Two major themes on the web today are interoperability and sharing. It's one thing to create a great application or service, but "walled gardens" are looked down upon on the new "social" web.
Zoho and the Google App Engine
Google App Engine is a cloud-based application environment that competes with Amazon Web Services' EC2. By using a cloud-based application environment, a developer or business can make their web service or application available on the Internet without having to set up their own server and data center.
Zoho Creator users have been able to push their applications into the Zoho environment, but the Google Apps Engine integration opens up new possibilities.
By integrating with Google App Engine, Zoho Creator has essentially become an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Google-hosted applications - an integration service that hadn't existed yet.
What Does Zoho Creator Do?
With Zoho Creator, users can create fully functional, database-driven web applications with little effort. By utilizing Zoho Creator's Form Builder, View Builder and Script Builder, users are able to generate the applications they need to conduct their daily business.
The process sounds similar to creating Microsoft Access-based applications.
Launching a Zoho Creator Application Into the Cloud
After an application is built, launching into Zoho is still a one-click process. However, if you want to deploy your application to Google App Engine, there are a few steps to carry out including:
- Clicking a button in Creator to convert the application into Python (the language that Google App Engine utilizes)
- Creating a new application inside Google's App Engine Site
- Utilizing a Google SDK to deploy the application into the Google Application.
Zoho's blog reports that they are working on making the deployment process for Google App Engine "a little less geeky". We are happy to hear that as the process requires too many steps at this point in time.
As an example of the types of applications that can be deployed, Zoho has featured two applications including a contacts manager and an issue manager.
The Open Web Comes to Application Development
Zoho Creator is an excellent way for casual application developers to check out what the Google App Engine is all about. Many developers have been anxious to try out the Google App Engine, but without a knowledge of Python (2007's web language of the year), the only language Google App Engine supports, they have been unable to explore the possibilities of what the service has to offer.
Zoho says the Zoho Creator has more than 130,000 applications thus far, and now that they've integrated with Google App Engine, we think they'll see their usage pick up briskly.
Please give the service a try and report back with your results and thoughts. We look forward to the comments!