Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Zoho Creator Vs Force.com: Round one

Zoho creator is an online database system which allows users to create application by dragging and dropping things into place. It also supports importing databases like Ms. Access, Excel etc. It also supports variety of export types as XLS, CSV, TSV, HTML, PDF, JSON, RSS. All this is Googled, yes it is, but I am really looking for here is can Zoho be used to replace Force.com application? Why?

A person is always lookout for a cheaper alternative for a custom solution, a penny saved is a penny earned. The two systems were tested for the Model- View- Controller pattern and score accordingly.

Model
The things tested in the two system with respect to data model where,

  1. Does it support real-world relationships?
  2. Can we set up validation rules

Like Force.com Zoho Creator can create fields and forms using drag and drop functionality. One of the good thing about this is we can add validation rules using drag and drop. Lookup functionality also exists for relationship between two objects. We can quickly add a many-to-many bidirectional relationship. Creation of Database is really sophisticated and powerful in Zoho creator.

Zoho Scores full 10/10 in Model
Force.com is still 8/10

Controller
The things tested where

  1. 1. How easy it is to write a code
  2. 2. How is If- Else block implemented.
Zoho supports more like scripting code and not object oriented. It took a while to figure out the code that was to be implemented. Zoho creators offers template like IF ELSE block, but for a native user it is very difficult to use the scripting language.

In Force.com we have multiple options like the very basic formulas of validation rules and the powerful object oriented Apex triggers. While Zoho does provide database level triggers, the script statement makes it very hard to understand.

Zoho Scores 6/10
Force.com: 8/10

View
View is the most important part of any enterprise level system. Right from corporate branding to creating colorful visual and attractive pages this is one place where Zoho has a lot of room for improvement.

Zoho Creator does not allow the user to change the interface vastly, in fact Zoho Creator is probably the worst application for changing the interface so it meets a certain persons/company’s needs. It offers very less option to customize its interface, like with Visualforce and Sites we can completely change the interface but with Zoho Creator this seriously lacks.

Zoho Scores: 3/10
Force.com: 8/10

Conclusion:
Zoho creator has its own strength as far as creating small, excel based application. I created and deployed a survey tool for a group of friends. Zoho Creator is not comparable to the level of customization Force.com provides in terms of visual changes and controller. It is good to create small Excel and Access based applications that can be used internally. Not good to create an enterprise level software yet. 

But team Zoho has not disappointed me, so far, and I hope they will come up with a challenging tool soon.

Disclaimer: This post is done by an individual developer and is for your information only, before taking an executive decision please review the system thoroughly before jumping to conclusion.