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Friday, July 21, 2006

Zoho: the web 2.0 factory

Zoho are really turning out the online apps. I've been spending a lot of time with ZohoCreator in particular, building my own web app for use by a club. It's amazingly easy to use, and is developing fast - every time I take another look at it, there's more features, but often GUI improvements as well which make it easier to use, too.

The support is second-to-none too - ask a question on the support forum, and it's almost guaranteed that a member of the Zoho team will have an answer for you within in hours, and they try hard too. If the app can't do what you need now, they'll work on it and bring it out in a new feature release.

If Zoho has a problem, it's that they're trying to do everything. A look at their homepage shows they have twelve distinct product offerings! What's suprising though is that across the board, quality is high. With so many services you'd expect some to be below par, as surely they can't give each the development time it deserves? However, that doesn't seem to be the case. The products I've tried have proved mature and effective. Among them include the best online word-processor and spreadsheet apps I've seen, comfortably superior to both Writely and Google Spreadsheets. They are only lacking in one key area: each of the apps has a different look and feel. They should concentrate on unifying the GUI of their apps, to aid customer transition between them.

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Thanks for your kind words about Zoho. Yes, we are working on the UI consistency part. As Hyther said in his post, when things are evolving fast, getting people to coordinate is a problem, but as products mature, we will work on providing a more consistent experience.

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