Friday, September 28, 2007

[Gd] Mashing Maps with Oracle XML DB and Java

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Mashing Maps with Oracle XML DB and Java

For all you Oracle database and Java developers out there, here's a fun mashup that combines an Oracle database (with its XML DB feature that can generate XML dynamically), a Java Servlet to extract the XML data, and the Google Maps API to provide a compelling, Map based user interface to the data.

This example allows users to query a database of fictitious worldwide hotels from a Google Maps application. A simple form passes query parameters with hotel attributes to a Java Servlet which in turns executes the database query and generates geocoded hotel data in XML using Oracle's XML DB feature.

The Web client uses GDownloadUrl to retrieve the XML data. An associated callback function then displays it on the map using markers and infoWindows.

A full writeup of this fun Mashup, including downloadable source code, is available at Oracle's Technology Network website.


[Gd] Weekly Google Code Roundup: New Gears libraries, fixing mashups, GWT marries the iPhone, and more

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Google Code - Updates: Weekly Google Code Roundup: New Gears libraries, fixing mashups, GWT marries the iPhone, and more

It was perfect timing for Doug Crockford, the legendary Ajax curmudgeon, to come to Google to discuss Gears and the mashup problem. The same week that he chatted about the issues that we face, we saw some innovation and fun mashups abound (for example, this Campaign Trails mashup created with the Google Mashup Editor).

Just a few days after we released the ability to do authenticated, cross domain mashups with Google Calendar the JupiterIT folk created Traffik, a mashup that combines your Google Calendar with a Google Map, allowing you to login to view private events and create news ones. It is great to see early experiments with the API such as the Digg Oracle's use of WorkerPool that we went into more detail on.

Vortex is another library that sits on top of Google Gears to add functionality through a nice layer of abstraction. The library will detect if you are online or offline, and have a system to handle one use case for sync issues. Brian Dunnington liked what he saw with the Dojo Offline Toolkit, and took a lot of the ideas from there, giving us a version that isn't coupled to a particular Ajax library. Libraries like this are exactly what we want to see. Gears is aiming to give the community rock solid, low level components, and we expect to see interesting abstractions on top. XMLHttpRequest is to Prototype/Dojo/GWT as Gears it to [insert your cool new offline framework here].

After the GWT 1.4 launch / coming out of beta was announced, Bob Vawter of the GWT team was able to let his hair down and he created a GWT application for the iPhone to see what the experience was like. His take-away was:

The Google Web Toolkit can be used to create applications that, in the same code base, work well on an iPhone and a traditional desktop browser.

You can read more about the development of the GWT Feed Reader.

In other GWT news we interviewed folks from Queplix, an open source CRM company, about their experience building their products which use a lot of GWT, various Google APIs, and even the Google Mini!

Sticking to JavaScript for just a touch more, the Google Maps API team have added a new Local Search Control which makes it simple to search the map that you are on. You can add this control to your Maps mashup with a line of JavaScript.

In other API news, Jeff Scudder announced a new release of the GData Python client library which gives you access to various new releases and a refactored codebase.

What else?

As always, check out the latest tech talks, subscribe to the Google Developer Podcast and visit the Google Code YouTube channel.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

[Gd] Campaign Trails

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Google Code - Featured Projects: Campaign Trails

Google APIs used:
This mashup lets you follow the candidates and what they have to say.


[Gd] Queplix discusses their GWT open source application

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Google Code - Updates: Queplix discusses their GWT open source application

I was recently in New York City and had the chance to meet Steven Yaskin and Paul Tenberg of Queplix, a company that is trying to change the face of CRM using an open source business model. Steven and Paul are both old timers in the CRM industry, and it was very interesting to discuss their vision.

The interview focuses on QueWeb, the open source customer care application that they released. The application is built using GWT and uses a slew of Google APIs and products (such as the Google Mini). We discuss how open source affects their business, how their architected this CRM framework and details on some of the magic that allows you to slurp up legacy applications and hand you back an open source version built with GWT widgets. This enables you to tweak the functionality without being in the proprietary black box. As part of this effort, they created a slew of GWT widgets for reuse. All of this is hosting in their Google Code project.

Watch the full interview below, which ends with a short demo of QueWeb.

Thanks again to Steven and Paul for taking the time to meet.


Monday, September 24, 2007

[Gd] Mashing around Australia? Add a Local Search Control!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Mashing around Australia? Add a Local Search Control!

I just came back from a two-week trip to Australia, where I spent my daytime hanging out with all the awesome Maps API Engineers at the Google Sydney office and my nighttime sampling the local restaurants and stores. Now, since I think about the Maps API 24/7, I found myself wondering "Can I use the Local Search Control to find even more places around Australia?" The answer, thanks to our friends at TrueLocal, is yes.

Want proof? Check out the map below, which is centered on Port Douglas, a town in Northeastern Australia where I spent a weekend eating and snorkeling.

This map also shows off a cool way that Maps API Developer John Coryat came up with to alert the user to the presence and purpose of the control: an info window above the control with suggested queries that trigger a local search when clicked. The other features that the control in this map uses are:

  • Initial info-window suppression
  • Using an external div for the results
  • Setting the target of info window links to a new window
  • Setting initial focus to the search control
You can play with all of the options in the Local Search Control options playground or read more in the class reference.

Link to Australia example with Local Search


[Gd] Google Developer Podcast Episode Nine: The status of accessibility on the Web

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Google Code - Updates: Google Developer Podcast Episode Nine: The status of accessibility on the Web

T.V. Raman is a Research Scientist at Google who knows a thing or two about accessibility. We took the opportunity to interview him, and Hubbell, his seeing-eye dog (who was nice and quiet).

We started out by asking the honest question that developers ask about accessibility: "What is in it for me?". T.V. discusses the practical issues, and what you should be doing with respect to accessibility, and how it is one piece of the usability picture.

We then delve into the problems of developing accessible websites, and solutions to some of the problems.

If you listen to the interview you will learn:
  • How not to develop in a user-agent specific manner
  • Fun issues with screen readers
  • How audio CAPTCHA brings equality to the pain of CAPTCHA, and how people who can see use the audio ones
  • How painful is the Web to view for a blind person
  • Using the Google Web Transcoder (the other GWT!) to clean up pages
  • How CSS hasn't been as leveraged as much as we would like
  • How the increase in mobile and widget platforms has a side effect of accessible views
  • How RIA applications deal with accessibility
  • How T.V. has written custom clients for Google APIs
  • What standards groups are doing in the accessibility space
  • Dealing with Python, a language that cares about whitespace, as a blind man.
You can download the episode directly, or subscribe to the show (click here for iTunes one-click subscribe).

Also, check out an accessible web search for the visually impaired.