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Google Maps API: Adding Where to Your Applications by Scott Davis

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<pre>Author/s : Scott Davis
Publisher : Pragmatic Bookshelf
Category : Other
Review by : Jason Menard
Rating : 8 horseshoes
"Google Maps API: Adding Where to Your Applications" by Scott Davis is the second release in The Pragmatic Programmers Pragmatic Fridays series. A Friday is described as "a short, highly focused book, typically addressing a specific technical topic." They are low cost, and available only as DRM-free PDFs. It should also be noted that they are only available from the Pragmatic Programmers site (

The "Google Maps API" PDF is 71 pages in length and nicely formats to fit your screen. The PDF is DRM-free, however each PDF is personally generated and your name will appear in the footer of each page in order to discourage the unscrupulous from distributing their copy. It is well bookmarked and hyperlinked, including links to relevant information and live content on the Internet. The layout is one which should be familiar to those who have read other books in the Pragmatic Bookshelf.

"Google Maps API" takes a step-by-step introductory look at the different components of Google's JavaScript API for their ground-breaking mapping application. The book starts out with a "For those in a hurry..." chapter giving a quick-and-dirty introduction to the API in order to help impatient developers hit the ground running as quickly as possible. Following that are chapters devoted to detailed looks at the fifteen objects that make up the API, broken down into five categories: Core Objects, Map Control Objects, User Data Objects, Events, and AJAX. Each object is fully explained and includes images and sample code to illustrate how the object is used.

I have to admit, PDF books aren't really my thing. I much prefer the portability and immediacy of an actual book as opposed to having my reading location dictated by computer access. That said, "Google Maps API" has led me to rethink this position. This was a truly joyful way to become familiar with Google's mapping API. The quality is on par with any of the other books that Pragmatic puts out and was a quick and pleasant read. I found the links to the "live content" particularly useful. These are links to the books example code running on the author's website that enable you to immediately see the code in action, which in my opinion greatly enhances the learning process. After tearing through this book, I feel confident that I'm ready to jump in and force Google Maps to do my bidding.

If you are interested in learning the basics of the Google Maps API, this book is certainly recommended. I was so pleased with the experience and the overall quality that I'm looking forward to seeing what future Fridays may have to offer.

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