Collaborative editing – Multiple users editing a document simultaneously

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In the current version of Zoho Writer, we lock a shared document when one of the shared users is editing it. Lots of users want to have collaborative editing i.e multiple users editing the same file at the same time. Through collaborative editing, users get to realise the full true power of collaboration of a web based application. We are working on this and the initial cut has come out very well. Following is what we plan to do:

— When a shared document is opened, we will be showing all the users who are currently viewing / editing the document in the left navigation pane
— Each user edit area will be blocked. So, more than one user will be allowed to edit & each user will know the block area being edited by the other user(s)
— Also, we plan to have a notification pop-up when someone is shared a document

Google Spreadsheet: Adding more to the noise

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Going back to Google Spreadsheet again (really, is it possible to not mention it at all? The noise seems to grow louder with each passing minute)

“… is it okay for Google to compete with many smaller companies, using its massive scale, integrating the applications into its platform – and not even bother to try and monetize those applications? And it is not even in its mission?”

The mission is (no, not World Peace) to index the World’s information. Following a few more links, I came across this comment in a 2.0 blog which is definitely worth pondering over:

“Less than 1% of spreadsheet users will switch from some other spreadsheet to Google’s. There are no smaller companies involved with this.”

And while talking about Google Spreadsheet, Jeremy Wright had written:

8. Users need to be trained to move online. First by extending existing office tools with online apps (ie: Outlook Web Access, etc). Then by providing fully online services.

The truth is there several Online Office applications around for a while. Zoho of course – Writer, Planner, Creator, Sheet, and there are several individual players as well – iRows, Editgrid, Thumbstacks and many, many others were alive and kicking even before the Writely acquisition. However lot of folks still aren’t ready for a Web Office suite, least of all from smaller companies. Robert Scoble says he’s very unlikely to give even a big company my corporate data, but far far far less likely to give a small company that stuff. He feels that smaller companies may go out of business that way and that is a risk not worth taking.

Short answer: Your data will be a lot safer in our servers. Long answer: Heck, your data will be a lot safer in our servers. Don’t we all like to leave the domestic responsibilities to somebody else? Same works here.

This blogpost offers a better explanation:

“I hate the whole “backup my PST/OST, install Office, re-boot, download the 400 service packs / urgent security upgrades, re-boot, where did I backup my OST/PST (and what the hell is the difference between the two again?)” rollercoaster. It shouldn’t take a day out of my life to re-build my PC. I can see the day rapidly approaching when I install an OS, a browser, and then get back to work. The thing I love most about Gmail is that my data is safe. I can’t screw it up. I can’t accidentally format a hard drive and lose it.”

Convincing?

Oh, and on a related note, thanks (once again) to Zoli for the visual comparison on ZohoSheet and Google Spreadsheet.

Google Spreadsheets Launch: what does it mean for Zoho Sheet?

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Few hours back google has launched its spreadsheets. The attention triggered by this annoucement has increased our zoho sheet traffic and registrations (with google restricting to limited signup). Thank you Google :-)

We anticipated this service from Google. We don’t see them as a threat. Google is focusing more on web 2.0 features like sharing and collaboration (by integrating chat features) rather trying to bring the MS Excel experience on web (though this is pretty early to comment upon). We think, zoho sheet can offer more value to the enterprises and traditional spreadsheet users by bringing most used features of excel on web and more. For instance, our focus would be more on charts, reports, integration with online databases, etc rather focusing on chat kind-of features – this may bring cool effect but not sure how far this would be used by serious users.

Zoho Sheet focus would be to offer more value for the enterprise market and small groups of business users.

One good about this announcement is that indirectly we get mentions by bloggers along with this news. Techcrunch has mentioned us

While you are waiting for your invitation you may want to try out one of the other Ajax spreadsheet applications out there, such as ZohoSheet,..

Thanks for the mention, Mike.

Hyther

Printouts & Notes Reordering

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Zoho Planner’s latest update offers those two features. You can now take printouts of your todos, reminders & pages. Just use the Print (or Print Preview) option of your browser for using this functionality.

And the drag-and-drop style of reordering is now extended to the ‘Notes’ section too. (previously you can reorder your todo list items)

Check out the latest Zoho Planner & tell us what you think.

Your Form’ve Got Mail!

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Definitely this is not a sequel to Tom Hanks starrer ‘You’ve Got Mail’ :), but another useful feature updated at Zoho Creator last week. Now whenever you’ve got data in your hand, you can add it directly to the Form through email. This saves your time logging into Zoho Creator.

All you have to do is to click ‘Import Data’ link on the Form header, choose ‘By Email’ option and follow the instructions.

I have created an application called ‘Your Say‘. Try adding data to this application by email and see how it works. Please follow the instructions.

Step1: Copy this email template-

Your Name :
Feature you wanted in ZohoCreator :
Recommend ZohoCreator to others?(Yes/No) :
Your Say :

Step2: Fill in values next to corresponding label names. For eg- Your Name: John

Step3: Email the filled data to: roughic-37@forms.zohocreator.com

You can see the entered data here- http://www.zohocreator.com/roughic/your-say

Note: You can also import data from a .xls or csv file to the Form.

Zoho Writer Update

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We did an update to Zoho Writer again & you sure will see a significant boost in the service’s performance now. This was achieved with a slight compromise – the document search indexer has been stopped temporarily as it was identified as the culprit for the slowing down. What this means is you will not be able to search through documents that you are working from now on. (the search will work in older documents though).

Other than the above, a lot of bugs that got introduced in the last major update have been fixed. Give Zoho Writer a try now & do tell us how you feel.

Zoho Writer Performance Issue

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In a perfect illustration of Murphy’s law, the big upgrade we did to our grid introduced some performance issues in Zoho Writer. The very reason to move to the grid architecture was to provide higher scalability and performance, and have more redundancy. We now provide a search feature for documents as well, something pending for a while. Alas, we also seem to have introduced some new bottlenecks in the code.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We hate low performance in web apps ourselves, and this is the highest priority item for us. Rest assured we are working hard on it. We will update as soon as we have some news.