2008/05/20

Next version of the GoogleMaps plugin

Lately I've worked to do some improvements in the Google Maps plugin, you can already check the current status in the live demo.

One of the new features is that now the map remembers the type of map that has been selected, and now it's possible to select also the Terrain view. I guess that this isn't anything special, some might even wonder why I didn't add it earlier, but there are so many things to do that I just can't afford them all.

A more interesting change (mainly due to the opportunities that it can offer) is the usage of the Static maps. When you add a map you'll no longer see the white area with the Google logo, instead it will show a preview of the map. I haven't added the markers of polyline to the static map, and that's because I'm not fully satisfied with the current status.

First, it isn't possible to select the type of map, so the user will think that I'm gonna generate a wrong map because they see the map view instead of satellite as they have selected.

And the second problem is that the generated images can't be any larger than 512x512, so if I try to request a preview for a map of 600x400 Google sends an error message. In the end I've checked the dimensions of the map and restricted them in the static preview to those 512x512, so the image will be shown distorted, but at least the user won't see a X.

If those problems are solved (I think that only Google can provide a fix, I don't foresee any workaround), I have some other nice ideas (mainly one: load just a image and then the rest of the JS API on demand), but I don't see any reason to start coding them if people will complain that they won't work correctly.

The last important change for the FCKeditor plugin (besides some bug fixes related to the comments in the markers) is an idea from Enrico Danilo Visciola, allowing to have 2 different API Keys, and even asking to the user in the moment what's the key that they want to use. Based on this change I think that it will be possible to include the plugin inside the Write Area extension and as long as the web where you are using it doesn't filter out javascript you'll be able to include GoogleMaps with a few clicks.

Of course, there are many other things waiting to be done, if you want to sponsor some development just contact me, or if you want to cooperate with some code I will be grateful for your contribution.

2 comments:

saul11 said...

Awesome plugin! Did you code it from scratch or is there some kind of map create wizard around on which you based this plugin?

Alfonso said...

The map code is based on the public samples, lots of work, testing, checking the API, ...
I don't remember any wizard at the time when I started coding GMaps.