Zoho Creator is LIVE NOW!

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You may notice something special about Zoho Creator now.

We have quietly and completely moved out of the closed beta test…into a public beta.
Now everyone can visit Zoho Creator, browse popular / public applications, copy them and customize to their needs or create their own application from scratch.

We are delighted to report that during the private beta we got 1000+ registrations, 400+ applications created from scratch and countless of them being copied (well, some for testing and some for use).

Let me give you a quick update on what we were working under the private beta wraps.

  • Create application using a template
  • Create View with pre-set criteria
  • Add Tags to your applications
  • Filter, Search and Rearrange Columns in Views
  • New Skins
  • New UI
    and loads of enhancements everywhere…

Some of the feedback we received during the private beta test:

“ZohoCreator which lets end-users create simple web applications with no coding knowledge can certainly be put into the innovative bucket.”
~ Phil Sim, http://squash.wordpress.com

“It’s pretty safe to say that a tool that allows anyone to create a web application to their own requirements is pretty darn useful.”
~ Stephen, Shadows in Motion

“Zoho Creator makes it remarkably easy to create very simple tracking applications, and parent-child relationships are handled so well you don’t even need to know what that means to use it.”
~ http://brainpipe.wordpress.com/

“I have given it a try and I love it. Works great. I love how you can make the application public. Nice work.”
~ Brian Benzinger, Solution Watch

We thank all the beta testers and the bloggers who gave their feedback and made the difference.

Thank you indeed!
~ Roughic

Newsvine

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Newsvine was launched a couple of days back and is running full steam ahead. For the uninitiated, Newsvine is a social News website that features stories from Main Stream Media and amateur writers alike. The best part about Newsvine, apart from the AJAX interface for Seeders or people who submit content, is that it is a comment and chat enabled site. Which means readers can comment, discuss and argue about a news item, apart from contributing their own. Also, using the ‘Link’, option, a person can link to a story from a popular news site or cross-post a blog entry. Tagging is the new web standard, and Newsvine is no exception. They have something called the “Code of Honor” which is a rule book that, apart from the usual instruction, says, “Write descriptive Title” and “Tag correctly”

Clearly, Newsvine is an improvisation of existing News Aggregators. And they are trying to organize News better with current web trends like Tagging. Also, by having both popular news sources and bloggers seed [contribute to] their site, they are having the best of both – the authority and variety. Smart.

Oh, and did I mention that they have web-based live chat enabled to their site? Something like 3Bubbles.(via) So it’s Reading/Writing/Commenting/Arguing/Having a live discussion all under one roof. Now when a popular news source makes a mistake in an editorial, correcting them is a few keystrokes and a click away.

On Maxthon

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TechCrunch published an article yesteray about Maxthon browser. It strongly recommended Maxthon as an alternative to Firefox and Opera. Daily Om also reported recently that Maxthon crossed 50 Million Downloads. So what are Maxthon’s strong points that make it popular?

Firstly, the features it offers. Tabbed browsing and built in RSS reader have become the standards of any web browser after Firefox’s success. Maxthon has these, and more. Tabbed browsing is a lot easier in Maxthon. Tabs can be given a “Sticky” short name to page titles, so that when having something like 20 tabs open at a time, one doesn’t have to fish out too much. Tabs can be aligned too.
Also, Maxthon requires fewer Extensions than Firefox. Built in Flash support, right click enabled almost everywhere, a customizable Utility manager on the toolbar for easy access of frequently used Computer utilities such as Notepad, URL aliases – something that can be done in Firefox by installing an extra extension to use a short URL. Most of the features require no extensions to be installed.

But many of the ready to use features make it look clumsy as opposed to the sleek elegance of Firefox, which is, by the way, a lot faster than Maxthon. Also, in terms of Searching within the browser, Firefox is a lot less painful to use – albeit it requires a few extensions such as “Context Search” to be installed. Also, Mozilla’s Mycroft Plug-in site provides more plug-ins that can be installed for searching within the website – apart from the standard Google, Yahoo, Amazon search, one can include BitTorrent, Answers.com and many other reference websites. Maxthon supports Wikipedia and IMDb, in addition to Google Search. Not much, really.

Atleast as far as browsers are concerned, more doesn’t mean better. A lot of features that Maxthon comes packed with are not useful really. This is why I disagree with the TechCrunch article. Firefox’s idea of “Provide some really useful features as a basic package, and let the users download extensions if they want more” is great because the requirements of each user vary. This article provides insight into various browsers. But there is no “the best browser”; Firefox 1.5 has its share of flaws (or “The Dark Side” as the above mentioned article refers)

Really, the browser wars will never end.

Passionate blogs on Zoho Writer

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Some bloggers go so far out as to making our intro about the product in our home page pretty rudimentary. Take the Tech2All blog for example. In a blog post titled ‘Zoho Writer – Virtual Online Word Processing‘, there are a lot many screenshots with explanations that new users trying out Zoho Writer should see. Extensive overviews can also be read at Shadows in Motion & Andy Atkinson’s post at the ‘Pain in the Tech‘ blog.

And here’s something interesting. When someone asks us about how thay can post to their WordPress powered blog from Zoho Writer, all we do is point to this ‘Post to WordPress Blogs using Zoho Writer‘ post at BLOGISEVERYTHING.

Google Pages

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Google’s AJAX powered Web-Page builder is here. Perhaps the web alternative to Microsoft Frontpage in its Beta, or an AJAX powered Yahoo Geocities, understandably it’s not quite there yet. Upto 100 MB of Free Hosting, this seems to be an early April Fool’s Day present from Google. Fully powered by AJAX and feature rich, the interface is easy to use and folks who wish to build Web pages needn’t suffer from HTML Handicap anymore. Strike one. Now, back to speculating what else could they possibly release on April 1st.

Crash

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Mozilla Firefox has two extensions called Crash Recovery and Session Saver, which is quite handy when there are about ten tabs open and the browser unexpectedly crashes. While most of the web-services offer an Autosave/Recover feature, it’s a sorry state to see a part of the work being swallowed as a result of the crash. In case of most Blog service providers, in accordance with Murphy’s laws of Cyberspace, always while posting long blog posts, the browser somehow would stop responding. The recovery tool will restore a text, that is short by several paragraphs than the last version prior to the crash. It would be brilliant to have a recovery tool that recovers till the last typed sentence, if that isn’t asking too much.