The recently released Zoho Creator 2.0 was well received by bloggers and journalists alike. Some quotes from the web regarding the release :
Marc Orchant @ ZDNet :
Creator uses a very nice GUI construction interface and a script builder (Creatorâ€™s scripting language is called Deluge) to assist even completely ham-handed people (like me) in developing very powerful and attractive applications with little more than point-and-click and drag-and-drop actions. Despite this accessibility, thereâ€™s a lot of power underneath the hood and to date more than 30,000 applications have been built by people using Zoho Creator.
Lifehacker, Zoho Creator is like Microsoft Access online :
Forget learning Microsoft Access and Visual Basic: the newly-revamped Zoho Creator is an easy-to-use online database creation tool.Set up your database’s fields (like for an address book: Name, Address, City, State) and then build drag and drop custom entry forms with different input types like radio buttons, check boxes and dropdowns. Ambitious types can add custom logic to the application using the script builder, and the whole shebang can be added to your web site or blog (say, for a feedback form or survey).
Kristen Nicole @ Mashable :
This latest version has lots of drag-n-drop functionality, for creating forms, views and defining layouts. Have more fun with drag-n-drop with the improved deluge script builder, which lets you create scripts without learning the syntax. A new user interface graces the Creator 2.0 upgrade as well, with easier ways to share content and manage multiple forms.
Scott Gilbertson @ Wired Blogs :
Zoho Creator 2.0 also includes some additional new features that bring it up to speed with other apps in the Zoho suite, like the ability to share applications with other Zoho users, new ways embed applications in your website and the ability to export your data in multiple formats.
Thomas Willingham has a detailed walk-through of creating an application :
The updated version of Creator is flexible, allowing the creation of applications using numerous options including using forms, importing spreadsheets, applying a template from the existing application gallery, or scripting.
I realize that I barely scratched the surface of this program. The application I created was straightforward and relatively simple. This is the first time I have used Zoho Creator, and I found it very easy to use. The interface was intuitive, and help was very good. The online product overview videos created by Zoho are always a nice touch.
Benoit Descary @ descary.com :
Zoho Creator est sans conteste lâ€™une de mes applications Web2.0 favorites. GrÃ¢ce Ã ce service, vous pouvez crÃ©er en quelques minutes, un formulaire dâ€™inscription Ã un Ã©vÃ©nement, un mini CRM ou encore une base de donnÃ©es de vos recettes favorites, en fait les possibilitÃ©s sont infinies. [rough translation in English] : Zoho Creator is without question one of my favorite Web2.0 applications. Thanks to this service, you can create in a few minutes, a form of inscription to an event, a mini CRM or a data base of your favorite receipts, the possibilities are infinite. Update : Benoit also has a screencast on Creator 2.0.
Mike Gunderloy @ Web Worker Daily thought Zoho Creator 2.0 wasn’t exactly MS Access + VB on the net and he had an elaborate review :
When you log in to Creator, you get a big â€œCreate New Applicationâ€ button as an obvious starting point. This lets you start from a gallery of pre-built applications (project management, help desk, and so on), a blank application, or an imported spreadsheet. From there, you add forms, which again can come from a set of pre-built examples or start blank. The Zoho Creator form builder is an easy to use drag-and-drop environment with plenty of helpful visual cues; I didnâ€™t have to read anything to add radio buttons or textboxes, set labels, change the options in a dropdown, and so on. Each form you build can have multiple views (single record or list), with security being applied on a view by view and action by action level. You can arrange views into tabs and control who can visit each tab of your application. Behind the scenes, Creator is building a relational database to match your forms, and there is a reasonably obvious way to link forms and so create linked tables (well, reasonably obvious if you understand the basics of relational databases).
Thereâ€™s also scripting, with a new language called Deluge. Not only does Deluge allow you to attach actions such as validation or sending e-mail to typical events, but Creator form definitions themselves are saved in Deluge, so it enables you to modify forms dynamically, which is actually quite powerful. Zoho claims that you donâ€™t need to be a programmer to use this language, and they provide a drag-and-drop script builder to put together some simple actions. But the â€œyou donâ€™t need to be a programmerâ€ claim was hogwash in Access and VB, and itâ€™s hogwash here; if you donâ€™t understand the rudiments of things like events and boolean logic, Deluge will make no sense to you, and youâ€™ll stick to the easy user interface stuff.
Overall, Zoho Creator is quite impressive for its niche. The learning curve is very shallow, and itâ€™s almost trivially easy to bang out quick data collection and editing applications. Deluge is not a difficult language if you have any experience with programming, though as I said I remain skeptical of its universal appeal.
Here’s a good example of Christopher Conway, Professor of Literature, a non-techie in his own words building a course database in Zoho Creator – and that was in the “old” release. Getting back to the journalism question above: yes, it is useful if you can build simple database application, but you really no longer have to learn coding anymore. Don’t take my word for it: go ahead, play with it.
Cale @ palmit.commentary :
ZOHO Creator makes it easy to create a simple, or fairly complex, database (complete with a UI) in minutes. They’ve made it really easy to share the UI for data-entry – you can even post a code snippet to your website or blog to make the data-entry UI available anywhere you want. It’s free, it’s slick, and I’m completely surprised more people aren’t talking about this.
Thanks everyone, for your reviews & feedback! More to come in Zoho Creator …