Whatafind: Zoho and Web 2.0 may give the big boys a run for their money
I'm obviously very slow - it turns out that the guys at Zoho (located in my home town of Chennai, no less) are some pretty freaking awesome Web 2.0 psycho-coders. They have gone heads up against 37signals, google's online-office (i.e., writely, google-spreadsheets, etc.), and come out on top. These guys are fucking Gods!
I have to say that I've usually hated Java. These guys have demonstrated that Java, with the power of some pretty nifty Web 2.0 skills, can create some pretty phenomenal web-based applications. Are these guys the replacement for MSOffice? Hard call right now, and given that I actually researched quite a few online offerings before settling on Writely about 2 years back, they may still have to do a bit of catching up on the PR front. But never underestimate the power of the Indian hive-mind [that was supposed to be said with a Borg voice, right before "YOU will be assimilated"!].
Anyway, color me impressed, along with everyone else who reviewed their products in the last year. Now I may have to switch over from writely and all the other google-related madness. One thing that would be nice is for there to be a quick-convert system, where all the stuff I have on google-writely/spreadsheet can be imported, along with revision history.
What I was initially wondering is how they did all this. There's the obvious AJAX and XML stuff - there's a blog posting that indicates that zoho uses openoffice as the back-end to convert/manage the docs. so that means a relatively clean xml format (I suspect that writely does something similar, but they're running everything in aspx, which causes me a bit of confusion - why start with an open-source system, then head to dotNet. Maybe they're not really doing that?).
Anyway, I'm waiting for someone to dissect and analyze how these guys do their thing, and provide a good comparison between the different implementation strategies. One thing that would be good is to get one of their developers, or even the CEO Sridhar Vembu on the Open Views program that I'll be hosting on KRUU-FM. Lofty ideas? Fuck yeah. But hey, we gotta aim high, right?
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