Google Developer Day

So I'm here at the Australian Technology Park at Google's first Developer Day and first cab off the rank after the keynote (which I unfortunately missed) was none other than Aaron Boodman, Mr. Greasemonkey himself. He had a very cool demo of showcasing Google Gears, a framework for allowing offline access to your online web applications. It works as a browser plugin (remember them?) and is available now as a beta for all browsers minus Safari. Mac users can fire up their Firefox browsers for now.

Gears make use of an SQLite database, weighing in at only 343Kb, so it's relatively small. There's a few API's that make up Gears, namely LocalServer, Database (to run queries etc.), and a WorkerPool (threading meet JavaScript, JavaScript meet threading). JSON is ubiquitous.

Next up was a PhD guy from Leeds University, who shows us Mapplets (Map-applets) that allow third party content to be hooked into google maps. This is available at One cool mapplet was the Distance Measurement tool, which allows one to drag a pin from one location to another which then calculates the distance between the two points.

There's a new domain out there as well,, which calls some of the Map API stuff by iframing The way it seems to work is that you code against the which packs up your api calls and serialises them across to - via GET. Last I checked there was a 1024 character limit for GET requests, so it'll be interesting how the API circumvents this.

Bo Majewski, PhD from Queensland University of Technology took us through some cool Map API calls - a gravity defying bouncing pin, GDownloadURL to, well, download data and access it locally, and Marker Manager that can be used to keep your map more lighweight by adding and removing markers automatically depending upon the view. There was no mention of the new street view that's available for Maps, but there is now AdSense for GMaps as well.

Zhen Wang displayed how simple it is to create Google Gadgets, which are interestingly portable to Vista Sidebar, and also BEA WebLogic. Need to find out if they conform to WSRP, that would be nice.

Lars Rasmussen, Mr. Google Maps, broke up his presentation to three parts. First up was Google's adoption of Open Source, most devs are using a version of Ubuntu modded for Google (aptly nicknamed Goobuntu). Millions of dollars spent fed back into the open source community in various ways. Need to have a look at Breakpad which is an open source crash reporting system. Finally, it was time for the Google Web Toolkit (GWT, which he pronounced "GWIT"). Google Base is one app that is built on GWT. I wonder if there's anyone working on a .NET port?

Afte lunch Prakash Barathan had a talk about GData, Googles data api for all things google. GData is a superset of the Atom Publishing Protocol, adding extensions for a data model, query, concurrency, and authentication. was showcased as an application that makes heavy use of GData via Google Base.

And for the finale Michael Ashbridge took as thorough KML, the xml geo-data specification that is used by Google Maps and Google Earth (oh, and I guess Lunar as well!).

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