Innovate using Productivity Tools

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Quite a few people have felt that Web 2.0 isn’t just about creating flashy (or Ajaxy) little widgets. Or just another mashup of Flickr and Yahoo Traffic or tracking your favourite satellite using Google Maps. Here’s one article which is about how Web 2.0 can be used in organizations to harness innovation:

But what if you’re working in a marketing department for a company as big as British Airways? Making yourself heard isn’t going to be easy. Getting things done is even more difficult.

While it is true that the article discusses the essence of Web 2.0, it is also true that the tools and applications that come under this new wave are just as useful. To start with, most companies have their internal network and can quite efficiently run these new tools. Collaboration, to start with, has become a standard feature of any web-based application. The power of collective intelligence can be put to very good use that way. Tools can also be used to digg or bury ideas :) The result is that:

They can learn to listen to their colleagues.

They can fast-track feedback, and streamline development cycles and processes.

Think CRM. Think RSS feeds. There are a host of other tools that can be put to good use, much more than merely toying around with them. (Nothing wrong with the toying part, of course, it’s fun-work) As the author says, if organizations were to do that, Web 2.0 is all about:

making feedback loops easy to use, and making it work simply and easily where it really counts – with your users / employees.

Get notified when a record is added

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You can be notified in more than one way whenever a record is added in a form created in Zoho Creator. If you know what is RSS, then go ahead and grab the feed for any view created in Zoho Creator. Or if you want to be notified through email, Go to “Edit Script” of a form and then just add “on success” code snippet for the form.
on success
{
sendmail
[
 
To : “you@yoursite.com”
 
From : “me@mysite.com”
 
Subject : “One Record added”
 
Message : “My Message”
 
]

}

You can also use the values submitted in the email through variables and keywords. You can also learn more about sending an email through deluge in our help documents.

Insert Function in Zoho Sheet: 300+ functions

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Today, we added the ability to select and insert functions from a list of more than 300 supported functions (thanks to OpenOffice.org). You can select from a wide range of functions – Mathematical, Financial, Statistical, Logical, Date & Time, Engineering, Text, Information, and Spreadsheet functions.

As shown in the image above, select your target cell and click the Insert Function on the toolbar (fx) to bring up the Function dialog. Here you can select the function you wish to insert. You can also filter functions by the different categories like Statistical, Logical, Mathematical, etc. Hover your mouse over the function to see its syntax below. Click on the function to insert it in to the cell. Type in the parameters and hit enter / tab to save the formula to the cell. Nested functions can easily be created. For detailed description, click on the Reference link in the function dialog. This will bring up the detailed reference for the functions.

Apart from the above we have fixed couple of issues. More information on our What’s New page.

As always, try it out and send us your feedback and suggestions. We really appreciate them.

Zoho Show Improvements

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We have made an update to Zoho Show. Imported presentations render faster now. We are working on making imports smoother and faster, and should have an update on that soon. The demo account has been cleaned up, which would go some way towards improving that crucial first experience.

Good news is that the service has stayed up during the traffic surge last week after the introduction. We have a long road ahead of new features, enhancements, refinements and of course bug-fixes. Please keep your feedback coming!

Clipboard functions in Zoho Writer

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Many users while accessing Zoho Writer from Firefox (mostly 1.5+) would have faced difficulty while using clipboard functions like Cut, Copy and Paste. While the keyboard shortcuts work fine, why exert stress on Ctrl+V while an alternative solution exists?
Firefox, for security reasons, disables Cut, Copy and Paste commands in the rich text editor. These settings can be changed:

(1) Visit your ‘profile folder’ and create a new file named ‘user.js’. Here’s how you can locate the profile folder for various Operating Systems.

(2) Add these four lines to the user.js file:

user_pref(“capability.policy.policynames”, “allowclipboard”);
user_pref(“capability.policy.allowclipboard.sites”, “http://www.zohowriter.com”);
user_pref(“capability.policy.allowclipboard.Clipboard.cutcopy”, “allAccess”);
user_pref(“capability.policy.allowclipboard.Clipboard.paste”, “allAccess”);

(3) Save the file and restart Firefox.

This should solve the issue. Else, after saving the file, feed a a little bit of magic potion i.e. do a system restart and Clipboard functions will work in Firefox.

Deluge: Online Scripting Language

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Have you seen “import script” option in Zoho Creator -> create application? Wondering what the heck is Deluge? Here is quick intro (too much to say though – will cover in subsequent blog posts)

Deluge is the online scripting environment to create sophisticated database driven applications. With few lines of deluge code you can create your own web application. Everything online!

50 lines of code worth a 500 lines of explanation 😉 Here it goes..


Simple 4 steps to try this deluge script
1. Login to Zoho Creator
2. Create Application
3. select, Import Script
4. Copy & Paste this code

Voila! your feedback app is ready. You can embed the feedback form on your website as well.

With Deluge, Zoho Creator goes beyond GUI based app building. Which means, users can use either use GUI to create web apps or write code in Deluge.

How Deluge works ?

Deluge doesn’t have any concrete syntax. The actual code (the above 50 lines) itself is stored in bunch of database tables. The code is parsed and stored in hundreds of tables. The stored code in database doesn’t remember any syntax. Hence, in future, it just makes us easy to generate the same code in any well known languages like Java or PHP. Create with Deluge syntax, view it in Java! – sounds cool, ah?

No compilation, all changes are instantaneous. Underneath, deluge is driven by a powerful relational data model. Let say, you would like to add “Do not Contact me” checkbox to the feedback form. You can simply add this code: Do_not_contact_me (type = checkbox) to the feedback form script. The live app will reflect the change immediately (the changed code is parsed & updated in database and the live app fetches app details from the same database). Also, if you do browser refresh to “Edit GUI” form builder, the changes would be reflected. Similarly, you play with GUI then visit script. You can see the GUI edits reflected in deluge code (classic round-trip engineering)

Fine. where you guys are heading on?

Well, we have been working on Deluge for past few years now, based on some fairly radical ideas on language design. We have recently integrated it in Zoho Creator to make online app creation extremely easy with sophisticated scripting. We have just made an humble start and striving hard towards our goal to make ZohoCreator/Deluge as “Visual Basic for the Web 2.0

Hyther