Archive for December 13, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Google Maps on iOS vs. Android

Christina Bonnington and Nathan Olivarez-Giles:

One more thing that Google Maps on Android has that its iOS counterpart lacks is Wikipedia integration. On Android, users can choose to add a layer over the top of the map they’re looking at that provides Wikipedia entries for locations such as businesses, public parks and historical sites. It’s not quite a killer feature, but it’s cool, it’s helpful, and if you’re a tourist or just someone who wants to get to know their hometown, it’s a lot of fun. There’s nothing quite like it on iOS, or any other Android mapping app.

The Web We Lost

Anil Dash:

We’ve lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we’ve abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today’s social networks, they’ve brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they’ve certainly made a small number of people rich.

But they haven’t shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they’ve now narrowed the possibilities of the web for an entire generation of users who don’t realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be.

Open Google Maps Directions With Siri

Federico Viticci:

In Siri, you can’t launch arbitrary URL schemes, but you can trick the assistant into displaying them. Specifically, you can assign URLs to contacts and display their contact card, showing a tappable URL.

Clever. He also gives an example of redirecting a URL with parameters through Launch Center Pro to Google Maps.

Object-Oriented Callback Design

Graham Lee:

Let’s gloss over, for a moment, the fact that simply setting this property triggers authentication. There are three things that could happen as a result of calling this method: two are the related ideas that authentication could succeed or fail (related, but diametrically opposed). The third is that the API needs some user input, so wants the app to present a view controller for data entry. Three things, one entry point. Which do we need to handle on this run? We’re not told; we have to ask. This is the antithesis of accepted object-oriented practice.

In this particular case, the behaviour required on event-handling is rich enough that a delegate protocol defining multiple methods would be a good way to handle the interaction.

Blocks are great, but I agree that Apple’s APIs don’t always use them properly.

MailMate 1.5.1

MailMate 1.5.1 adds support for tags:

The implementation of tags is based on IMAP keywords which means that they are easily and efficiently synchronized with an IMAP server (some servers may have limited support). The user interface is an unobtrusive token based text field shown when hitting a simple shortcut. It is very similar to the recipient address fields of the composer including automatic completion of tag names. It is easy to create new tags and a new preferences pane allows you to review and edit existing tags and their IMAP keyword equivalents. Read more about tags in the manual.

Google Maps for iPhone 1.0

Google Maps for iPhone is now available, along with an SDK for iOS and a URL scheme. The map data is top notch, and I don’t understand the reviews stating that Apple’s rendering is better. In my view, Google’s maps are so much easier on the eyes, and with so much more information, that they totally outclass Apple’s offering. It’s like looking at a real map vs. a Fisher-Price one. Plus, of course, there are Street View and transit info.

The iOS 5 Maps app, though using Google’s data, was designed by Apple. I’m not a fan of Google’s Mac app interfaces, so I was a bit worried about what it would come up with for its app. It’s actually fine, though, and in some ways better than either of the Apple’s built-in Maps apps.

There’s one giant flaw, though: it doesn’t integrate with the iPhone’s Contacts database—or even with your Google contacts. Get ready for lots of Copy and Paste. (When traveling, I use a group in Contacts on the Mac to store all the locations that I plan to visit. Since tapping an address in Contacts on the phone will open Apple’s Maps app, I really need to be able to access the contacts list from within Google Maps.)

There’s also no iPad version, though I assume one is in the works.