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1 Week 1 - COAP 3180

1.1 Topics Covered

(1) Introduction

(2) Web 2.0 vs. "traditional Internet"

  • An ever increasing amount of applications are available through the Internet. Many of these applications can be shared, others are by definition "social software" (e.g. wikis, YouTube, flickr, blogs).
  • Reading (for students not familiar with the "web 2.0" concept): O'Reilly Tim (2005), What is Web 2.0, better take the print version.
  • Additional resources for those who want to explore this topic further: This wiki, e.g. start from the rich internet application article.

(3) Simple on-line database services

  • Learn how to create and use simple tabular databases with a web 2.0 service (
  • Practical details are explored in class and through homework one.

1.2 Classroom activities and homework


(1) Take an account with Zoho (see also below)

(2) Take an account with Netvibes (see also below)

  • Create a new page (tab)
  • Import the result view from Zoho
  • Export this page to the public

(3) Turn in this homework in the WorldClassroom:

  • Provide the NetVibes URL
  • Define the objective of this application in 2-3 sentences (including the target audience)

1.3 Homework 1

  1. Think about a little database (i.e. a simple list of items that have features/properties) and that you would like to put on the web. Then make a list of properties that describe such a "item".
    • Examples: A list of CDs, a list things you want to sell, your favorite list of flowers
  2. Implement a Zoho creator database form that allows to describe each item with a few properties (fields). Make sure to select the right data type for a given kind of item.
  3. Add some test data to this database. Revise the database definition if needed.
  4. Enter some more data (at least 5 items)
  5. Make the Zoho "view" that displays the results public (gathered data becomes public on the web). You also can change the way data are displayed.
  6. If you wish, you also can make the data gathering public
  7. Create a public NetVibes page and import your Zoho creator widget (advanced course participants may use another environment that allows insertion of web widgets, talk to the instructor ....)
  8. Add an explanation using some appropriate NetVibes "text" widget, i.e. describe to the reader what your pagecast (in particular the Zoho form) is good for.
  9. In order to achieve better user experience, you also should add some useful extra information/widgets to the Netvibes page (or equivalent), i.e. the page cast should include the Zoho database plus the "what's this" (previous point) plus some useful extra information.
  10. Submit your work as assignment in the Worldclassroom. Important: Urgently consult the librarian if you can't log into this Webster on-line environment. In the submission field:
    • Provide the URL
    • Define the objective of this application in 2-3 sentences (including the target audience)


  • If you prefer to remain anonymous, do not leave Name, Firstname, professional email etc. or anything that can identify you on the public page.
  • Tips that help you getting this homework done are below ...

1.3.1 Submission Dates

  • This homework is due at start of Wednesday week 2 lesson
  • Students must provide the URL (where the instructor can see the widget) in the world classroom
  • Each homework counts 10% in your global evaluation. The four best homeworks will be taken into account.

1.3.2 Evaluation

  • Quality of Zoho database: Items should be described in a useful way with respect to your objectives and the target audience. You should use appropriate data types (but don't make it too big !)
  • Quality of the Netvibes pagecast (is it usable and understandable ?)
  • Worldclassroom upload (short definition of the objectives and correct URL)


  • Quality is essentially related to the idea that your applications are useful to a given range of users.
  • Make sure that all required elements are present

1.4 Tips for the homework

Below is a rough outline of the procdure you should follow.

(1) Leave all the needed applications open in your browser

Make sure that you are logged to both applications.

  • Netvibes with your login
  • Zoho: Switch to Zoho Creator

Tip: It is best to work with 3 different web browser tabs: One for Netvibes, one for Zoho, and one for this page. If necessary, ask the instructor to explain tabbed browsing...

(2) Read the Help, in particular the Quick Start Guide for Zoho

Important starting points:

  • - The most important thing to understand about Creator is that you will have two interfaces: One for defining the database table structure (form authoring) and another for gathering data and looking at the results (the view).
  • - The most important thing to understand about NetVibes is that you must find a Netvibes widget called HTML/UWA, insert it in a pagecast and then enter the Zoho widget code through the Edit button.

(3) Make a Zoho widget public

To export a widget from Zoho:

  • Click on Edit this application / Share
  • Tick This application is: X public

(4) Exporting Zoho widget code To get the Zoho widget code for embedding in some other place

  • Click on Access this application
  • Select a view from the menu to the left
  • Then use the pull-down menu More Actions->Embed in your Website
  • Copy/Paste the code to another web application. E.g. the HTML Netvibes widget as explained below.

(5) Configuring Netvibes and widget import

Firstly (if this isn't already the case) create a new page in Netvibes

  • Then make this Netvibes page public:
    • Click on the Edit button (in the Tab of the page)
    • Then click on "Share this Tab" / Publish on your page.
    • Make sure to write down the URL (You will have to submit it as homework)

To import a Zoho Creator application (database) into Netvibes:

  • Create a HTML/UWA Widget (you can find it under "HTML" in the list of essential widgets)
  • Edit the widget
    • Copy/Paste the widget code from Zoho

See also the Creating websites with online services article in this wiki. It provides an overview of some easy and free online services.

1.5 Links and teaching materials

Online software (Zoho creator online database) (Help entry point) (NetVibes webtop) (Help entry point)
Teaching materials
Creating websites with online services
Using web widgets
Slides for the overview talk (PDF)