Zoho announced a major update to its low-code application building platform, Zoho Creator. The latest version, dubbed Creator 5, has significantly enhanced and refined the core functionality of the platform, including its Mobile App Creator, Page Creator, Form Creator, Report Creator and Workflow Creator modules.
This launch also introduces the ability to design and develop native custom mobile apps alongside web applications. To simplify deployment for larger organizations, apps built on Zoho Creator can now also be managed through the Zoho One Admin Panel, a unified interface that governs the company’s full flagship suite of applications.
“Over the last 12 years, the Zoho Creator platform has enabled citizen developers to design and deploy over two million custom applications. Having refined our low-code, no-code approach to app development, Zoho Creator has become the app builder for those of us with no formal programming and deployment experience. With this update, we are raising the bar yet again by enabling mobile app creation for both smartphones and tablets, no programming skills required. On top of this, all two million existing Zoho Creator applications are now automatically mobile enabled,” said Hyther Nizam, VP of Business Process Products, Zoho Corp. “Think about that for a second. Web applications built on Zoho Creator 12 years ago—before mobile operating systems like iOS or Android even existed—are automatically mobile-enabled and ready for deployment on smartphones and tablets with no effort on the user's end.”
Highlights of Zoho Creator 5:
Mobile App Creator: This new addition allows users to effortlessly create powerful mobile applications for both iOS and Android, optimized for both smartphones and tablets. Existing applications built on Zoho Creator are automatically mobile-enabled. Users can re-brand these mobile apps, enable location-based data input, customize layouts, actions and gestures, and use their device camera and microphone to enter data. Users can then publish these custom apps on App Store and Google Play Store, or deploy them within their organizations through Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms.
Page Creator: This new module allows users to quickly create custom, interactive pages and dashboards simply by dragging and dropping pre-built design elements like buttons, charts, panels, and widgets into the page builder interface. With this, users can easily collate data from various sources on a single page. Even with Creator's new drag-and-drop functionality, users with more extensive programming experience can still create pages using HTML and CSS. Pages can also be completely customized for mobile devices.
Form Creator: The new Form Creator offers a multitude of input options by supporting advanced fields such as the geo-coded address field (which marks the location on a map), pre-built full name field (containing both first and last names), audio field, and video field. Users can also customize their web, smartphone, and tablet apps with mobile-optimized form layouts and themes. In addition, Form Creator now includes over 100 customizable templates specific to various business verticals.
Report Creator: With new reporting options like Kanban view, Timeline view and Maps view, users can display their data in multiple ways. These reports can pull related information from other Creator apps, providing users with context for better data processing. All reports are customizable for smaller screens, and custom actions can be triggered with common mobile gestures—such as swiping and long-pressing—making mobile apps feel truly native.
Workflow Creator: The new Workflow Creator brings a drag-and-drop interface to automation. This eliminates the need to write code when automating simple tasks like approvals, schedules, or instant email, SMS, and push notifications. For advanced workflows like data integration and custom actions to update information, users can take advantage of Deluge, Zoho’s in-house programming language.
Apart from offering enhanced core features, Creator 5 strengthens the entire platform with the following updates:
App Deck: The new App Deck includes over 50 pre-built, ready-to-use web and mobile apps that can be customized by businesses to suit their needs. App Deck has a wide variety of applications that cover everything from standard business processes, such as like sales, orders, and expenses, to industry-specific implementations, such as logistics, real estate, education and nonprofits.
Unified Virtual Database: Historically, data stored within applications has been siloed. To get around this, businesses have had to spend time and money building integrations if they want to share data across applications. With Creator 5, all custom apps built on the platform are treated as a single virtual database, enabling seamless integration, data lookup, and reporting across applications. This capability is also extended to other Zoho applications such as Zoho CRM, and third-party cloud applications like QuickBooks.
Zoho One Integration: Applications built on Zoho Creator can now be deployed to users, groups and departments through the Zoho One Admin Panel, just as users would deploy any other Zoho product. Custom Zoho Creator applications respect access permissions defined in Zoho One, making their deployment within the organization easy and smooth.
"Zoho Creator is not only making major inroads into no-code development, it is also improving the productivity of app development. Non-technical users can develop their app using the drag-and-drop interface, whereas experienced developers can work directly in the Interactive Development Environment," continued Nizam. "Such a platform provides a huge advantage to the numerous app development companies in India as they can develop apps 10 times faster on Creator 5 than on traditional frameworks."
Pricing and Availability
Zoho Creator 5 is available immediately for all new users. Existing users will be migrated to the new version in phases over the next few months. Zoho One customers will be able to deploy their Creator apps through the Zoho One Admin Panel.
After the 15-day free trial, Zoho Creator's pricing starts from Rs.400 per user per month when billed annually. For more details on pricing, visit: zoho.com/creator/pricing.html
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