ExtInfoWindow 1.0: Ajax powered, CSS customization

Friday, December 14, 2007 at 3:22:00 PM

I'm Joe Monahan, a 27 year old cyclist originally from South Plainfield, NJ and now living in Chicago, IL where I work the days away as a User Interface Engineer with Orbitz.com.

I'm excited to announce an addition to the Google Maps Open Source utility library: the ExtInfoWindow, an "extended" info window that allows much more customization than the standard info window. Have you ever wanted to tweak the look and feel of your map's info windows? With ExtInfoWindow and a little CSS you can customize your windows to fit the theme of your site. Do you have a lot of content to place in 50+ markers' info windows, slowing your page load time? ExtInfoWindow can retrieve its content as static HTML strings upon page load, or, for more efficient and real-time data, it can pull data dynamically via an Ajax call when the info window opens. On top of all that, the ExtInfoWindow also mimics the behavior of the regular GInfoWindow, panning the map when needed, closing itself when another window opens, etc.

Sounds too good to be true? Let's check out a quick demo. Given the current season, and the fact that I'm writing this while the snow is falling in Chicago, let's create an ExtInfoWindow around the theme of "winter." All of the window's styles come from an externally linked CSS file, while the content is supplied by an Ajax request to grab the lyrics to "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!". (I apologize in advance if the song gets stuck in your head)

Want to see more? Check out the class reference documentation and more examples. As always, please report any issues you find in the developer forum.

Let me finish up by thanking Pamela Fox for making such a great Open Source Utility Library, and for all the help in getting this utility integrated. Second, I have to thank the authors of "Beginning Google Maps Applications with Rails and Ajax: From Novice to Professional": Andre Lewis, Michael Purvis, Jeffrey Sambells, and Cameron Turner. The sample code in their book is really what jump-started this utility. Last but not least, I also have to give a quick shout-out to my team over at Orbitz Traveler Update for giving me the extra time to develop the ExtInfoWindow utility and release it as open source.

Disclaimer: These views are mine and not the views of OWW or (subsidiary). I am not a spokesperson for OWW or (subsidiary) and neither OWW nor (subsidiary) endorse any material, content and/or links or assume any liability for any of my actions.