At the SDN Day, Bangalore

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Thanks to Craig Cmehil‘s invite for the SDN day, Hyther & me are here at the SAP campus in Whitefield, Bangalore.

It was a revelation of sorts of how big a community SDN is! Thanks to Bangalore’s traffic woes, we started a bit late and Craig had a micro intro. Mark Yolton, VP of SDN/BPX, gave the initial presentation titled “What have we been up to (together) this year”.

The SDN team is 35 strong and some of them were present – Mark, Craig, Marilyn, Marco (the only Dutchman was the joke), Uri, Anil, Anand and others. The invitees included SAP employees, partners (all the developers whose life revolve around SAP) and a couple of customers. Craig & team had done a pretty good job and the mix was perfect.

The numbers quoted be Mark were staggering. 600K SDN members, 80K from India alone (only US & Germany have more). And SDN had to split to make room for the Business Analysts & Consultatnts to form a new community, BPX – Business Process Experts. They too have grown to 60K with 12K members being added every month. (Mark is targeting 75K users by this year end and 1 million by 2010)

SDN has this system where members can earn points. The system works this way – you have a question and post it to SDN, someone comes up with an answer and you (or anyone) can award him/her some points. Naturally, Craig had made sure that he’d invited some pretty big earners of good karma to the SDN day. Among today’s participants, Kartik Iyengar of Wipro headed the list.

SDN encourages its community by providing freebies, when you cross a certain level you get a T-shirt, the next level, a jacket etc. Most of all, it is the recognition that a SAP developer gets that keeps this community so alive. The SDN community is so vibrant and active that the average time that you have to wait for an answer is just 16 minutes!

Other stats include 61 of the Top 100 Indian companies run SAP, SDN has a unique monthly visitors count of around 400K and weekly views of 1.6M. There is small growing community of bloggers too (600 to 800, Mark was not sure of the number) who write at SDN Blogs.

Those are some points I’m left pondering about, dreaming about a similar Zoho community to form when more Zoho apps go out of Beta, open up our APIs, get a more viral traction. SDN is social networking at its best. They proved it once again through the “Speed Networking” session where we got to interact with the other participants. Even we guys from Zoho who were literally the only ‘outsiders’ felt at home meeting all these cool people. Kudoes to the SDN team and all its members for making this happen!

Hyther being the tech guy, naturally, is more interested in how Zoho and Web 2.0 can bring in value to a giant ERP soultion provider like SAP and enterprise apps in general. And he had a session titled “Enterprise meets Web 2.0” which was very well received. He will also be part of a panel (think the title is ‘Technology & Innovation’) at the end of the day. Prashanth Rai who will also be part of this panel is blogging too.

May be I will later try updating this post with some photos. Tomorrow, we are again special guests of Craig at the SAP TechEd. Hope to have a great day tomorrow too. And forgot to mention, the arrangements were excellent – a very good internet connection, well organised sessions and nice & spicy Indian food.

Update : As promised, some photos from today’s event (Thanks to Uri, who lent his photos!)







Zoho at the Web 2.0 Conference

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Raju Vegesna, Evangelist, Zoho will be speaking at this year’s Web 2.0 Conference in the session titled ‘SMBx: The Revolution of the SMB Application Marketplace“. Moderated by Tony Perkins, Creator & Editor in chief, AlwaysOn, other speakers of the session include Michael Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch, Dave Ferguson, Engineering Director, Google and Richard McAniff, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Office.

Thanks to Danny Kolke of Etelos which provides hosting of custom web applications, for the invite.

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.


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.


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)


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.