Zoho Creator: Not-so-minor enhancements – Episode #1

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Zoho Creator is one of our services that is frequently updated. Some of these are major, and get all the attention they deserve, while some are not major enough to make news, but are still significant. Here are such updates to three existing features, that were specifically asked for by our community.

Options of radio button and check-box in 3-column layout

Radio button and check-box fields are meant for fields with multiple options. They worked fine, except that when having many options, they would appear as a long list. Hereafter, it can be arranged in one, two or three columns.

Image field supports uploading of images

Image fields have been able to fetch an image from a web URL. Now, in addition to that, they are capable of locating an image on your local storage devices, and uploading it.

File upload via email attachment

Adding records to Zoho Creator forms via email, now supports uploading of files too. Just attach the files to the email which contains the record you wish to add, as explained here. It gets uploaded in the corresponding file-upload fields on the corresponding form.

Inserting and updating records on Zoho CRM automatically from Zoho Creator

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Zoho Creator forms can be embedded on webpages for data collection. Upon submission, a copy of the data can be inserted into any module on Zoho CRM associated with the same account. This is done using the dedicated DELUGE Tasks for Zoho CRM. But what happens if the data already exists on Zoho CRM? Will it be duplicated? Will it be overwritten? Will it be merged?

Well. That which you want, happens.

Take this simple contact form that can be embedded on a website. Presume, for every new contact, you want an entry in Contacts module of Zoho CRM. But if the contact already exists, then you want to update the record. For every new entry, this form fetches records from Contacts Module in Zoho CRM, and checks if the email address already exists. If a match is found, then the other fields are updated. Else, it is added as a new contact on Zoho CRM.

You need to ensure that the field names specified in the script have to be the same as those on Zoho CRM Contacts module. Install this sample application on your account to view the script.

How a Film Festival Plans to Run Its Entire Operations on Zoho

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Ever try to run a film festival? Me neither. But if you had to do it, would you try pulling it off without a CRM application? Probably not.

Well that’s what happened last year for the first ever Napa Valley Film Festival. The entire event was produced without CRM. The coordination was a process of looking up spreadsheets, Google Docs, and sharing documents via DropBox. It caused a lot of confusion and overworking that they want to avoid this year with a move of all operation management onto Zoho, said Carrie Markham and Ben Mahoney, the Administrative Director and Director of Operations, respectively, for the festival.

Customizing CRM for a festival

The Napa Valley Film Festival’s coordination effort is massive. Markham and Mahoney are looking to use Zoho Creator to build an application that integrates all the various elements and departments of the festival such as development, marketing, venues, wineries, operations, sponsors, volunteers, filmmakers, and film programming. Everyone needs to be coordinated and in sync.

I met Markham and Mahoney at the Zoho user conference, Zoholics in Burlingame, California. They were there to make sure that Zoho Creator could help them build applications and forms that would integrate into or from the CRM without duplicating any effort. Plus they wanted a solution that would allow them to customize every aspect for their unique needs, and eliminate the need for any data reentry.

The festival happens the second week of November every year. This year it’s November 7-11th.

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.



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!