Friday, April 18, 2008
The big buzz continues to revolve around our Google App Engine launch. We are seeing a host of applications being developed, and were even pleasantly surprised to see people port the APIs allowing you to run App Engine code elsewhere, such as appdrop.com.
One interesting feature to the App Engine which you may not have noticed, is the integration with Google Apps. Not only can you tie an application to your domain (allowing you to have myapp.mydomain.com instead of myapp.appspot.com) but you can restrict access to the given application to only members of your domain. If I ran a company on Google Apps, this would be a nice addition. I could see the small business apps that I need running there.
Jeff Scudder then released a new version of the Google data Python client library which has support for Google App Engine and the Contacts API. If you want to use this in your Google App Engine application you simply need to set
gdata.service.http_request_handler = gdata.urlfetchto make sure your requests have a path out!
Google Docs offline, and Gears
I was on the road, speaking about Gears and the Open Web in Europe last week, and it was perfect timing to be mixing with the community as Google App Engine came out and I could talk to that too. We also had a few things to talk about with Gears.
We have been getting lots of questions surrounding our stance with the various standards out there, so Aaron Boodman put down our thoughts on the matter in a piece called Gears and Standards. It talks about how we are working with HTML5, and the direction that you will see Gears going. I think it is incredibly exciting to see people realise how Gears is a lot more than "offline", and is actually an open source way to teach browsers new tricks.
Brad Neuberg talked about just that as well as new features in Gears, and tools to help you get your work done, such as PubTools. He also discussed our first Google Gears for Mobile application, done by the Picasa Team. Now the blokes in London can show off pictures of their kids as they slow poke through the city down in the tube.
The biggest news of all though was the launch of Google Docs offline. If you have ever been in the situation where the internet goes flaky right when you just need that bit of info in document, no more. Now you have the option to save docs locally on your computer, so you can access them no matter where you are.
If you would like a refresher course on how to get started with Gears check out Ben Lisbakken's new screencast.
Fun with Maps
The Geo side of the house continued to output great content, including a series of Geo Developer content:
- Quick & Dirty KML Creation: With Mano Marks, Pamela Fox, and Christiaan Adams
A demonstration of creating KML visually in Google Earth & Google Maps, and using Spreadsheet Mapper 2.0
- Creating Custom Maps: With John Coryat
A comparison of various ways of overlaying data in the Maps API and an in-depth explanation of creating tile layers and custom map types
- GigaPan In-Depth: With Randy Sargent & Ted Morse
A demo of the GigaPan panorama-browsing website and KML files, plus a technical explanation of PhotoOverlay
- Dynamic KML: With Mano Marks & Brian Hamlin
An exploration of using dynamic queries from KML, using the NetworkLink, httpQuery, and viewFormat elements, plus a demo of a PostGIS-generated NetworkLink
- Mars, Moon, and Sky Map Types: With Noel Gorelick
A talk introducing the non-Earth Maps API map types, plus cool demos of other types of projections used with planetary imagery
- Mapping the Votes: With Michael Geary
- Google API Talks - Android, KML, Google Maps, Gadgets
A series of 5-minute talks by various developers and Googlers given before Geary's presentation, including an intro to Gadgets/Mapplets.
They were also happy to announce that KML is now a standard, and owned by the Open Geospatial Consortium. We have seen a lot of other sites consume and produce KML, so this is a great step.
Finally, a great new feature was added to Google Maps. You can now check out traffic patterns in the future. If you have a commute the following morning, you can check out an estimate of how stuck you will be based on past experience. Obviously, it can't determine if there will be any crashes or anything like that :)
And there's more...
To finish up, a few other interesting items of the week:
- Amit Singh on the Google Mac team talked about how you can manipulate keyboard LEDs through software and receive Apple infrared remote control events
- I got to interview Bob Lee about his Twubble app, built using GWT
- Dave Astels talked about flakey tests on the toilet
- Google Code now speaks a lot of languages which apparently caused some students to fix their RSS feed parsers as they didn't grok Unicode
I hope you had a great week. Remember that our big developer event Google I/O is now just a few weeks away! We have a few posts from presenters who will be at the event to give you a little look at the content, but the best part will be having the community together to talk in the open.