One of the most frequent questions we get via email is “Your book is two years old. Is it any good now?” While only you can answer that question, we certainly think so. When we set out to write the book we put a lot of effort into the fundamentals of mapping. We covered the underlying concepts behind geocoding, the math involved in projections and distance calculations on a sphere, working with massive data sets and even interface design considerations.

But what about the API? Hasn’t it changed… a lot? Yes it has, but very little of what we wrote about changed since we took great care to only write about what was already stable in version 2. Google has added lots of neat new features that make some of our techniques look like the “long way” but they still work. We also think that knowing the foundations will help you do some of the more complicated things that the API doesn’t support with a single function call yet.

Basically, Google has added many new features (some of which we predicted in the book), but they haven’t changed the core of the API very much (if at all). The only downside to this is that our book isn’t much of a beginner book any more. Two years ago the techniques we listed were the only way, now they are really more like advanced topics and techniques.

The good news is that APress has released a new book on the Google Maps API that covers the new features and is primarily client-side javascript. This means that everyone who cringes at the thought of server-side stuff has a new book to pick up and new things to learn…

Beginning Google Maps Mashups with Mapplets, KML, and GeoRSS: From Novice to Professional by Sterling Udell

It was released mere weeks ago and is awaiting your reviews at Amazon. Congratulations to Sterling Udell on an excellent book and we hope that Amazon continues to pair our books as a bundle for years to come :).

There is also Jeff’s second book on AdvancED DOM Scripting: Dynamic Web Design Techniques if you’re interested in that. An excellent book that I did the technical review for. It’s published by Friends of Ed, a sister company to APress.

Happy Holidays everyone.

10 Responses to “Two Years and Counting. Is Our Book Still Useful?”  

  1. 1 deyan

    i am reading this, and it gives a very good fundamental knowledge on Google Maps…
    a good guide for the novice, thanks :D

  2. 2 the_perk

    We are currently working on a website that will rely heavily on Google Maps and multiple web services for data. While one of my partners is doing most of the interfacing portion, I have done a little myself, and we continue to use your book on a regular basis.

  3. 3 Juan Pablo Fernandez

    Is it posible to have draggable GMarkers with icon??

    If so, how?


  4. 4 Arjen


    It is not only the changes in the Google Api that makes people wonder about the book’s usefullness. Both Ruby and Rails have seen upgrades; Ruby has evolved to 1.8.7 and Rails to 2.2. It could mean that the examples in the book need rework following the framework’s upgrades.

    If the authors update the examples in the book when needed (which they have done in the past through this blog), then the book is still a very good starting point to learn how to use GMaps - and get the most out of it. I like the book b/c it does not only cover beginning elements, which is why it stands out.

    I am not familiar with PHP, but perhaps php has evolved as well.

  5. 5 Manuel Heredia

    Congratulations for the book, I had been thinking for a long time about adding an interactive map to my website and I’m finally doing it thanks to your book.

    I am still at the test phase, at

    I tried to implement the example you develop on chapter 3 of the book (I’m using the PHP+Ajax version), and it works… except that I cannot see new markers until I reload the page. I tried also changing zoom, pan but does not refresh.

    Funny, isn’t it? I hope it’s not supposed to be like that. Is there any refresh / redraw functions I should be calling? I’d be very grateful if you could help with that.

    Kind regards, and keep up the good work.

    Manuel Heredia

  6. 6 JJ

    I am using this book and it gives excellent insight and examples in the architecture and code needed to build google maps.
    Both books (Google Maps application with php & ajax) + (Google Maps Mashups) are great for reference along with the google maps help on their website.

  7. 7 Jeff Goldenson

    I’m using your book to get acquainted with google maps for a project I’m working on ( I’ve found it invaluable so far. You’ve all done a super good job.

    I’m in the middle of it, and will be serving images with Google Maps. Thanks for all your help!


  8. 8 Rich Cole

    Ug, Yes the book is VERY useful,

  9. 9 Tony

    This book is totally still helpful! It’s 2010 and I continually refer to it for cool features and the segments on infowindow and handling large scale data. I am using Version 3 of the API and none of the code has been deprecated or “broke” from what I can tell. Really would love to see and update to the book featuring the latest and greatest, without a doubt its my definitive resource for Google Maps.


  10. 10 Cam

    Hello Everyone.. There was ALMOST a second edition. We started writing the second edition in September but very quickly realized that we wouldn’t be able to complete it (due to babies).

    AFAIK Apress is still looking for a new author for the second edition. Email us if you think you’re up to the task and we’ll pass along your info to the Apress folks.


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