Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Saturday with Zoho Writer!

Today I thought of trying my luck with Zoho Writer and write my feedback about that. So is this post :)

Just a thought: Actually I am surprised that almost all of zoho's product have different UI's. Won't it look good if they create a uniform look and feel across their products?

Most of the Products have Single Sign On facility:

It's really nice to see that they have done SSO (single sign on) authentication for their products. It means, previously I have registered with Zoho Sheets and now to work with Zoho Writer I can make use of the same login.

How to enable SSO for a zoho product?

1. First login to any of their product (zoho sheet, zoho writer, zoho show, zoho project, zoho creator, zoho planner, zoho wiki and zoho chat). Yes you need to register once in any of their product.

2. In the header of the application you can see "My Account" link. Click on it to see a screenshot as shown below for your account information.

3. Now lets assume that you need to enable SSO for "Zoho Planner". All you need to do is click on "Add New" link besides it. Easy isn't it?

Just a thought: I feel that the text "Add new" is confusing. I initially thought that it would create a new account when its clicked.

Template Library

Refer below the screenshot of the initial screen after login. In the header you can find the link "Template Library".

As of now when this blog post is made there are 51 pre-build templates available which one can use to create their document. There are template like "Resume covering letter", "Different resume template" etc.,

Extract from their site:

This is a place where you can find readymade templates for your use. Whoever you are - job seeker, businessman, accountant, designer, salesman, marketer, home user - you can find a template which you can use to build your document on. And what's more, you can upload your templates here too - if you are an expert in your area of interest and have useful templates to share with others, please feel free to do so.

This feature is really cool and people who have used MS Word templates would appreciate this as well.

Search within Template Library:

I tried searching for keywords "Resume", "sheet" etc., but it didn't work for any of them. It always shows up a screen as shown in the below screenshot. May be a minor glitch which they might already be working on as well which I am not sure.

Mailing Options:

  • Any document, you worked on, can be sent to an Email ID of your choice using the "Email Out" option. We could make use of this option to take a backup of our work :)

  • There is an 'Email In' option which would be really useful. For each user they give an Email Id to which they can send in any documents which would be upload to their zoho writer account.

Most of 'MS Word' shortcut keys work here too:

I tried 'Ctrl+B', 'Ctrl+I', 'Ctrl+U', 'Ctrl+N', 'Ctrl+S' and all of them worked. Wow its really cool. I can create documents online with the same speed I used to do with my MS Word :) Out of all those, 'Ctrl+S' and 'Ctrl+N' only surprised me. The first one is for saving a document while the second one creates a new tab/document.

Source control!!

The best feature which I liked within "Zoho Writer" is maintaining document "History". I assume that each time when we edit the content and save they internally create a version of the document. Anytime we can compare between two versions and if need be we can revert back to an older version as well. This is a real cool feature and I guess "Zoho Writer" team have done their homework really well.

Just a thought: I guess "Show Diff" has some issues. Most of the time nothing happened when I clicked on it. May be the team wants to go through the code base of that functionality once again!

It also has an option to export the document into various format like, "PDF", "RTF", "Text file", "HTML" file etc., Over all the product looks really impressive. The interface is cool and I felt like working in a client based software rather than an online word processor.

That said, I also want to convey that I faced quite a few alignment issues and in few places it threw Javascript errors as well. But those aren't show stoppers and more over it is still in Beta. Hopefully all these minor issues would be fixed before they remove the Beta tag. Btw, if you run into any issues you can file it here.

Don't forget to check out my Awards / Recognition / Achievements document which I created using Zoho Writer :) I plan to update this document when ever I achieve something(!). I would also put it up on the right navigation for easier access.

Related Posts:

1. Interview with Product Manager of Zoho Sheet
2. [Product Review] SwisSQL SQLOne Console 3.0

Technorati tags: , ,
kick it on


Arvind said...

Thanks for the post, Vadivel!

About SSO, there is no need to 'enable' it as such. Say you registered at Zoho Sheet and logged in. Now typing will automatically create an account in Zoho Writer and log you in!

The 'Add New' button can be used for say, deleting an old Zoho Writer account and recreating a new one (from scratch).

About the templates search, sorry that you faced this issue and thanks for rising it. We are aware of this & the fix will be updated soon. And the 'Show Diff' feature will soon have a revamped look. About the JavaScript errors (and other issues if any), please do mail them to us at feedback(at)zohowriter(dot)com. We will sure be addressing them.

Vadivel said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog Aravind!

Oh initially i tried login into zohowriter directly but it didn't work. Only then I went via "zohosheet -- My Account -- Add new" route and saw that it is working. May be I would try that again. Thanks for the clarification.

Sure would send across the errors which I faced to you guys tommorrow.

Arvind said...

Thanks, Vadivel :-)

Anonymous said...

Do you really live in India? That's really cool! I noticed a group of Indians actually created Zoho so I wondered if you were one of them or work with them on the project? Thanks for your review it was very informative and you also have excellent english!

Vadivel said...

Thanks for your comment Mr./Mrs./Ms. Anonymous :)

Yep I live in India, Chennai.

I am NOT working for Zoho or Adventnet. When Google Spreadsheet came out I heard about Zohosheets and then got more interested when i came to know that it is a chennai based org.,

BTW if you have any specific questions or concerns which you would like to get it clarified on their product(s) do let me know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post

Anonymous said...

Thanks Arvind

kan said...

I have a client who is looking for someone (developer/business) who knows the ZOHO applications that he could hire to create a test business application that would use both ZOHO Business and ZOHO Creator

So if this is possible, please let me know if it makes sense. The main requirement would be that the person/company knows ZOHO and can work closely with him to implement a quick business scenario.

my contact number is 9916508692. Now I am in Bangalore