For those that don’t know I moderate the Virtual Earth forums at MSDN:
The forum is buzzing with questions and awesome answers from the likes of Ricky, Derek, Brian, Jeff, Roberto, Mike and many others. If you really want to know where the VE dev community is the forums is the place.
So today I came across another post asking about Virtual Earth in a Windows Forms (desktop) applications. My thoughts are, what a great opportunity for MSFT, harness the power of Virtual Earth data and services within rich Windows applications. I sure it will happen some day.
So over the period of time I’ve been working with Virtual Earth what is my wish list of major additions to the Virtual Earth platform?
- Window Forms / WPF Native Virtual Earth control
- Silverlight 2.0 control
- ASP.NET Server Control
- Mobile Control API
- Additional Web controls from maps.live.com wrapped for developers.
- API for creating precise 3D animations
- Code Patterns
Window Forms / WPF Native Virtual Earth control
Silverlight 2.0 control
ASP.NET Server Control
Mobile Control API
Give developer access to the mobile version of Virtual Earth. Allow developers to target the mobile platform. This is an area of serious demand and growth. Since mobile browsers cannot render the AJAX VE control currently the only mobile solution is the ever aging Map Point Web Service.
Additional Web controls from maps.live.com wrapped for developers
This site has drawing tools, business searches, export formats and much more that the VE API doesn’t. You don’t need to integrate them, but offer them as additional controls to plug in. These become building blocks for developers and are the current lack of these is a major obstacle for new developers.
API for creating precise 3D animations
Give us a way to create high quality 3D tours, videos, animations with full control over the camera angle, path and speed. I know this is a business in its own right but to give this power to all developers and even end users opens up some great opportunities. I know we can create a pre-canned experience now, but lets take it one step further.
Code Patterns, various languages.
Patterns and best practice for Virtual Earth applications. We don’t seriously put the loadmap() function in the body tag do we? Are you calling map.dispose? I know I have found out the hard way about the amazing code patterns of ASP.NET AJAX Extensions. So how do these apply to Virtual Earth? Further more how does a ASP.NET developer get data from their SQL database onto Virtual Earth? How does a PHP developer do the same for mySQL?
So that is my list. I think with all these possible flavours of VE a core cross-platform API is really what I’m looking towards. A single programming experience where a developer can target the Web, the next Web, the desktop or the Mobile phone. There are exciting times ahead.
I’m sure you have though of many more ideas. Is their anything you would like to add or comment on?