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Create Web Apps for free February 17, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Collaboration, Databases, WebDesign.
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1 comment so far

Zoho Creator offers a free and extremely easy way to create your own web applications in no time at all. You can keep them private for your own use or share them with others. It is similar to Zoho DB & reports in that you can create databases with tables and queries, but Creator goes much further by providing the ability to add customizable forms as a frontend to your databases.

They also have their own scripting language called Deluge Script for those that want to dive deeper into building their web app. They also offer a Zoho Creator API that can satisfy even the most advanced developers. The good news is that you don’t need to learn any scripting language to create many useful web applications in a matter of minutes. You can even access these web apps via mobile devices which is very slick. They now offer SSL encryption for extra security, which makes creating web apps for the enterprise an extremely attractive option.

Here’s a 3-minute demo:

Sample Web App
Here’s a sample web app I created in five minutes called My Muse. http://creator.zoho.com/paisano/mymuse
It can track all of your writing, including blog posts, ideas, publications, etc. If you like this or any public web app, then click the copy application option to save it to your own account where you can customize it and make it your own.

Final Thoughts:
I’ve tried many online services that claim to offer easy database and web application creation but Zoho Creator and their DB & Reports are the best in my book. The load times and application/database performance have always been very good and the intuitive interface for designing is always excellent. I’ve never had to go to the help section with any of their products which says a lot.

Build your own Online Databases for FREE! January 22, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Collaboration, Databases.
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You can now build powerful and sharable databases online for free thanks to websites like Zoho. You don’t even need any special database development experience to create online databases that you can access any time from any browser. You can build it and store it online and even export the data to a spreadsheet if you want to work with the information in an Excel spreadsheet offline.

Zoho DB & Reports offers the best “Free” online database service, hands down. It is extremely easy to create your own database and the performance is impressive. The databases run rather quickly which was a pleasant surprise. There doesn’t appear to be any limits in place for the number of databases you can create for free nor how large they can grow so I do not know how many records a Zoho database can contain. You can share any database with anyone you want by simply adding their email address and sending them a link. They don’t even have to join zoho to view the database which is a nice change of pace from other services. Another excellent feature is the ability to embed any database or view on your website. Here is a example of a database called The Zone where I have every Twilight Zone episode along with other information. You can share databases with individuals, make them public or keep them private.
Here’s an excellent Zoho DB & Reports screencast

Zoho Creator
is another database creation service they offer but don’t get them confused. While they describe it as a Database Application builder, it does a lot more than that. Zoho Creator is a lot more complex than Zoho DB so it will not be as easy to use straight out of the gate. It offers an excellent interface builder for creating customized forms for your database application. They now even offer the ability to build database applications for the mobile platform and have their own API for those interested in building more complex databases.

Final Thoughts
There are many online database solutions, but not that many free ones. Zoho is clearly the best of breed in this class. Now, some will ask “Why do I even need a database online when I can simply store or share a document or spreadsheet online? Well, there are many reasons, one of which is the ability to enter data one time and generate countless view of that data to present it in different views. Yes, there are many situations where a spreadsheet will be the best method of storing data online, but there are also many situations when data is best kept in an online database, especially if the information can be viewed in many different ways. Ultimately, the choice will be your’s. Thanks to companies like Zoho, we now have that option. 🙂