Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Zoho DB Launched - Beats Google, Microsoft to Online Database

Web Office suite vendor Zoho is continuing its rapid pace of new product releases, with an online database and reports app called Zoho DB. Zoho is making a habit of one-upping their competition, because as of now none of Google, Microsoft Office Live, or ThinkFree offer a comparable online database product. The closest competitor to Zoho DB is the startup DabbleDB, which is an impressive "part spreadsheet, part database, part collaboration app" that I reviewed when it launched in June 2006 (see also my May '06 post).

Some of the main features in Zoho DB are:

  • Converts spreadsheets into online databases (with CSV and TSV imports)
  • Create reports, charts and pivot tables with drag-n-drop functionality
  • Pivot Table Support
  • Allows you to run SQL (select) Queries on the data. You can run any select query in any SQL format (they support Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Informix and ANSI SQL dialects).

Zoho DB

The screencast below, created by Demo Girl, shows how slick this new online database is. The drag-n-drop functionality showcases the power of Ajax and is something that a desktop DB app can't do (to my knowledge, but note I am not a big user of db products!). Zoho's Raju Vegesna also told me that Zoho DB has the ability to support any SQL Queries (in any database language), which he says no one else in the industry has. Raju further said that "eventually, we will let users import any DB Schemas into Zoho DB and export to any DB schemas."


Integration of Apps

We've noted before that Zoho has more individual office apps than its competitors (Google Apps, ThinkFree and others). While that doesn't necessarily mean it's better than the competition, it does mean there are more opportunities for integrating products.

With Zoho DB, we can already see simularities with Zoho Sheet, Zoho's spreadsheet product. The company eventually plans to integrate DB with Sheet and Creator (its word processing service). This means that their products will share features and users will be able to easily swap between the products. We can speculate from this that key functions of one product will be available in the other - e.g. imagine the power of pivot tables in Sheet. This is another general advantage of Web Office products - features can be melded together and so over time we will see more 'mashed up' functionality become available. DabbleDB was certainly an early innovator in this regard.

Here is the screencast of ZohoDB. Let us know what you think - will Google respond with their own online db product soon? And if you are a user of DabbleDB, how does Zoho's product compare?

Disclosure: Zoho is a R/WW sponsor

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