Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Zoho Experiment

It's the first day of the new semester, and I've determined to do another 30-day test, this time with Zoho. The same rules apply as before --
  • I'll do all my work online.
  • I can't use any local apps other than a browser and a file manager.
  • I should try to avoid using a file manager where possible and instead work with files completely online.
  • I will prefer Zoho applications over other choices.
I expect that using Zoho will be easier than using Google Apps was because outside services can be added to the Zoho interface. I can't really switch to Zoho e-mail for all my work, so I'll still be using Gmail, though I'll try to limit it.

The first thing that I'll mention is how much more like an integrated application Zoho feels than Google does. I've been using Google Apps for over a year now, so I'm pretty used to it, but there's no real dashboard (iG doesn't make the cut). Zoho has a nice menu and even has the "desktop" which summarizes all your important information.

Zoho offers the following services in the "Personal" edition:
  • Mail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Desktop
  • Writer
  • Sheet
  • Show
  • Meeting
  • Wiki
  • Tasks
  • Notes
  • Links
  • Contacts
  • Notebook
These are all descriptively named. I didn't originally get that Sheet was the spreadsheet, though I'll never forget that now, and I had to look at desktop to understand what it did, but the learning curve is very slight.
The applications all appear to be more like their desktop equivalents than the Google Apps do. This will make learning the new application easier, but I suspect that Google is embracing the online aspect of the suite more than Zoho is. Zoho's visually attractive aspect comes at a price with regard to the speed, too.

Since Zoho supports posting blogs from Zoho Writer, I'll be using that from this point on.

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