Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top Web Tools of 2007 - Number 3

Zoho Notebook makes the year-end list even though the Zoho suite is already in my hall of fame based on being my #1 tool of 2006 and also based on being a group of tools that I use on an almost daily basis. However, Notebook was not released last year at the time I published my list, and it's a good enough app to stand on it's own. Having said that, it is not a perfect app, still just a little bit buggy, but overall I find it to be a groundbreaking service that definitely pushes the envelope.

As the screenshot below shows (partially), you can combine various different kinds of content on a single webpage just by dragging and dropping separate windows for each bit of content. The example shown below is from my bio page, which doesn't yet include all of the different types of media available with Notebook. Click the second tab on the right sidebar to get past the cover page.

Here is the Zoho Blog post announcing Zoho Notebook back in January 2007, although it didn't go to public beta until May. Since that time they have added enhancements in June, July, August, September, November, and December. Those enhancements included the following, plus more:

  • Auto-save on a frequent basis
  • Saves every time you navigate from page to page
  • Undo/Redo
  • Reordering of pages
  • Support for Opera and Safari
  • Collaborative writers will see changes made by others almost immediately
  • Books and individual pages can be exported
  • More shapes in the drawing toolbar
  • Integration with most other Zoho apps
  • Skins have been added
  • Keyboard shortcuts have been added
  • Text objects can now be linked (URLs etc).
Here is a video by Zoho showing the early features of Zoho Notebook. Keep in mind that much more functionality has been included since the time of this video in early 2007. Here are all the posts about Notebook at the Zoho Blogs.

The next screenshot shows the various items that can be added to a Notebook page, in any combination that you choose, at any sizes that you choose, and with any placement that you choose. A notebook can have as many pages as you choose (unlimited? I'm not sure), and those pages can be single stand-alone items such as a webpage, word processing (Zoho Writer) page, spreadsheet (Zoho Sheet) page, or a mashup of any of the items shown on the left-side panel below. For audio and video you can either upload completed files, link to files stored elsewhere (YouTube, etc.), or record on the fly.

The final screenshot below shows one of the uses of Zoho Notebook that I think offers great utility. This is a Notebook page being delivered within our VLE (Desire2Learn) for displaying content as a sort of mashup that otherwise would take some pretty high level HTML coding skills. Basically, I think that the value of this service is limited only by your own imagination. No bull.

1 comment:

Arvind said...

Thanks Barry, for making Zoho (Notebook) as part of your 2007 top web tools list!