an addendum to these posts on why Zoho will survive:

Affect real people, not just bloggers.  If your entire business is about giving away plugins to bloggers, you aren’t a business, you are an open source or closed source software pool. That might be fun, but it has no legs.  If you can sell your widget, then you license technology.  Anything short of that and you better be something that is used not just existing for its own sake.  Finally, and most importantly on this issue, remember that bloggers aren’t really spending much money to blog, and will probably continue this trend.

If you are evolutionary, then there needs to be a big enough market to address with a “we’re a little better than them” vision.  Not only that, you need enough of a differentiator to get users to make a switch in existing patterns, which is not easy nor is it cheap.

Zoho Sheet : Number/Date formatting, Sorting, Right-click menu & more

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The latest Zoho Sheet update (done yesterday) has a few interesting features. Much asked for things like number/date formatting, sorting, right-click context menu & inserting notes/comments to a cell are all in.

zoho-sheet-formatting-right-click

You can choose to display dates in various formats. A data range can be sorted with an option to leave out the header. With the new right-click context menu, you can easily access the various operations like Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear contents, Wrap, Insert and Delete Rows, Columns, Insert Comments, Sort, Column Width, Row Height, etc. The right-click menu also allows you can add comments/notes to a cell. The comment/note gets displayed while mousing over a cell.

Other than the above, the update also have bug fixes & other enhancements. To know more about the release, click here.