Google Maps API Version 3 Primer

I number of people have asked me what is the difference between Version  2 and Version 3 of Google Maps API is.

Well for starters this is what Google says:

The primary motivation behind this new version was speed, especially for rendering maps on mobile browsers. Last year, several of us starting thinking about the possibility of getting the JavaScript Maps API to work on mobile devices. With the advent of powerful, fully functional browsers on devices such as the iPhone and the Android-based G1, why couldn’t we bring the flexibility and reach of modern web development to people who wanted to write maps mashups for mobile phones? While we’ve been able to get the existing v2 API working on mobile browsers, we found we were constrained when trying to reduce latency and we needed a new approach. And thus was born the idea for the next revision of the Maps API.

Aside from speed improvements, there has been a lot of work done to integrate mobile browsers (Phone Safari mobile and Chrome) and move to a Model View Controller (MVC) architecture. Why is this you ask?. Well, it is in recognition that the simple Desktop Browser is no longer the only option for displaying (rendering) output. The key idea is extraction of the execution components from the viewer (viewport), the controller (input management) and model (the process).

Basically this is the preparatory work for a host of new applications and services for the mobile world.

However, please note that Version 2 has not disappear. You can still use that version to test and develop on.

  1. Read the Developer’s Guide.
  2. Follow the V3 Tutorial.
  3. Consult the V3 Reference.

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Embedding Google Maps in 2 Easy Steps

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A common question is asked is how do I embed google maps into your blog posts. There are two answers, the easy answer (which is here) and the hard answer which means you need to be a programmer.

Google has a Mapping API that provides an extremely comprehensive way of embedding and manipulating maps. The book I recommend for this is Beginning Google Maps Applications with PHP and Ajax: From Novice to Professional.

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This is probably the most comprehensive but readable primer to developing using the Google Maps API version 2. Version 3 was released late last year and it importantly includes mobile support including getting location information for mobile applications. A new version of the book is due out soon that includes the new version 3.

Until recently, building interactive web-based mapping applications has been a cumbersome affair. This changed when Google released its powerful Maps API. Beginning Google Maps Applications with PHP and Ajax was written to help you take advantage of this technology in your own endeavorswhether you’re an enthusiast playing for fun or a professional building for profit. This book covers version 2 of the API, including Google’s new Geocoding service.

Authors Jeffrey Sambells, Cameron Turner, and Michael Purvis get rolling with examples that require hardly any code at all, but you’ll quickly become acquainted with many facets of the Maps API. They demonstrate powerful methods for simultaneously plotting large data sets, creating your own map overlays, and harvesting and geocoding sets of addresses. You’ll see how to set up alternative tile sets and where to access imagery to use for them. The authors even show you how to build your own geocoder from scratch, for those high-volume batch jobs.

The easy way is to use Google’s built in tools. If you look at the picture above you can see a link on the very right hand side.

So find the location that you want to map, then click on “Link”.

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This automatically creates the code you need to embed into your post. Either a link or it uses an iframe to embed some HTML into your post. Remember, before you insert switch to HTML mode in the editor.

If you want to customize the layout click on “Customize and preview embedded Map” and modify the settings. Then cut and paste into your post.  That’s it.

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How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself (Video)

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Tim Ferriss talks about:

  • Why I blog
  • How I blog and select best practices
  • Frequency and tools — best times and days to post
  • Blogging myths and how to harness data for better results
  • Testing design and surprising findings that can be copied
  • How I address comments and community building
  • How I write and research for good social media response
  • 20 minutes of audience Q&A on Twitter, branding, outsourcing, and much more

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Problogger the Book Version 2

problogger book 2nd edition 203x300 Problogger the Book Version 2http://bluecowhosting.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/problogger-book-2nd-edition.jpg 280w" sizes="(max-width: 203px) 100vw, 203px" />This is version 2 of the must read Problogger book from Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett. And when I say must-read I mean if you want to be serious about blogging this is where you start.

This is an update of the 1st edition and not a complete rewrite – however there are a few significant updates including:

  • there have been many many small updates and changes throughout the book. New examples, screenshots, updates of new tools, a few deletions of references to old tools, an update to our stories in the intro etc.
  • we’ve removed a chapter on blog networks – things have changed a lot in this space and many networks are not hiring any more or have changed their models significantly.
  • Chris has added a significant chapter on social media and how it impacts and can be used by bloggers
  • I have added a case study chapter that goes through the first 4 years of my main blog – Digital Photography School. I work through how I launched it, what I focused upon in years 1-2 and then in years 3-4, how I monetize it and share the secrets to how I drive significant traffic and income through email newsletters, social media etc.
  • Bonuses – we’re offering anyone who buys the book a series of bonuses (some interviews with successful bloggers, some extra teaching etc)

You can find it here at Amazon.

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Wine Blogging Sites and Sounds

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Uploaded on Flickr by jeffsmallwood

There are many ways to build a strong audience but one of the best is having a strong technical skill. In this case, it is Wine and Vinticulture.

From Seattle Times:

With so much information about wine swirling around the choppy seas of the Web, it’s good to get down to sites and blogs that consistently offer wisdom, usually with some wit. Among the choices that wine adviser Paul Gregutt recommends are: Winebusiness.com, 1winedude.com and Wawinereport.com.

They have a good discussion on the wherefore of Wine Blogging.

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WordPress Plugins – A Two Edged Sword

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Uploaded on Flickr by Bull3t

Part of WordPress’ popularity is the wealth of plugins available to add all sorts of functionality. This extensibility allows the WordPress user admin afford a very rich environment for their users. However, as the title suggests plugins are a two edge sword. While they deliver new capability, they also deliver upgrade and version control headaches.

This is because plugins are a voluntary effort. They invariably start as a effort to provide functionality to the author’s own site as well as sharing with others. But over time maintenance of plugins becomes a lower priority over making a living.

If you have a large site that depends on stability and performance for a living, the rule of thumb for WordPress Plugins is less is more. Job number one is stability ahead of functionality which sits just behind performance.

Job one includes making sure you regularly upgrade to maintain the security of your site. If you need to add a plugin, make sure that it can survive upgrades or discard them. Remember, the more complex the plugin the more things that can go wrong.

Secondly, have a test site. I can’t believe the number of bloggers who do not maintain a test site to test upgrades, plugins, theme changes etc. This sounds like a lot of work, but believe me, when your site crashes in the middle of the night and the complaints roar in, you will thank your ability to quickly recover.

Thirdly ask the hard question, do I really need that plugin or is it just vanity. Quality content is really the key to traffic.

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452K Claim Blogging Primary Income

The Wall St Journal has an interesting article today on people who blog for money. According to the lead, 452,000 people claim that blogging is their primary source of income:

Demographically, bloggers are extremely well educated: three out of every four are college graduates. Most are white males reporting above-average incomes. One out of three young people reports blogging, but bloggers who do it for a living successfully are 2% of bloggers overall. It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as “spokesbloggers” — paid by advertisers to blog about products.

This is a lot higher than I would have though this number should be but it suspect it also includes those who blog corporately or blog for high profile sites like Huffington Post.

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Writing Clean Posts

One of the questions we get regularly asked is “how come my post looks wrong and the fonts are screwed up” or something similar. Our response is usually to ask whether or not you cut and paste from Word or another word processor.

This is because Word uses a lot of inline style code that when you cut and paste it will follow you to WordPress. If you want to see that, you can click on the HTML tab in editor and you will see lots of <div> and <span> tags.

However help is at hand. Here is a good post on the subject from Rubiqube.

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