Easy->Trivial, Difficult->Easy, Complicated->Possible

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Brainpipe has reviewed Zoho Creator. The below one was truly encouraging which the creator team strived for.

“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.”

If you take any product feature it could fall under some range in the spectrum of – easy, difficult or complicated. Our objective, here at zoho, was to make the “easy” to “trivial”, “difficult” should be “easy”, and bring the impossible or “complicated” stuff “possible”. Every thing web based. In zoho creator context, it means

1. Creating simple forms or views in page should be “trivial”
2. Relating multiple forms or creating views across multiple data to build a custom page should be fairly “easy”
3. Transforming application data to show based on user needs and evaluating complicated workflows (rules and tasks), schedules, etc using a scripting language should become “possible”

We have long way to our Zoho Creator goals; we have just attempted to make it “trivial” for creating simple forms and views. And trying to make it “easy” to build custom pages. More to come..

Hyther

Web-Applications: The Second coming of Web

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A person can’t expect every web-applications developer (or someone who wants to be that) to be a rocket scientist. Or for that matter, to know to code in High Level languages. Assuming that a lot of people who progress to the level of wanting to develop web applications will be comfortable and familiar with a fair bit of coding, but given that nearly 99% of the population using Internet wants to create web applications, it is only logical that the process be made simple. With the complexity of web-apps increasing, the amount of coding that goes into creating it is humongous. (Let alone the fact that even many rocket scientists may not know Java or HTML)

I was introduced (or sent an invite) to Zoho Creator. I haven’t created any web-apps before. The last time I learnt about Database and SQL was nearly four years back in school and having no memory whatsoever of one, I had to try and figure out their significance before creating one. After becoming fairly familiar, I created a proper application. My first one on the web – a movie Database! It works fairly simple:

  • Created a form called YOMDb – Your Own Movie Database – having heads like “Title”, “Year”, “Genre”, “Your Ratings” etc.
  • Made a couple of fields mandatory – “Title”, for instance, without which it’d make no sense.
  • Started adding the titles I had in mind.

What started out as a sample title got converted into a full fledged catalogue of all the films I’d seen (and remembered). Complete with my ratings. 43 titles in all.I could sort them based on my ratings, the year of release, alphabetical order or the genre. And as I was scrolling down to the bottom most part of the list, I realized that I’d made a typo. And when I hit edit – the edit field options appeared right there, instead of making me scroll up by approximately forty lines. It reminded me of Gmail – upon hitting “Reply”, the field opens immediately below, instead of letting you scroll up. People who lack that feather touch when it comes to handling the mouse – and hence spoiling the scroll wheel to the extent of it being non-functional will associate with that previous sentence.

I would have been absolutely satisfied if there was some ease when it came to linking other web-sites. As such, I tried using the anchor tag, which it didn’t recognize. I wouldn’t want to leave a lengthy permalink which points to, say (as in my case), a critic’s review, for it spoils the otherwise chic look of the web-app. (There’s an e-mail field, though)
Rocket scientists or not, it is time to rejoice, for, the web is heading in the right direction. Which means a lot of such web technologies will let users of the web to think on a higher level (such as the relevance of the application they’ve created or regarding the loop holes) and not worry whether they’ve got the syntax for a particular code right.

Anatomy of Link Clouds

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Is there a better name for a blog post that has merely links? For the lack of (unaware of) a better (proper) name, I choose “Link Clouds” instead.

Posting links as a round up can mean any of the following things:

(a) There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there. Check them out and enjoy them for yourself. Don’t expect me to elaborate, it’ll spoil the fun. Genuine and altruistic ones, these are.
(b) I’m out of stuff to write, my hit counter tells me that I have a readership to take care of; a readership that gets offended if I don’t post anything new on a week end; a readership that begins to dwindle if there are no posts for two consecutive days.

(c) Good procrastination. I’m awfully busy, but wouldn’t want to disappoint my visitors by having a cobweb for a blog. So there. Check it out, and come back later.

(d) Filler space – Lorem Ipsum in a comprehensible manner- between two heavy blogposts. After all no matter how obssessive of food you are, having two feasts on the same day isn’t good for the digestive system. :)
But most often, it is a mix of more than one of these categories. And if (b), (c) and (d) happen simultaneously, the blogger must be extremely lucky to come across (a).

Link Cloud

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Some good links I came across while reading through my subscription list:

Is it time for Universal Time?

Jason Kottke’s letter to Apple Support. Quite funny.

Guy Kawasaki’s Top ten lies of Entrepreuners. Ditto. Dilbert Principle extended to Entrepreneurs.

iNods. Everything from King Kong to Nike Air.

Fleck and Fleck blog. “patent pending, world changing, paradigm shifting” They promise to cover every “Web 2.0 hype”. A little light-heartedness always helps, even if it is a serious AJAX powered application.

Folders and Lables – Why should software control user’s usage?

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When Gmail came up with their ‘labels’ concept as opposed to ‘Folders’, many people loved it. On the other hand, many people didnt prefer it too. People are used to folders approach and labels concept is a jump to a new way of organizing which some are comfortable with and some are not.

In my view, labels and folders should co-exist. It is not one or the other. It is both. Just let the user choose what he wants. Why should the product control what the user should use? It should just provide an option for the user to choose the prefered way.

So we decided to implement both concepts. Here are screenshots of both.

Interesting point to note is, there is no other webmail system (as far as I know) apart from Zoho which supports both folders and labels concept.

Raju

We are heading on right direction

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Mike made a interesting mention in his Techcrunch post today claiming that

- 99.9% of the Internet population is looking to create new application from scratch
- should allow non-programmers to build applications. Don’t expect people to know PHP or even HTML

He said it perfectly. People want to build applications to their situated needs, their long tail of applications. Home users or small business people want applications that solves their local needs and problems, they want to build apps from scratch in minutes with just few mouse clicks and go live without any coding of PHP or HTML knowledge. They hate to get help from developers.

Happy that our Zoho Creator is heading at right direction

Hyther