When I go away on holidays I do a hell of a lot of research before I go. Trolling the net I find multiple quotes for flights, accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. Usually it will come down to three or more choices, for example, in planning for a trip to Hong Kong that I’m taking soon, I had narrowed it to three hotels in Tsim Sha Tsui. The choices I had for organizing the information were:
The text file didn’t appeal because tab delimited fields just isn’t easy on the eye. Yahoo Travel and My Travel Guide are great for finding places and adding them as favourites but the websites are bloated with ads and the websites look horrible in hardcopy (i.e. printed out). Excel seemed like an ok solution, but in the event that there were more than one or two people taking the trip it wasn’t something everyone could update. Thus I decided to write my own application. The only problem is that I can’t program. But never fear, Web 2.0 is here.
Zoho Creator is a website that allows you to create input forms simply using your web browser and lists the inputted data in either a summary or list format. If you had an excel spreadsheet already, you could even use that as the basis for your own web application. I haven’t investigated much in regards to customising the look and feel as the input idea works neatly for me as is. What I like the most though is that there is an export to pdf, xls, rss and more option. When I’m just about to leave, I can add a date field and plan my itinerary for the places I have to go, sort by date, print it out on pdf and I’m away! I can even save a backup on my laptop. The rss feature is great too because if a group is going then everyone will be updated whenever someone adds some data.
Zoho creator even lets you embed some of the views in another website. For instance, here is some of the data I’ve already entered for my Hong Kong trip (I removed the notes, url and cost fields for this example):
Think of Zoho Creator as like a Microsoft Access Database but in a web browser. I’m not saying this would work for everyone, but for my travel needs thus far it suits the bill perfectly. The only thing I’d like to add is the ability to link the addresses to google maps and it would be sweet!