Friday, February 15, 2008

[Gd] IETF Applications Area Architecture Workshop

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Google Code Blog: IETF Applications Area Architecture Workshop

On February 11 and 12 Google hosted the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Application Area Architecture Workshop. This was a chance for people active in the IETF Applications Area to get together and work on architectural issues, topics that span many specific groups in the Applications area.

The Applications Area is the part of the IETF that deals with applications
"...that is, things that are not security (part of the security area), nor networks (most of the other areas), but rather things that use the networks and security services to provide things of benefit to the end-user."
This was of particular interest to me since that includes specifications like the Atom Syndication Format and the Atom Publishing Protocol, which we use extensively at Google. From the call for participation:
"These should be a few pages of text on some topic related to Applications area architectural issues. Since the group of attendees is expected to span HTTP and AtomPub, email, IM, calendaring, directories and more, issues should be of interest to more than one of these groups. Some existing Applications architecture "modules" that already are reused include SASL, URLs, MIME types, XML and XML schemas and namespaces, HTTP as a substrate, TLS, ABNF, BEEP."
We had around 20 attendees and the breakout sessions ranged over all the topics listed above and many more. There were two days of great conversation and everyone had a good time.
"Thank you for the high quality hosting and convenience of location and food!"

-Lisa Dusseault (Apps Area Director)


Thursday, February 14, 2008

[Gd] Send a geo-located Valentine's Day card or just break some hearts!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Send a geo-located Valentine's Day card or just break some hearts!

It's Valentine's Day. For millions of people, that means a day filled with outpourings of love, diamonds, and chocolate. For another gazillion people, it means cursing Hallmark and wondering why people can't keep their professions of love to their damn selves. Here at the Maps API blog, we are equally embracing of all attitudes towards life, so today we present map mashups that appeal to both the bitter and happy ends of the spectrum.

Happy? Send a geo-located greeting to a loved one. Just geocode an address, drag the marker around, write a message, and mail them the permalink. Remind them about where you first met, where you spent your honeymoon, or even your favorite dimly lit restaurant. The greeting defaults to a cute heart-shaped island which we found from a user-created content search on Google Maps, and the map uses ExtInfoWindow and the adorably compact GMenuMapTypeControl.

Bitter? Break some hearts! See if you can break the score shown in the screenshot below..and yeah, pretty much everyone can. I'm commonly known to be the least coordinated homo sapien known to man. (I consider it a feature, not a bug :)


[Gd] The Code Review: OpenSocial maturing, Rhino on Rails, and more

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Google Code Blog: The Code Review: OpenSocial maturing, Rhino on Rails, and more

February already? Spring is here, and you can tell in Mountain View as the rain has stopped. Spring brings out your social side, and we have seen a lot of growth with OpenSocial and other social APIs.

There was plenty of talk across the Web about the new Social Graph API that Brad Fitzpatrick announced. The API uses the Google crawler to gather up the XFN, FOAF, and other public social data that is spread out already on the Web. You can ask for a social graph that puts this together and gives you back a nice set of JSON.

OpenSocial is moving forward also. OpenSocial 0.7 is now available in the Orkut sandbox, MySpace announced their new platform, and a great group of people got together at Six Apart for a Hackathon.

On another note, I had the pleasure to sit down with Steve Yegge at the Google Kirkland office to discuss his Rhino on Rails project. He gave frank feedback on the history, present, and future of the project and I look forward to hearing, and sharing, more.

There was more Web development news too. Two companies came out talking about GWT. First, YesMail talked about the work behind their 17 GWT modules and 33,000 lines of GWT code. They discuss the design, scalability, and testing practices that they employ.

Compiere, creator of an opensource ERP, talked to us about their recent GWT port from a Swing application.

Developers from Autodesk Labs also came to talk to us about their work implementing offline support to their Project Draw project using Gears.

Fun times at Google

Christian Schalk has spearheaded the new Google Technology User Groups, and there are events going on hopefully near you.

One such Mountain View event is a hackathon for JavaScript developers. Come to the Googleplex and enjoy code, beer, and prizes!

And, to finish up, check out the new iGoogle Themes API.

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


Monday, February 11, 2008

[Gd] Go Go Gadgets in Asia

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Google Code Blog: Go Go Gadgets in Asia

It's cold and cloudy in Hong Kong and Taiwan this week, as our trusty weather gadgets indicate. At the Googleplex, where a quintessentially Californian winter is holding up, we had the distinct honor of hosting our Taiwan and Hong Kong gadget developer contest winners -- Hu Chih-Pao flew in from Taipei to tour our campus in December (see photos from his visit on his blog), while Alex Ng and Liu Chun-Yu visited us from Hong Kong two weeks ago.

Of the 190 submissions for the gadget contest in Taiwan, Chih-Pao produced a whopping 43 entries, including a real-time Taiwan Train Timetable gadget and a gadget for the Taiwanese traditional worship of the Buddha of Mercy:

Alex and Chun-Yu's innovative use of gadget technology caught our eye, with their real-time local Hong Kong TV program guide with keyword-activated YouTube views, as well as their Feng Shui gadget:

Japan's gadget awards last year also showcased great gadgets from a pool of 178 submissions, including:

The Earthquake information gadget:

The QR code generator gadget from our Grand Prix winner, kilo:


Friday, February 8, 2008

[Gd] Come on over, the Open Source Programs Office has its own blog

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Google Code Blog: Come on over, the Open Source Programs Office has its own blog

When we first launched (webarchive), it was largely a site for documenting our open source activities and had some details about Google's supported APIs and file formats. In the ensuing 3 years, code has grown to encompass protocol documentation, project hosting and even a mobile operating system. Similarly, the activities of the Open Source Team have grown from simple license compliance to the aforementioned hosting, releasing massive amounts of code and introducing student programs like the Summer of Code and its high school cousin, the Highly Open Participation Contest. Since we've grown so much, we felt it was well past time to spin off a blog that specifically covers the open source activities of the company. So that's just what we've done. Come check it out, and if you like, subscribe!


[Gd] Screencast: Using Debugging Tools with the Maps API

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Screencast: Using Debugging Tools with the Maps API

When I was a little kid, I took ice skating lessons (amongst other sports lessons which ultimately led me to conclude that I'm possibly the least athletic tomboy ever). I distinctly remember what we learned on the first day of lessons: not how to do cross-overs or pineapples, but how to fall. The instructor was wise enough to know that we'd be able to grow our skills much more if we knew how to fall and recover with minimal pain and effort. And now, I apply that same philosophy to programming: I'd rather learn how to debug in a particular language or environment before I learn any advanced skills. As many of you know, bugs can often be tiny little typos but they can take *hours* to find without a good debugger.

Most people are experienced with the debugging tools for compiled languages like C++ or Java, as they generally come bundled with the compiler. But I've found that quite a few people don't realize that there are debugging tools available for Javascript (besides alert, which you should now repress all memory of ever using). So I'm sharing my favorite debugging techniques in the form of a series of screencasts - there are a couple about Firefox extensions like Firebug and the Web Developer Toolbar, a couple about native browser tools like the IE Script Debugger and Firefox Error Console, plus one about the Maps API built-in debug console called GLog.

Check out the screencasts and please share any questions or suggestions (e.g. your own favorite debug tool) in the forum. And hopefully, we'll all get better at Javascript development than I ever (never) got at ice skating. :)


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

[Gd] gwt-dnd

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Featured Projects on Google Code: gwt-dnd

Author: Fred Sauer
Google APIs used:
An extension library for Google Web Toolkit which adds drag-and-drop support to new or existing applications.


[Gd] Google Technology User Groups

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Google Code Blog: Google Technology User Groups

We recently started the Google Technology User Groups program to help people get together and discuss Google developer products at a technical level. One of the first groups formed is the Silicon Valley Google Technology User Group by Java user group veterans Mike "Van" Riper and Kevin Nilson. The first SV-GTUG meetup took place on Google's main campus in January to discuss the Google Web Toolkit with Googler Bob Vawter. The SV-GTUG will be hosting its next meeting on February 6th, where Dick Wall from Google will be presenting on Android.

Silicon Valley is not the only home to new user groups: The Pune GTUG in India, started by Rohit Ghatol, seeks to bring together some of India's vast developer audience to think creatively about using developer APIs to explore what is possible beyond typical Google products.

We'll post again soon about how you can create your own Google Technology User Group, and for more events in your area check out the Developer Events Calendar on Google Code.


Monday, February 4, 2008

[Gd] Calling all local developers: Join us at the Googleplex for workshops, hackathons, and more!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Calling all local developers: Join us at the Googleplex for workshops, hackathons, and more!

In the next two months, we'll be holding several events at the Googleplex that we want local Geo/Javascript developers to attend. First, we have our 'Google Geo Developer Series,' kickstarting on Wednesday, Feb. 20th with a hands-on workshop on 'Quick & Dirty KML Creation' led by Mano and me. The series will continue on each Wednesday through early April, and will feature a few speakers from the community as well (like John Coryat's Feb. 27th talk on 'Creating Custom Maps'). For those not in the area, each event in the series will be videotaped and available on Youtube after. Visit this website for more information and registration is available on this website.

Then, on February 29th, we'll be hosting a 'Google Developer Hackathon' focusing on our Javascript API offerings: Google Gears, Google AJAX Search/Feeds, Google Gadgets, and of course, the Google Maps API. The hackathon will start with brief intros of the APIs, then after a brainstorming session, we'll break up into groups to code some mini-apps. It's a great opportunity for people who want an excuse to write some fun code and ask Googlers questions at the same time. Check out the calendar invite for more details and the registration link.

Finally from May 17th to 18th, Google is happy to be hosting this year's WhereCamp, the unconference for geohackers. It was hosted at Yahoo! last year and attracted more than 200 programmers, opinion leaders and geo community people. We look forward to seeing what kind of hackery this year's crowd has up their sleeves, and what they have to say about the current state of "mapping 2.0." Get more information at the WhereCamp wiki.

And yes, we're fully aware that most of you are not in the local area. We'll do our best to post everything we can online, and to look for good opportunities to hold events elsewhere. Make sure to check out our developer events map mashup to find events local to you or post ones that you know of.


Friday, February 1, 2008

[Gd] URLs are People, Too

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Google Code Blog: URLs are People, Too

So you've just built a totally sweet new social app and you can't wait for people to start using it, but there's a problem: when people join they don't have any friends on your site. They're lonely, and the experience isn't good because they can't use the app with people they know. You could ask them to search for and add all their friends, but you know that every other app is asking them to do the same thing and they're getting sick of it. Or they tried address book import, but that didn't totally work, because they don't even have all their friends' email addresses (especially if they only know them from another social networking site!). What's a developer to do?

One option is the new Social Graph API, which makes information about the public connections between people on the Web easily available and useful. You can make it easy for users to bring their existing social connections into a new website and as a result, users will spend less time rebuilding their social networks and more time giving your app the love it deserves.

Here's how it works: we crawl the Web to find publicly declared relationships between people's accounts, just like Google crawls the Web for links between pages. But instead of returning links to HTML documents, the API returns JSON data structures representing the social relationships we discovered from all the XFN and FOAF. When a user signs up for your app, you can use the API to remind them who they've said they're friends with on other sites and ask them if they want to be friends on your new site.

The video below can walk you through the API in detail, but if you're eager to get started check out the Social Graph API homepage and the developer documentation. And let us know what you think in the Social Graph API Group.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

[Gd] Article: Creating a Store Locator with PHP & MySQL

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Article: Creating a Store Locator with PHP & MySQL

I know, I know. Another PHP/MySQL article! I swore that my next article would be something completely different, but then my colleague emailed me some SQL for distance calculation, I plugged it into the PHP code from previous articles, and the result was just too cool and easy that I had to share it with you all.

The article goes over the usual - setting up the database (this one uses pizza restaurant data from all over the U.S.), querying the database with a SQL statement based on the Haversine formula, outputting the XML, and then hooking it up to a nice UI that performs a geocode based on a user-entered address, and then displays the n-nearest locations on a map within a user-selected radius. A screenshot of the final map is shown below:

To any chain stores out there that aren't using the Google Maps API yet (I know, perish the thought!) - the excuses are over, and the time has come to implement. And to people who don't have stores to locate - the time has come for you to become an entrepreneur and start-up your own chain of businesses. Here are some ideas of mine that would make for wicked cute map icons: a pizza buffet (all you can eat pizza, including dessert pizzas!), a boba bar (alcohol + caramelized tapioca pearls = yum!), or a "pamela's patented puffsters" diner (George Foreman grill + Bisquick pancake mix = half fluffy, half crispy, all delicious!). I expect 50% split of the profits, of course.

As always, please give feedback on this article in the forum.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

[Gd] Interview with Steve Yegge on Rhino on Rails and more

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Google Code Blog: Interview with Steve Yegge on Rhino on Rails and more

Last year, Steve Yegge posted about Rhino on Rails, his port of Ruby on Rails to the JavaScript language on the Rhino runtime. It garnered a slew of interest, and I have been wanting to talk to him in more detail about the project.

Fortunately, I happened to be at the Google Kirkland office and Steve graciously had time to spend talking about the framework. Steve is an entertaining chap, and manages to keep you interested with long blog entries, and did the same as I chatted with him.

In the conversation we cover the germination of the project, why Steve went ahead with the port, the side effects of JavaScript on the server, how Rhino will be implementing JavaScript 2 / ECMAScript 4 (with Google committing engineers to the project), the intent to open source RnR, and random thoughts from a language geek.

Give it a watch, and let us know if there are any other questions you would have liked to ask


Sunday, January 27, 2008

[Gd] Put your map on the map!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: Put your map on the map!

I'm Bill Chadwick, a Google Maps API developer from the UK. In my spare time I like to go caving. We cavers like to see how caves relate to the surface features so overlaying cave surveys on Google Maps was something I wanted to try out.  A cave map is just one kind of special map though - other kinds include footpath networks, cycling routes, public transport routes, flood risk areas, historic maps, etc.

Some of these special maps could be shown on Google Maps using KML files or GPolylines/GPolygons, but those techniques requires that you have detailed coordinates of the objects you want to plot. What do you do if all you have is a map image (perhaps scanned in from paper)?

Well, Microsoft might just have your answer in the form of their free MapCruncher for Virtual Earth. MapCruncher will read in your map (jpg, transparent png, PDF, etc.), let you register it with the real world and at the click of a button, make a tile set ready for use as a custom GMaps tile layer. This works because by happy coincidence, Microsoft Virtual Earth and the Google Maps API use the same map projection and tiling scheme. MapCruncher takes care of all the rotating and warping of your map that is required for it to correctly appear in GMaps. An example of what can easily be achieved from a scanned-in map is shown in the map below. When the Satellite+Caves map is toggled on, you can drag the button on the +/- slider to adjust the transparency of the custom cave layer.

If this sounds like something you want to try with some maps of your own, you can read my comprehensive set of instructions on using MapCruncher with Google Maps. Oh, and in case you're wondering — the reason I am muddy and smiling in my portrait is because it was taken in late 2006 when we had just found this new cave passage.

Link to example caves map


Friday, January 25, 2008

[Gd] Compiere: Building a GWT interface for opensource ERP

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Google Code Blog: Compiere: Building a GWT interface for opensource ERP

The Compiere team is trying to make ERP easier. I had a chance to catch up with Gary Wu, Di Zhao and Chris Sprague of the Compiere engineering team. We talked about their recently shipped open source ERP solution that now includes a GWT-based rich internet interface.

Using GWT was natural for the developers and allowed them to create a highly productive web experience for Compiere users in just a few months of effort. Listen to the Compiere developers discuss their experiences with GWT and see a demo of the new Compiere Web user interface.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

[Gd] Heading to

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Google Code Blog: Heading to

Several folks from Google Sydney and beyond will be attending 2008 in Melbourne, Australia next week and we're looking forward to sharing a week of FLOSS and fun with our fellow attendees. If you're heading to the conference, stop by our table at Open Day to learn more about Google's global open source initiatives. We'd also love to have any students, whether you're a local or just in town for the conference, join us on Thursday evening for our student party; several Google Summer of Code students and mentors have already let us know they'll be coming. You are, of course, welcome to join us at the Google conference wrap-up party on Friday evening. We'll be hosting a grand barbecue, with plenty of options for our vegetarian and vegan friends.

You may also be interested in these talks given by Googlers:
Anthony Baxter, Python's Release Engineer and a recent addition to Sydney's engineering team, will deliver Friday's opening Keynote, Two Snake Enter, One Snake Leave.

We hope to see you there!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

[Gd] KDE 4.0 Release Event wrap-up

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Google Code Blog: KDE 4.0 Release Event wrap-up

I had the pleasure of helping out with the KDE 4.0 Release Event this past weekend. With attendees of all ages and backgrounds from around the world, the event was a huge success. In addition to a great coming out party for KDE 4.0, it was also the venue in which Trolltech announced it would adopt GPL 3 for Qt.

Thursday was 'un-conference' style with attendees organizing impromptu BOFs and breakout sessions. However, a lot of people spent a good portion of the day discovering who else was there, as many of the KDE developers and community members were meeting each other for the first time.

Friday was the big day with around 150 people and 2 dragons in attendance. Aaron Seigo's keynote was well received by KDE release parties going on simultaneously around the world, thanks to the video streaming magic of Franz Keferböck. Many other speakers graced the podium after Aaron, including the two Release Event Contest winners, Kyle Cunningham and Aron Stansvik. The day finished with cocktails and a special vintage provided by Celeste.

Things wrapped up on Saturday with a few more BOFs. Since we had all that A/V goodness going unused, many attendees took it upon themselves to give a presentation or two. The most popular one was the Amarok 2 talk given by Jeff Mitchell and Leo Franchi (both worked on Amarok as Google Summer of Code students).

All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time. Many thanks go to my co-conspirators Tiffany and Cat from the Open Source Team, and to Wade, Franz, Sebas, Troy and Jeff of KDE for their efforts in putting the event together. I hear that a similar event is in the works for next year. Here's hoping Aaron Seigo does karaoke at that one too.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

[Gd] 2007 Wrap-up II: KML is Outta This World

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Official Google Maps API Blog: 2007 Wrap-up II: KML is Outta This World

A couple of weeks ago, Pamela Fox presented a 2007 wrap-up for the Maps API. So I thought this week, in honor of Pamela's year here, and a pretty amazing year for KML, I'd try to come up with a list of the exciting new developments in KML. It turned out to be pretty easy to do.

KML 2.2 A new version of KML came out in May of 2007, and it included the following new elements:
  • atom:author and atom:link: two new elements to help you do attribution in KML files.
  • Camera: Allows you to position the view point
  • displayMode: A child element of BalloonStyle, allowing you to hide or reveal a description balloon.
  • ExtendedData and SchemaData which allow you to put in your own structured data, type it if you want, and create powerful balloon templating.
  • maxSessionLength: Allows you to control the length of a NetworkLink session.
  • PhotoOverlay: Allows you to create really rich and deep image overlays.
  • ResourceMap: For models, this allows you to move and rename texture files without having to update the original Collada file.

Sky Mode
In the summer, we released Sky in Google Earth. Much of KML is supported in Sky. More details about using KML for Sky can be found in our article "Sky Data in KML."

New Documentation We revamped the KML documentation site, and moved it to In the process, we created a new series of articles called "Topics in KML" which covers topics like "Time and Animation," "Adding Custom Data," and "Updates." We also added four additional articles outside the core documentation: "Geocoding Addresses for Use in KML", "Using PHP and MySQL to create KML"", "Using KML in Google Mashup Editor" by guest author Valery Hronusov, and "Using Google Pages to Host Your KML."

Google Gives Away KML No, not as in we gave up on KML, but we are releasing it as an open standard. In April of 2007, the Open Geospatial Consortium(OGC) adopted KML 2.1 as a Best Practice. In June of 2007, they updated the Best Practice to KML 2.2. They then started work on finalizing KML 2.2 as an OGC specification. We've been active participants in this process, and when the work is complete the KML specification will no longer be controlled or owned by Google. Basically, as part of our commitment to open standards, Google is giving KML to the world. If you want more info on KML, check out the documentation above, or go to the KML Developer Support forum.


Friday, January 18, 2008

[Gd] Orbitz Updates

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Featured Projects on Google Code: Orbitz Updates

Author: OrbitzTLC Traveler Update Team
Google APIs used:
Maps API
Orbitz Updates shows real-time user-reported weather/traffic/parking/wait-line conditions at U.S. airports.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

[Gd] New Years Resolution: More Usable Mashups!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: New Years Resolution: More Usable Mashups!

We're always blabbering on this blog about code this, program that. Well, having a working and functional map is good and all, but what about having a map that users actually enjoy using? Translating geospatial information into a small 2-d space on a webpage isn't trivial and comes with lots of questions, such as: What do you do when some of your markers are distributed across the world, and others are clustered in one tiny area? How can users navigate logically through a space where panning left/right/up/down and zooming in/out are all options? What do you do when you have too many markers? How can you have the map UI be consistent with your site's current design?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answers to all those questions. But, when I was asked to give a talk at the Silicon Valley Web Builder User Experience Bar Camp last fall, I figured I'd put some of my observations about Maps UI/UX into a presentation and share it with that group. The slides are embedded below, or you can view them in full screen glory. The youtube video is here (and yes, I know, I need to learn to not let my elaborate hand motions interfere with the mic). This is a short presentation -- so help me add to it. If you have opinions or relevant links on this topic, please post them in the group or trackback to this post. Now that we've mastered the technical side of Google Maps mashups, let's move on to improving the usability side.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

[Gd] iGoogle Themes API

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Google Code Blog: iGoogle Themes API

Recently, on a trip to Shanghai, I snapped a bunch of incredible street photos for my friends and family back home. When I logged into my iGoogle page and was greeted by my iGoogle theme, I suddenly wished I could create my own theme out of my Shanghai pictures and share it with my friends - wouldn't that be a great way to personalize iGoogle even further? It turns out that many of you have been asking for this feature for a while too, and we've listened to your requests. I'm excited to announce that after today's launch of the iGoogle Themes API, we can all get started on making and sharing our own themes.

Creating your own theme isn't rocket science. If you can create a webpage, then you can create a theme. There are only three steps involved: designing images for the header and footer, entering metadata and color information in an XML file, and submitting the theme. To find out more about the API, start with the developer guide. You can also take a look at the terrific example themes (shown below) built by designers Yves Behar, Mark Frauenfelder, Troy Lee, and John Maeda that showcase different parts of the API. These themes, along with themes you submit, will be available in the new themes directory for the millions of iGoogle users. So try it out and let us know what you think!

Earth-light by Yves Behar, founder of the San Francisco design studio fuseproject:

Adventures in Lollipopland by Mark Frauenfelder, writer, illustrator, co-founder of Boing Boing, and editor-in-chief of Make Magazine:

Supermoto Mayhem by Troy Lee, designer and founder of Troy Lee Designs:

Simplicity is Complex by John Maeda, graphic designer, artist, Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Laboratory, and recently named as the next President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD):


[Gd] Wednesday in San Francisco: OpenSocial Hackathon at Six Apart

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Google Code Blog: Wednesday in San Francisco: OpenSocial Hackathon at Six Apart

On Wednesday (tomorrow!) Six Apart will be hosting an OpenSocial Hackathon at their office in San Francisco to let people get their hands dirty with OpenSocial, Shindig, and Caja. In addition to the Googlers working on OpenSocial, you'll be able to chat with engineers from at least hi5, MySpace, Oracle, Orkut, and Plaxo. The event starts at 4pm PST and will be going deep into the night -- so it's okay if you can't make it right on time. The office is conveniently located near Macworld, not to mention Caltrain, BART, and MUNI.

We'd love it if you could RSVP on Upcoming, though it isn't formally required. Be sure to bring your laptop and perhaps a few friends.

Of course, there will be copious beer and pizza.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

[Gd] An OpenSocial HappyHour party with Gears

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Google Code Blog: An OpenSocial HappyHour party with Gears

Chandra Patni is an engineer at IGN who saw a good way to develop using OpenSocial. Some hacking later, and he ended up with happyhour, an open source OpenSocial container powered by Google Gears.

Brad Neuberg and myself got together with Chandra to discuss the project.

In the conversation below you will hear about:
  • How happyhour increases developer productivity when building OpenSocial components
  • How designers have been able to work with his OpenSocial applications with happyhour
  • How happyhour differs from another open source container, Apache Shindig
  • His experience, and lessons learned using Gears
  • How he added support for ISO dates for Gears using SQLite

There is room for potential collaboration with Apache Shindig too. The projects can share the same data format, or happyhour could even hook into Apache Shindig in some way.

If you would like to make changes on the fly as you develop your OpenSocial applications, then give happyhour a look. Want to see a few more details about the code? Read more over at the Gears blog.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

[Gd] 2007 Wrap Up: A Map-tastic Year!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: 2007 Wrap Up: A Map-tastic Year!

Almost exactly a year ago, I joined the Maps API team to be a middleman(woman) between the literally thousands of Google Maps API developers and our internal Geo teams. So this post is both a summary of the 2007 and my first year here. I originally anticipated this being a short post until I started reviewing posts for the last 12 months, and realized that it's been a mighty eventful year. Get yourself a cup of joe (or boba, my fav) and get ready to look back on 2007:

New API features:
  • New classes:
    • GPolygon: Create shapes on top of the map.
    • GGeoXml: Overlay KML or GeoRSS files from any domain on the map (with support for advanced features like Network Links in KML).
    • GGroundOverlay: Overlay an image over a given GLatLngBounds. (From KML's GroundOverlay)
    • GScreenOverlay: Overlay images in fixed positions on top of your map div. (From KML's ScreenOverlay)
    • GDirections: Get the polyline and localized directions HTML for a simple to/from query or array of waypoints.
    • GTrafficOverlay: Overlay traffic conditions for major roads on top of the map.
    • GGoogleBar: A shiny control wrapping the AJAX API's LocalSearchControl. The easiest way to let users search for local businesses on the map.
    • GHierarchicalMapTypeControl: A control that shows nested maptypes and checkboxes for toggling.
  • Other fun stuff:
Open source utility library:
  • MarkerManager: The first offering in the open source lib, an open source version of GMarkerManager with additional functionality.
  • LabeledMarker: A GMarker extension that lets you display text ("labels") on top of markers.
  • DragZoomControl: A GControl extension that letsusers zoom by dragging a rectangle of interest (and in latest versions, give them a back button and zoom history!)
  • ExtMapTypeControl: An open source version of MapTypeControl, with an additional Traffic button/key.
  • ExtInfoWindow: A GOverlay extension that lets you create custom info windows with CSS, and easily pull in content with AJAX.
Resources: Increased International Coverage: More searchable & mashable mashups


Monday, January 7, 2008

[Gd] こんにちは and 你好 from Google Maps

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Official Google Maps API Blog: こんにちは and 你好 from Google Maps

開発者のみなさん、こんにちは and 您好,开发者! (Hello Developers!) (This post has been translated into Japanese and Simplified Chinese.) Google operates worldwide, and nowhere is that more self-evident than in Google Maps, where you can actually see the world! We are happy to announce that the entire documentation set for the Google Maps API has undergone translation into Japanese and Simplified Chinese. No, I haven't been spending long hours learning new languages (though it has piqued my interest). We have had the core documentation translated instead. The new Japanese translation of the Maps API Documentation is available at The revised and expanded Chinese translation of the Maps API Documentation is available at We felt that translations of these languages would serve the developer communities in China and Japan well, as they have relatively few English speaking developers. Of special interest are the Maps API Basics sections, which we hope will encourage a new generation of budding developers to start creating Map mashups all over Asia. We look forward to developing more translations of the Google Maps API in the future. Note: although we will try to keep the translated documentation as up-to-date as possible, for now, the English docs will contain the latest information. (If you really need the latest and greatest, be sure to periodically check out the English Maps API Reference, which is updated every few weeks.) 这篇帖子已经翻译成日文简体中文。) Google(谷歌)服务全球,没有哪里比 Google 地图更有信心,使您看到整个世界! 我们非常高兴地宣布 Google 地图 API 完整文档已经翻译成 日文简体中文。 不,并没有等我花这么长时间来学习好新语言后,才开始翻译(尽管它已经激起了我的兴趣)。 然而我们早就应该完成核心文档的翻译。 新的日文版地图 API 文档在: 。 修订并扩充后的中文版地图 API 文档在:。 我们坚信这些翻译文档将更好地服务中国和日本的开发者社区,尤其是那些英文使用较少的开发者。特别需要指出的是地图 API 文档的 "基础" 一节,希望它能鼓励整个亚洲成长中的新一代开发者开始创建精彩纷呈的地图应用程序。 希望未来能有更多语言的 Google 地图 API 文档。 注意:尽管我们将尽量保持翻译文档最新,然而到目前为止,英文文档仍将包含最新的信息。(如果您真的需要最新最好的文档,请定期检查英文版地图 API 参考。我们每几周就会更新它。) 「開発者のみなさん、こんにちは」 「您好,开发者!」 「Hello Developers!」 (この記事は 日本語中国語(簡体字)に翻訳されています。) Googleは世界中にサービスを展開していますが、そのことが一番よく分かるのがGoogleマップでしょう。 Googleマップでは世界中を見ることができるのですから! 本日 Google は Google マップ API ドキュメントの 日本語版中国語(簡体字)版 をリリースしました。といっても私が長い時間をかけてこれらの言語を勉強して翻訳した わけではありません。(それはそれで面白そうですが) そうではなくて、英語のドキュメントを翻訳してもらったということです。 Google マップ API の新しい日本語版ドキュメントは から見ることができます。 修正・拡張した中国語(簡体字)版ドキュメントは から見ることができます。 日本と中国では英語を話す開発者が比較的少ないので、翻訳版のドキュメントが 開発者コミュニティーの役に立つと思っています。特に Google マップ API の基本セクションが、 アジアの新しい時代の開発者にとって Google マップを利用したマッシュアップを 思いついて作成する手助けになれば幸いです。 将来さらに Google マップ API ドキュメントの翻訳を進めていきたいと思います。 注:Google はドキュメントの翻訳版をできるだけ最新に保つようにしていますが、 今のところ、一番新しい情報は英語版のドキュメントに含まれています。 したがって、もし最新の、最も広範囲におよぶドキュメントが必要な場合は 定期的に英語版の Google マップ API リファレンスをチェックしてください。 英語版のリファレンスは数週間ごとにアップデートされます。


[Gd] ChartMaker: A tool for the Google Chart API

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Google Code Blog: ChartMaker: A tool for the Google Chart API

Since we launched the Google Chart API last month we've been thrilled to see so many creative tools written to use it. From Ruby, to Python, to Groovy, it looks like languages are being covered one by one.

Even our own Dion Almaer stepped into the fray with his new ChartMaker tool. ChartMaker, the source code for which is available on Google Code, is an Ajax-based application that makes it easy to experiment with and customize Google Charts.

Have you been building something interesting with the Google Chart API? Please let us know in the comments and join us in the discussion group.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

[Gd] Google Developer Courses on YouTube

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Google Code Blog: Google Developer Courses on YouTube

Wow, it's been nearly 4 months since we started the Google Developers channel on YouTube! We wanted a place to post talks, announcements, interviews, and anything else that might interest outside developers (and other fans). Now, we're building out more tutorial / lecture content -- something that hobbyists and seasoned programmers can watch to get their feet wet with our products.

We know that one of your New Year's resolutions must be to learn a new API, so check out our first videos on Gadgets and Google Data:

Three videos about Getting Started with Gadgets by "the Dans" (Daniel Lee and Daniel Holevoet):

An Introduction to Google Data by Jeff Fisher:

We're just getting started, so subscribe to the Google Developer Courses playlist for updates. There are many ways for you to keep up to date:

You can subscribe through YouTube by clicking the "Subscribe" link here:

Or, add the playlist directly into Google Reader or iGoogle:
Add to Google

Finally, you can also put the Google Data feed into your reader of choice:

Let us know what you think! If there are any particular tutorials you'd like to see, post a comment below.


[Gd] How GGoogleBarOptions Got Me a Job!

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Official Google Maps API Blog: How GGoogleBarOptions Got Me a Job!

I'm Vanessa Bernstein, a substitute schoolteacher living in Orlando, Florida. To find jobs, I use the painfully primitive online system of a subcontractor of the Orange County Public Schools. My problem: I can only search all available substitute teaching jobs in Orange County and I was unable to narrow searches to nearby schools. Several job results show up at once, containing information like school and grade level but no map or address.

There are several hundred schools in Orange County and I needed to narrow searches to schools within 20 miles of my home because it's not worth it if I have to drive forty minutes to make $30 teaching for a half day pre-K. By the time I figured out the distances from my home to the jobs with Google Maps searches, the good jobs would be taken by one of the other substitute teachers searching this system.

I discussed the problem with my friend, he emailed it to his dad at Google, and a few days later I was emailed the URL to the app embedded below. All I have to say is WOW! This is exactly what I needed!

Now, I can just keep this application open and copy and paste the first two words of the school (and leave the words "school" and "Orlando, FL" all the time). I just accepted a job for next week. It took me only a few seconds. Thank you, Google!

Note from Google: This app uses the callbacks in GGoogleBarOptions, the new feature announced a few weeks ago, to call GDirections queries on every returned local search result.

Link to example of GGoogleBarOptions


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

[Gd] Thanks to you

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Google Code Blog: Thanks to you

Many thanks to all of our users and developers for helping to make Google Gears one of PC World's 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year! And congrats to everyone else who made the list. It's been quite an exciting ride for Gears since its launch at Developer Day in May, and we've had tons of fun seeing what has already been created. Thanks for making 2007 such a great year, and we look forward to seeing all the cool stuff the community comes up with next.

To learn more, check out the documentation and the Gears Blog. And, of course, let us know what you think.