August 26, 2008

Zoho : The Continuing Saga

In an earlier blog post I have written about Zoho Creator, the truly amazing platform for developing applications and deploying them on the web using the metaphor of Cloud Computing. I have introduced this platform in my Systems Engineering course both at the Praxis Business School as well as at the School of Management at IIT Kharagpur and the product has been very well received by students at both places. Management students who had in the past felt that programming was beneath their dignity ( though in reality it was more often beyond their ability :) have now started writing real programs.

As a part of the course, the students have to develop a basic order collection application that has a few slightly complex concepts like referential integrity and updating multiple tables and to help them I have created a presentation that shows the various steps that are involved.

Being an open source enthusiast I had created the presentation in Open Office but then I found to my dismay that many students do not have Open Office !! I could have of course converted my OO presentation into PDF and uploaded it but then I discovered Zoho Show.

Zoho Show is generic presentation tool ( much like Microsoft PowerPoint or Open Office Impress) except that it works on the web and in a browser. Just like Zoho Creator, there is nothing to purchase, download or install ! Just go ahead and create a presentation and show it to the world ...

Which is fine except that I already had an Open Office presentation sitting on my laptop and had no intention of creating another one. This is where Zoho Show comes in very handy. It readily imports an Open Office presentation ( as well as Microsoft Powerpoint ) and converts it into a Zoho Show! ... and then you can actually embed it in a website .. just like this ..

or you can see it at this public URL. If you have difficulty in reading the text go to full screen mode.

Do take a look and if you want to see the actual application that is described in the presentation, then go visit it at this URL.