Why are simple things made so complex?

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I got a feature request to import Yahoo finance live quote in Zoho Writer document. I went to Yahoo Finance & by getting the quote for a symbol in “Get Quote”, I found the URL “Add Quotes to Your Web Site”. I thought by clicking this I will get the iframe code which I can embed in my document in Zoho Writer. But it’s not that simple.

It redirected me to http://finance.yahoo.com/badges/. There I clicked on the “Start Now” button & I am redirected to Sign in page. I don’t understand why should I Sign in but I decided to Sign in.

This redirected me to a Wizard page ( http://finance.yahoo.com/badges/wizard/select ) which showed 3 steps. The first step is “Select on of the Modules” & there are 3 options. I selected one of the option & went to step 2. The second step is “Choose what your content look like” & I filled the information. At the end, there is an licensing confirmation. I clicked on “I agree to licensing terms” & clicked “Get code” to get the iframe code.

I still don’t understand why they want me to sign in. Is this an effort to increase the sign up’s? If so, what’s the purpose of increasing sign up? In Zoho, we offer demo login for users to try the service before they sign up. We don’t want to pain users with registration even for trying the service. Are we doing anything wrong here??

Can anyone help me understand why is this so complex?

Zoho Projects launched!

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Please join me in welcoming the latest addition to the Zoho suite of web services – Zoho Projects! Zoho Projects, as the name implies is an online project mangement tool that helps teams to easily organize their work & track progress.


Salient features include :

  • Splitting up of a project into Tasks & Milestones
  • A Dashboard view to show all the recent activities
  • A Calendar based view of the project
  • AJAX-based design ensuring better usability (no page reloading for every beck & call)
  • Centralized uploading & storage of files
  • Easy collaboration among the project members by allowing meetings to be scheduled & through forums (integration with Zoho Chat coming soon)
  • Logo customization – allows having your company’s logo
  • Reports including Gantt charts
  • Support for unlimited users
  • Various plans ranging from Free (1 project) to Enterprise Version (unlimited projects, $80/month) available

Take a tour of Zoho Projects (QuickTime movie), login as a demo user & give it a test drive or sign up now for free. Try it out & do tell us what you think.

Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick & Mike Arrington for covering the Zoho Projects launch in TechCrunch!

Zoho Writer – Scheduled Maintenance

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Zoho Writer will be having an upgrade this Sunday night (Aug 27) for two hours. As a result of this, Zoho Writer will be down from Sunday, 11:30 pm PDT to Monday, 1:30 am PDT. Just an advance notice & sorry for the inconvenience caused. The update will have a few bug fixes & add some new features.

Zoho Creator – Tip of the Day #9

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#9 How to get a summary view of individual records?

In the list view, click on the Record Summary Icon icon of the respective records.


You will get a pop up screen showing all the details of the record.

Record Summary

You can also right click on the icon and copy the link provided and open in a new browser window. Each record has a permanent link and can be viewed in this wayalso .


When will you support “Single Sign On” in Zoho ?

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Recently we have been getting more request from users for “Single Sign On” (SSO) for Zoho services. Single Sign On allows users to register just once to use all Zoho Services.

Recently Priya Ganapathy from RED HERRING finds this annoying to sign up separately for each program ( http://www.redherring.com/article.aspx?a=18050 ). I, being one of the frequent user of Zoho services ( Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, Zoho Planner & Zoho Creator ), I can understand the pain.

We have been working hard to get this out soon. The delay is due to the data migration. We have come close thrice but since we are not fully satisfied with the way we handled existing users, we just decided to change the design.

Having our own Identity Access Manger software ( http://www.securecentral.com/products/iam/index.html ) made it simple for us to support Single Sign On. But handling existing user base with no ( or minimal ) impact is the real challenge we are figuring out to solve. We are happy that most of the features we required were already supported in IAM & this saved lot of time for us.

We apologize for paining you without Single Sign On. We will do our best to get this out real soon.

Stay Tuned !!!!

Zoho Creator – Tip of the Day #8

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#8 How to get a print view of your data?

In the view, click, “More Actions”, click “Export Data”.

More Actions

In the Export screen, Use the HTML link and PDF to get the respective formats and use it to print the data. The download will be either a list view or summary view based on the type of the view. If you had filtered your data, you get links for that too.


Zoho Wins in CRN’s “Best Ajax-Based Apps” Review

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CRN has come up with a review of Ajax-based sites in six categories – calendars, e-mail, information managers, spreadsheets, webtops and word processors. Zoho Writer is the Winner in the word processor category. And Zoho Sheet is runner-up in the spreadsheets category. From the review article :

Word Processors
The Winner: Zoho Writer
Ajax-based word processors may be good for collaboration, and they can offer solid basic functionality. But for power features, I fully expected that I’d have to turn to their desktop-based counterparts.

Wrong, at least as far as Zoho Writer is concerned. This site gives you all the collaboration tools you’d expect in an Ajax application, along with a suite of features that any power user would love. In fact, for some purposes, such as creating graphics-heavy documents or documents for which you want an HTML version, it beats Microsoft Word.

For a start, it includes very good text-handling, the ability to change font color and size, a spell-checker, undo, and more — pretty much all the solid basics of a word processor. It’s all accessible via an intuitive toolbar whose icons look much like Word’s.

It excels in creation of HTML pages, because it automatically creates an HTML version of any file as you type. You can toggle between normal and HTML views, and you can easily add your own HTML tags. It also includes dialog boxes for coding links, anchors, and graphics. In addition, Zoho Writer’s insert-image feature outstrips Word’s, because it lets you customize spacing and alignment — and it then automatically converts all that to the proper HTML code.

Zoho Writer can also export files to many formats, including Word .DOC files, Rich Text Format (.RTF), text files, PDF, HTML, the Open Office .SXW extension, and OpenDocument’s .ODT format.

As for collaboration, it’s got what you need as well. It’s simple to invite others to view or get read/write access to the document. Bloggers will appreciate its ability to link directly into accounts for Blogger, LiveJournal, WordPress, and TypePad, and to upload your current document as a post.

There is one downside to this site: I found it to be slow to load, and the initial load often took a few minutes. But that’s a small price to pay for such a power-packed word processor. The only hard thing to believe about Zoho Writer is that it’s actually free.

The Runner-Up: Zoho Sheet

Zoho Sheet is a close runner-up to Google Spreadsheets, and in fact bests it in several ways. It lets you create charts, for example, and you can export to more formats than Google Spreadsheets, including Excel, OpenOffice, .CSV, HTML, and PDF.

Where it falls down is collaboration. You can invite people to share your spreadsheets, and you can give them read-only or read-write access. But despite multiple efforts, I couldn’t get it to work properly; edits made by one person didn’t show up to the other person working on the same sheet and vice versa. In time, this bug may be worked out, and Zoho Sheet could end up the winner.

Thanks to the CRN reviewers Preston Gralla & Barbara Krasnoff! We sure will be addressing the issues pointed out. And congrats to the other winners.

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