At Zoho Creator, it is raining integrations

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Many of our business apps become centers of gravity, with other apps revolving around them. And more importantly, complementing one another. It all happens with the integrations. This post sums up all DELUGE tasks that bring Zoho Creator closer to other services.

Zoho CRM:

Zoho CRM is the most popular of our services that we have integrated, and hence has the most tasks for itself. There are 7 tasks for adding, updating and fetching records from Zoho CRM.

GApps:

 

If you have installed Zoho Creator from the GApps Marketplace, there are two tasks solely for communicating between Zoho Creator and your Google account.

* Fetching List of Google Apps Users

* Creating an event, or multiple events on Google Calendar

Zoho Invoice:

Using DELUGE Tasks for Zoho Invoice, you can perform operations like creating new invoices, adding customers, adding expenses and fetching information of existing invoices, all from within Zoho Creator.

Zoho Calendar:

With this task, you can add an event automatically to any existing calendar on your Zoho account.

Zoho Reports:

On any table on Zoho Reports, you can add a record, specify criteria to delete records, and also update existing records.

All these tasks can be executed at any instance; when a form loads, upon successful submission of data into the form, or during validation. Values for the parameters can be hardcoded in the script, or values entered into the form can be used. Try them. And stay tuned for some third-party integrations too, that are on their way.

Zoho CRM & Zoho Creator: the affair is getting better

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Zoho CRM and Zoho Creator continue to be two of our most loved services. To all of you who use both these services alike, we believe this will be good news. The integration started off with two DELUGE tasks solely for Zoho CRM. Now, there are 7 tasks that make communication between these two services, simpler like never before. To sum things up, you can

1. Create a record on Zoho CRM – For records submitted to a Zoho Creator application, you can create a corresponding record on Zoho CRM too.
2. Fetch records from Zoho CRM that fall in a specific range of index.
3. Search for records on Zoho CRM.
4. Search for records on Zoho CRM, by specific predefined columns.
5. Update an existing record on Zoho CRM, using the values submitted into Zoho Creator.
6. Fetch related records from Zoho CRM, based on a specific record ID.
7. Fetch records from Zoho CRM of specific record ID.

When used in combination, the possibilities of automating tasks are countless. Learn more about these Zoho Creator DELUGE tasks and their syntax, here.

New in Zoho Creator: Searchable Lookup, Exposed Formula Field and Flexible Custom Actions

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There has been plenty of activity going on at Zoho Creator lately; regarding Forms, Views, and everything database. The changes they bring are intended to achieve greater convenience in terms of usability, and it comes as a result of increasing responsiveness and customization. To name a few,

Searchable lookup:

You know Look-up fields. That list which you use to pick values from fields on other forms? It just got better. If you are looking up tens of records, then it wouldn’t make a big difference, but if you have tens of thousands of records, then you’d have known how long the browser takes to load them all.

Searchable Lookup fieldsNot any more, no matter how many records you have. We’ve given it auto-complete feature. In addition to the pick-list, you can also type the value. As you type, it automatically suggests the possible entries you are looking for, leaving out the rest. That way, you don’t have to scroll through the entire list to pick the last value.

Exposed Formula fields:

Formula fields are primarily to perform calculations using the values entered into other fields. And, they were hidden on forms. But now, we’ve made it optional to display formula fields to users. As and when users fill up a form, they can see the value of the formula field change instantly. The formula field shown below will add the values entered into the three number fields. Try?

Custom actions, custom place:

Though you reordered columns on views to the desired order, the Custom Action button always remained the last one. Previously, it could not be reordered. With 3 or 4 columns, it is not a big task, but if you have 70 columns on your view, then every time you need to execute a custom action, you had to scroll all the way to the last. Now, you can place it first one on the View, and execute them easily. You reorder it just as you do any other column; drag-&-drop.

custom actionWhile you check these out, I’ll go fetch the other things to be declared open. Stay tuned.

How Zoho Creator found its way into a Business School Curriculum : A Success Story

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Time and again, businesses from varied backgrounds deploy customized Zoho Creator applications for their varied needs. While it is easy to imagine a few run-of-the-mill applications which can come in handy, the truly creative and innovative use cases that our users come up with never cease to amaze us.

We take pride in showcasing such ingenious Zoho Creator applications built by some of our enthusiastic users. Today we are here with yet another usergroup that has taken the usability of Zoho Creator to an altogether different level.


The Insti:

IIT Kharagpur is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in India. Offering a plethora of courses in graduate, post graduate, management and doctoral studies, being an IIT-ian is every student’s dream. VGSOM is IIT Kharagpur’s B School. It is one of the top ranked B schools in the country. Like any other B School, the students of VGSOM are from varied cultural and educational backgrounds. But one thing that binds them all is the fact that they have worked their way into this premier institution through sheer hard work and are looking to learn as much as they can and step into the corporate world as managers with sharp skills and acumen.


The Coursework:

So far, we’ve come across different educational institutions using Zoho Creator for their data management needs. But IIT Kharagpur went one up and included Zoho Creator as a part of their curriculum. Developing an ERP Zoho Creator application is a part of the final year project for the students of VGSOM. A mandatory part of the curriculum, this seeks to introduce the students to the world of ERPs.



The “deciding” factors:


According to Prof. Prithwis Mukherjee, the man behind the inclusion of Zoho Creator in the curriculum, conventional application development platforms are getting outdated. Students need to get to the heart of the problem without having to first spend time learning the programming languages and then going on to develop custom applications. Zoho Creator being a cloud based solution, customized applications can be developed quickly and easily.

Here’s more from the professor himself, who chanced upon Zoho Creator through a Google Search, and his students who developed different apps on the Zoho Creator platform for their project.

If you thought that was interesting.. take a look at this thread where Professor Mukherjee makes the announcement to his students.
 
Now, that was one way we never imagined Zoho Creator to be used. If you think your story will surprise us, do share your experience with us. And we will tell the world about it right here!

Just In : Subforms in Zoho Creator

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Zoho Creator makes building on-the-fly business apps a breeze. And today it gets even better: Introducing subforms!


Zoho Creator users are familiar with the many fields you can include on a form. For example, we’ve had a Look Up field for a while. Lookup fields are useful when you want to associate data in one form with a single piece of data in another form. 
But what happens if you want to associate one record in a form with multiple records in another form? For example, what if you have an application of students and you want to keep track of the classes they are taking? Students will be attending more than one course. That’s when subforms become very useful.
In this case, you can create a form that holds the student’s general details (i.e Name, ID number, etc), and another form that holds the course details (Course Name, Instructor, etc). Then, while on the parent form (the form that holds the student details) you’ll insert a subform field, and you can choose to insert the course details – and thus that will become the child form. Using the subform field, you’ll give the user the ability to create multiple courses for each student. Here’s a quick video that explains how to add subforms to your application
Any new feature in Zoho Creator, comes with some Deluge Power to it. Subforms are scriptable too. When you build your app, you can add workflows and business rules to the parent form and to the subform. The subform itself is listed among the fields in the script builder. In addition, “On Add Row” and “On Delete Row” are 2 new events meant specifically for subforms. These tasks can be executed when a child record is added to or deleted from the subform.

We would love to hear what you think of this latest addition to Zoho Creator.

Cloud computing and productivity revolution

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“You can quote them; disagree with them; glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them” (thanks, Apple, for that eccentric commercial). Cloud computing isn’t as new as it seems and is popular among businesses of all types and sizes. Legacy or conventional desktop computing has been trending for longer than it should have been. Thankfully, it is fast changing. Changing to cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to software services and platforms offered through the Internet and is available to organizations on the basis of subscription. The cloud has been around for quite a while now, and is becoming the preferred choice for many businesses. Why are these organizations, that were doing fine with installed software, now turning to the cloud? What in cloud computing has won them over?



Many businesses have lost the traditional office model already. Cloud comes as a boon to relatively smaller organizations; emerging ones, whose employees work from home and collaborate online. Any device that has Internet connectivity is all it takes to have access to the organization’s data. More importantly, there are no futile copies of the same data. There is one central location where all the data resides, and every user is served that, from wherever he has access. There are precautionary backups though, but the host handles it all.
Second to costly infrastructure, constant software updates and maintenance are nightmares that haunt businesses. The sad plight of traditional desktop software is that integration and maintenance costs you way more than the actual software itself. On the contrary, cloud computing platforms are updated automatically by the provider, and this ensures that every employee is on the latest platform, without having to spend a fortune on updates alone.

Interestingly, this study on giving back more than what we take, reveals,

Large companies that use cloud computing can achieve annual energy savings of $12.3 billion and annual carbon reductions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil – enough to power 5.7 million cars for one year.
So, for whatever reason you go to the cloud, be it environmental activism, online-collaboration capability, or freedom from infrastructure, maintenance and software updates, there is this one factor that desktop counterparts can never match. And that is ROI  (Return on Investment) or the cost factor. Because, in business, emerging ones in particular, money does matter. And money saved is money earned. The showstopper is that the cloud provides all this, and yet, there is no compromise on productivity. And that is why cloud computing platforms are rapidly gaining the appreciation they rightfully deserve.

Build Order Forms, Increase Sales: Zoho Creator Payment Module

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Just recently, the payment module in Zoho Creator was introduced. With the help of this module, users can set up a payment gateway using their PayPal account. Once this gateway is set up, users can build a variety of applications that involve collecting payments, donations, etc. Our enthusiastic users have come up with a dozen applications that use the payment module in innovative ways. Today, I am showcasing a simple e-commerce application using your familiar Zoho Creator forms.

The heart of the application is an order form. Potential customers can place their orders for the goods offered for sale through this form. Not just that, they can also pay for the orders that they placed. In this sample application that I created, I am offering discounts on bulk orders, sending email confirmations of the order and generating invoices to send to the customers. While this sounds like a lot, it’s really easy to put it all in place. My PayPal account is tied to the order form for collecting the payments, and the customer can pay using either a credit card or PayPal account.

In this application, I am offering customized t-shirts on sale. Customers placing orders for 20 t-shirts or more will get a 10% discount.

First, I create the Order Form and tie it up with my PayPal’s sandbox account.

 

Zoho Creator creates the base form, which will contain all the items up for sale and their respective prices. It also includes the fields from the base form in the order form. I can customize the order form to add more fields, like the buyer’s contact information, shipping address, etc.

 


Next, I include bits of Deluge Script that will calculate the discounted prices for the order, send the email confirmation and also generate an invoice to be sent to the customer.


Now that the application building part is over, I go over to the Items form and start adding the items available for sale.

 

The application is now ready. I simply embed the order form in my website. The orders start pouring in. Now that took me only an hour to build. Isn’t that neat? Do feel free to try the application. How could you use the payment module for your business application?