ZOHO Creator Database

ZOHO provides Cloud Applications including a database builder called Creator. It looks very nice and allows you to build a simple database with very little work, and no extensive database expertise. I moved my 2Moons character database to ZOHO in only an hour or so. Looks great to me.

Sure would be nice to have a database in the cloud. We have investigated Google Docs and I’ve got an example Spreadsheet here and an example Chart here.

In some previous cases I’ve needed simple databases: Books for sale on EBay, a DVD database list and a 2Moons Character database. For Books, I used MySQL and php here on this site [ But I didn’t maintain it.] For the DVD database, I used Open Office connected to MySQL to store the data and image thumbs of covers. For the 2Moons characters, I used an Open Office Base application.

When I selected the Open Office solution to avoid high costs and to allow me to move the application around between computers and operating systems. Open Office works on Windows, Mac and Linux. However, the problems of backing up and saving versions of the application as I enhance it are a lot of work. Which version on the various computers is the latest one? Sure would be nice for it to be in the Cloud so I wouldn’t have to worry about those issues.

After a little searching, I found ZOHO Creator. Here’s two views of the 2Moons database that I build in an hour or so.

So it seems to work pretty well. Here is a list of weapons filterable by Character name.

CAUTION: Do not use the JavaScript snippet. It breaks WordPress layout.

One of the issues that I struggle with in OOBase was building a form that filtered by character. I had to get an obscure script from a fellow in a forum to solve the problem. But with ZOHO creator, it was easy. Just drag a LOOKUP field into your form and set the field. Problem solved.

You’ll notice that he embedded views look pretty generic and don’t match this website at all in style. Sure would be nice if ZOHO provided “Themes” or worked with the stylesheet of WordPress or other CMS where the embedding occurred.

I did find a minor problem. If you build a Dropdown list field, and then later you try to add or modify the choices, Creator will likely kick out some errors. Based on a forum post, they will consider this as a future enhancement, but as a workaround, you can edit the form script to fix the order of the entries.

ZOHO provides useful and free subscriptions for each of their Office features. For Creator there is a free subscription that allows 3 applications, 1000 records and 200MB. But if you want more, the next upgrade is $15 / month. Sigh… There is a reason that I don’t spend $15 / mo to play World of Warcraft. That seems way too expensive compared with my hosting service which gives me UNLIMITED MySQL databases and UNLIMITED storage for $5 / month.

But the good news is that it works just fine and is easy to use, even for a novice with limited database experience. Force.com provides a solution too, but their solution requires a database administrator level of knowledge to use. ZOHO is much better.

You can share your application for $$ or for free, with or without the data, and with or without the ability for them to modify the application. Pretty slick. They also have a place for developers and clients to meet base on requirements of work that clients need done.

– windy