Yahoo! Maps: Flex/Flash/AJAX – Good on Their Word

Finally, Yahoo! has made good on their ability to showcase the Flash Platform. They built Yahoo! Maps using Macromedia Flex. If anyone remembers, part of the Yahoo! Toolbar episode was in addition to Macromedia receiving funding for hosting the Yahoo! Toolbar installation on the Flash Player installation page at Macromedia, this symbolized a deeper relationship. It was said publicly that Yahoo! was doing some amazing things with Flash, and would help push the Flash Platform.

Was about to call bs, but thankfully am eating my words.

Yahoo! has released a beta of their mapping services, much like Google Maps, but at least as far as I can see, more interesting to developers. You can utilize Flex, Flash, and/or AJAX/JavaScript to utilize them. Options rock. Frankly, I’ll never touch the latter 2 unless a gun is pointed to my head since the Flex one works so darn well, and is fun to play with.

Before the FUD gets out of control, you can embed Yahoo! Maps into your own page using Flash Player 7, NOT SHOCKWAVE. Many people associate Shockwave with Director’s Shockwave web player, and Yahoo! Maps is in no way associated with it, so ignore it since it is written a few times on the developer site.

I’ve included an example MXML file you can use to quickly get up to speed on how to use it. Here are some helpful links.

Finally, although that Techcrunch article above needs to be checked again by the editor, two quotes in it, to me, really hit home:

First, the usability improvement over Google Maps:

And as you edit the map by moving, adding things, etc., the URL in the browser bar self updates so that it can be copied and pasted at any time. This is something that really bugs me about Google Maps – the need to click a link to get a permanent URL. Yahoo’s solved that with some cool javascript coding.

And Second, a stab at the tub cleaner:

Because Yahoo Maps is built on Flash, the “back button” on the browser still works (a problem with AJAX applications).

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