ZCubes

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ZCubes
Developer(s) ZCubes, Inc.
Stable release Public beta / Sept 30th, 2007
Type Online office suite
Website ZCubes

ZCubes is free web-based software that is intended for the creation of documents including web pages, web sites, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, albums, and portals.

Contents

Overview

ZCubes platform is a multi-functional platform that provides large sets of functions that are typically delivered using segmented applications through a single interface. With the advent of web browsers with native graphics, multimedia, and layout capabilities, several productivity platforms[1] (e.g., Google Docs, ZOHO, EditGrid) have started moving to the net. The unique aspect of the software can be seen as provision of functionality using the client browser itself using Javascript, rather than interacting heavily (through AJAX) with the server to achieve different functions.

History

ZCubes was created by Joseph Pally.[2] ZCubes has been available on the web since Oct 2006 with a public alpha release in December 2006. Cubee was released at a Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco in April 2007. The first full release was made in May 2007 at the CUNY Web 3.0 keynote, [3] with the Calci calculation engine pre-announced in September 2007.

In July 2007 ZCubes was listed as one of the top hundred "Always On" private companies in the United States in a poll, [4] A second full release was made in December 2007 and ZCubes was named in the top 5 web applications.[5].

Modes

File:Vectorparrot.JPG
A Sample Vector Drawing made using ZCubes

The platform integrates text, video, handwriting, and vector drawing [6]. Different modes can be used to switch to different functions in a seamless manner. Users also use the drag-drop manipulation and recursive containment of pictures inside vector drawings to create variety of documents. The platform can be classified as a multi-functional platform. Due to the seamless vector graphics functionality, ZCubes can be used as an online drawing and paint tool, and also as an interactive whiteboard/blackboard with integrated browsing capability.

ZCubes can also be considered to be a web-based development platform that integrates large sets of functions. The platform can also be a container for widgets, RSS feeds and other websites - an ability that make it behave as an online operating system like G.ho.st[7]. The application has two operating modes, in the interactive browsing-editing mode the application provides full-features to the users. The output of the editing process (termed as an experience) behaves as a stand-alone page, which can then be send to the servers for editing.

Browser Support

When launched it initially only ran on Internet Explorer,[8] while the basic version now supports Firefox. ZCubes stores its output in HTML/VML format.

Vector editing is available only in Internet Explorer. SVG is used to display the simpler drawings and handwriting in Mozilla/Firefox. Other browsers like Safari are not supported, though documents can be viewed in most browsers.

Features

ZCubes uses a browser-in-browser concept to provide "immersive" browsing[9]. The platform is DHTML based, and allows direct editing of HTML. Also, hyperlinks inside the pages open in an internal browser, effectively containing the browsing experience without having to leave the page while navigating the link. This allows the user to construct web documents while browsing the web.

The editor supports creation of documents, presentations and drawings online and spreadsheets. However, the difference can be noted to be the mixing of slides, drawings, document pieces, pictures, music and videos (each as separate ZCubes), all in one page (which is named "ZSpace"). This is counter to conventional documents that can be classified as either a word-processing document or a presentation of slides - but not both. The platform supports free-positioning of elements, and multiple layers that can each contain several cubes. Editing of a cube can be done like word-processing or as HTML. The online editor has a paint panel to create vector drawing and it can also be used to mimic handwriting.

ZCubes enables users to drag-drop web-content, colors, special effects, animations, and files into and from its browser-based interface to create customized layouts. Direct drag-drop upload from local drives is available using an activex control. Documents prepared by ZCubes can be saved locally, published as a webpage, saved as a wiki, emailed and sent as a "Cubee" (a ZCube that is sent to an email address).

There is an online calculation engine called Calci provided within the software. It supports most of the mathematical, statistical and financial functions provided by spreadsheet applications and can support almost a thousand calculations.[4]

The E-Cards feature in ZCubes lets users to use their uploaded media such as videos, images, zpaint drawings in their greeting cards, and do cursive writing.

Technology

Recent versions of ZCubes (2007) are known to be enabled for Semantic Web, with all resources described with RDF, FOAF, and other formats. The Office Suite functionalities contained within the platform tends closer toward later generations of Office Suite in the evolutionary path [10].

Documents created using the software are in HTML with embedded Javascript, and not proprietary. However, conversion of popular document formats is not directly supported, unlike other Web based office tools like Google Docs. Page based editing like conventional word-processors is also not available.

See also

Notes

  1. Newsdesk 2.0
  2. "One-stop cyber shop for creativity". The Hindu. 2007-02-22. http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/22/stories/2007012217431100.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  3. Media-Day Web 3.0 Keynote with Adobe, Microsoft, Google
  4. 4.0 4.1 "ZCubes will soon have innovative web-driven spreadsheet". The Hindu. 2007-12-30. http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/30/stories/2007123054481100.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  5. Top 5 Web Applications
  6. Do It All, Richard MacManus
  7. Online Operating Systems - Webware Report
  8. "ZCubes, il factotum del Web *.0". Mytech. 2006-12-19. http://mytech.it/web/2006/12/19/zcubes-il-factotum-del-web-0/. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  9. Browser in a Browser (BIB), Profy
  10. Generations of Office Suites

References

External links

Personal tools

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