Zoho Creator’s Calendar View Evolves Further

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Dates are important. Every transaction, every deadline, every memory, every milestone has been date-driven. In Zoho Creator too, be it scheduling emails, calculating due date or restricting form activity to working hours, date fields are irreplaceable. That urged us to push them further. The makeover has left the date fields and calendar views better than before. Here’s what has happened.

One, is the ability to restrict the days on which appointments can be requested on public calendars; working days and working hours. Users will be permitted to create events only within this duration. We’ve made it customizable to suit your locale and culture because Friday is not the end of the week in all countries (Russia, for instance).

The second enhancement, is support for week and day views, in addition to the month view. You can now pick the desired view to filter the appointments.

The third, is rescheduling events as you would do on any other calendar application. Drag the event around the calendar to reschedule it, and pull the end to lengthen or shorten it.

Use this calendar here to try these new features. Let us know what you think.

Announcement: Zoho Creator API now supports Authentication Token

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Previously, an API included a ticket that had a lifetime of 7 days, after which it would expire. The API had to be updated with a new ticket once every 7 days. This was getting tedious as there was no way you could automate this process. As a measure of minimizing manual effort involved, we introduced Authentication Tokens to API’s.

The Authentication Token is bound to an account. Generating it is a one-time activity, and is valid for eternity. This token can be used in all your API calls. All the tokens associated with your account can be managed in Zoho Accounts.

Authentication Token is certainly better in every way, so we strongly recommend all Developer API users to switch. Here is how you can generate the Authentication Token. In order to enforce this better alternative, we intend to discontinue support of API tickets and API key. API users will be notified well in advance.

Short-circuit evaluation enhances Zoho Creator performance

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In plain English, “Short-Circuit” is the intelligence of an algorithm to skip processing the remaining part of a condition, if the desired results have been achieved mid-way and the rest of the condition will not have any effect on the result.

Executing scripts unnecessarily can exhaust resources. Short-circuit ensures that the results are achieved by executing scripts the minimum number of times possible.

Consider the following expression that has two operands, A and B.

If A is True, (AND) B is True, then execute script.

It means, the script has to be executed when both A and B are true. To find that out, both A and B have to be tried. But what if A is tried first, and is found to be false? Regardless of what B turns out to be, the script will not be executed because one of the two (A) has failed. There is no point in trying B. Short-circuit is responsible for skipping B.

Short-circuit can be applied to Boolean operators in which just one of the two operands is enough to determine the result of the expression. Operators like AND and OR, for example.

So, Zoho Creator is now short-circuit-intelligent, and it optimizes the execution of scripts, productively affects time taken to make decisions and improves the overall performance. This is not like a new feature that you can try. It is more like those which can’t be seen, but feel good when experienced. You know.

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.

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.