Google goes nuts with new developer tools

Dang, it’s been a while since I’ve made any mashup toys, but I’m all abuzz over Google’s new offerings. I’m moving back South in two weeks, so free time is scarce, but I’ll no doubt have to do some things with:

Google Mashup Editor – Mashup Framework – In limited roll-out, so sign up quickly. Still waiting for my invite.

Google AJAX Search API – Access RSS feeds with Javascript using Google’s cache. Evidently powered by the same backend that powers Google Reader. Great for building scalable feed reading apps, which is something I failed at miserably during my first attempt.

Google Mapplets – Extended functionality for map mashups that can be embedded in Google Maps (the Google-hosted version). Perfect if you want to play with maps and don’t want to host the application yourself.

Google Gears (BETA) – There’s a low rumble that offline-capable web apps will be one of the next big things–maybe even the secret sauce behind what will be called “Web 3.0”. Dojo supports client-side storage and Firefox 3 is going to enable offline apps natively in the browser. Google Gears is a Firefox extension that lets you develop offline apps now.

Google Reader already supports offline feed reading via Gears. I tested it out this evening and it worked fine on my laptop. Basically, going to “offline” mode stores the latest 2000 items to a local database, and going back “online” synchronizes your offline reading, starring, etc. to your online account.

Google Gears uses three components:

  • LocalServer– Handles caching of URL resources on the local file system.
  • Database– Gears uses sqlite databases for storage. You can even find the databases on your file system and browse them with any sqlite compatible tool. I did. It works.
  • WorkerPool– A job threading API to perform asynchronous operations so your app stays snappy and doesn’t hang. Check out the Fibonacci demo to see it in action.

About John Herren

John Herren is a developer and technical consultant with focus on web applications. He currently serves as Director of Development for Primetime US, the company behind the hit movie and book The Secet. John was formerly staff writer and developer community evangelist for Zend Technologies. Along with founding neat experiments like TagCloud.com, John is an active member in the mashup community, working with API providers and speaking at conferences. He is a published author of Linux certification study material. John enjoys using open source software like PHP and Ruby on Rails to bend the web into exciting new chimeras of hyperlinked goodness. View all posts by John Herren

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