Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

I’m dumping Word but I can’t dump Domino

While I’m fond of bagging out the hype and crap that I see associated with ‘Web 2.0’, I am very much a passionate advocate of hosted applications and where possible I have been moving off desktop applications whenever I find an active web app that does the job properly.
I’ve always thought it would be neat to use an online word processor, but after not finding Writely to my liking, I didn’t think I’d be moving away from Word anytime soon. However, I’ve found myself punching out almost all of my writing of late using ZohoWriter.

The early feedback I saw on ZohoWriter was that it was very much a poor-man’s Writely, but I certainly don’t think that’s the case any more and I find it’s use of screen real estate and so forth makes it work much better for me. (I keep trying to dig Writely because of its tie-in with NetVibes but I seem to always run into issues).
One other Zoho product, I’m keen to try out is Zoho Creator. I’m not a programmer, but I’ve always been able to achieve 95 per cent on what I needed to create for any website I’ve needed building in Lotus Domino/Notes. I then bring in external programmers to do the tricky stuff in Java and what not. It’s always really peeved me that I’ve never found a web developement environment that enables amateur hackers like me to quickly punch out relatively complex web apps like I can do with Domino.

(I’ve yet to find a better development cycle than where the business stakeholder creates an initial prototype/interface and then hands over to a real coder to make work properly)

Zoho creator appears to be coming from this same perspective of enabling non-coders to build web applications and given their portfolio of web apps they’re developing, I’m interested to see how it works (I’ll let you know how I go, assuming I get a beta account!)

Personally, I’d like to see a lot more Web 2.0 developers, allow external parties to private label their technologies or better leverage them in external applications somehow. I keep thinking if I could just take the NetVibes desktop, combines it with Trumba, SugarCRM, ZohoWriter and GMail, customise it all a bit to fit my particular needs and whack my own front end on the front, I’d suddenly have every bit of functionality I’ve ever wanted to build into my MediaConnect sites. As it is, I’ve just spent hours speccing out my next phase of work for MediaConnect, explaining to the developer ‘now if you could make this work like it does on this site, and this do it the way it works on http://www.etc’

And you know what, if you could componentise all these cool web apps like NetVibes, Trumba, ZohoWriter, etc and them license them to other developers to use, then hey presto, a real revenue stream!


Filed under: Web Development, Word Processing

4 Responses

  1. “(I’ve yet to find a better development cycle than where the business stakeholder creates an initial prototype/interface and then hands over to a real coder to make work properly)”

    Preach on, brutha! That’s exactly what we’ve been doing at FanFooty and Tinfinger, although as we’ve gone on I’ve become more competent at PHP and haven’t had to defer to Tai’s superior knowledge so much. At the start (Dec 2004) I was just delivering HTML mock-ups, but now I can code big folders of PHP pages from scratch.

    One caveat though: your characterisation of “business stakeholder” and “coder” implies that the coder doesn’t have equity, that they’re an employee only. That’s a fatal flaw IMO. If your coders don’t have equity, that spells trouble because they’re not going to work as hard to keep you on the cutting edge by adding in all the cool stuff they have seen at Netvibes, Zoho, etc. Tai’s an equal partner in Tinfinger, even though I’m generating the bulk of the ideas.

    White labelling is a big potential growth area in Web 2.0, I agree. I banged on at Gabe Rivera to do it for Memeorandum for long enough.

  2. Thanks for reminding me of Writerly and making me discover ZohoWriter. Cool stuff.

  3. ZoHo writer and Writely both rock. But the job of shuffling files back and forth between a PC and the web while maintaining version integrity is painful.
    I think that once one of these services marries something like they will get really useful.
    Of course Microsoft bought foldershare the other day …

  4. […] taken heavily to running hosted applications. Squash reminded us a while back that a lot of the basics still need to be covered. Still, it’s interesting to consider whether this is a trend that consumers, medium business […]

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