Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Nerdiness: Google Mashup Editor and Trip Map

I've been playing with Google Mashup Editor recently, with the transparently lame excuse of putting together a map of our trip that is driven from the trip's Google Calendar. Like any software engineer I'm allergic to doing anything more than once (in fact, to doing anything even once, if truth be told), and I didn't see why I should have to update a trip map and a calendar when there was everything a map could need already in the calendar.

GME is a bit of fun, but only the most basic of results can be achieved if you don't know (or want to know) how to write JavaScript code. I'm buggered if I know how it actually works in detail, but what it feels like is a specialized markup language that allows an easier alternative to the Map/Calendar JS API. Presumably it's all being converted into JS behind the scenes anyway.

The effort I put together reads the trip calendar, displays the entries in a list, and for any entry that has a 'Where' value, it tries to plot it. Given the amount of similar (but not quite the same) examples of GME code provided, it was quite straightforward. I've added a button to see where we are based on today's date, and I'll add another one later on to show where we will be on any given date.

At the moment the map's speech bubbles just show some placemarkers, but eventually they will be links to blog entries and images that are tagged with that location. It should make a good overall dashboard for anyone interested in following our movements. Here's where you can go to take a look (I've removed the itinerary map from the bottom of this blog and changed the Itinerary link on the right to point to the mashup).

PS: My wife Letizia is going to start blogging very soon (in Italian and English). I'll pass along the URL when it's up and running.


Andrew said...

Where in Gods name do you get the time? :-)

Brendan Lawlor said...

Just imagine how much more crap I'll be posting after I hand in my Masters thesis and put my Chinese studies to one side.