Guest Post: Reto Meier of

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 8:56 AM

Posted by Reto Meier,

We recently invited one of our GME pioneers, Reto Meier of, share his thoughts with you about his experience with the Google Mashup Editor. Here's Reto:

I write desktop apps for Windows and have done so for the last decade. I could see that the future is in web applications, but lacked the time and infrastructure necessary to develop a real 'Web 2.0' application. In the past three weeks I've written three interactive web apps; my first ever was created within 48 hours of first logging in to the Google Mashup Editor (GME). The experience has completely changed my view of online software development.

The WA Petrol Price Map took less than two days of tinkering. I wrote about my experiences, and that initial excitement hasn't worn off. Encouraged by my early success I tried something a little more ambitious - Earthquake!. It's driven mostly by JavaScript rather than GME tags but I still take advantage of the portable development environment and let Google take care of the hosting and bandwidth for the finished product. My latest project, My Travel Map, makes use of most of the GME tags to provide users with lots of AJAX powered interactive lists and input forms.

The GME provides an online development environment, but by hosting the result it can also provide me with a web server, database, and bandwidth for free. It gives us as developers:
  • A portable development environment. As long as you can find an Internet connection you can develop and deploy a fully interactive web app at no cost --even without owning a computer.
  • Excellent support for RSS data feeds and integration into lists and maps. Creating a maps mashup based on feeds is so easy it's embarrassing.
  • A data storage framework for defining and save 'per user' and 'per application' data structures.
  • Free hosting for your finished application, taking care of all the back end infrastructure and bandwidth.
  • Free 'widgets' (called tags) for interactive web controls like lists, date pickers, and input forms -no need to know complex JavaScript.
If Google continues to develop this tool and others like it, it won't be long before anyone with the desire can dive into full scale web development without a second thought. To get there, I'd like to see the Google Mashup Editor become a genuine online development environment

My Wish List:
  • Better code formatting.
  • Code completion and context sensitive help.
  • All the widgets currently available in the Google Web Toolkit available as GME tags.
  • Better maps functionality so that I don't have to use Javascript quite so much.
  • Tight integration with Google's existing data APIs -- I'd love to see a GME client library for all the gData API's, like Picasaweb, Calendar, and Documents.
  • Ability to use the GME as the development tool for all online Google code, including Maplets and Gadgets.
  • Ability to publish to my own domain similar to the way Blogger allows.
My biggest wish is to be able to expand user permission controls so that my users can control access to their entered data. When users can share the data they've entered, then everyone can put their trips in My Travel Map and share read-only access to the trips they enter with their friends and family.

I could go on and on; the possibilities are endless. If you've always wanted to write a web application but haven't had the confidence or the resources, the Google Mashup Editor may be the place to start.