Google Map Geocoding – Now for the UK!!!

17 07 2007

One of the projects I have been working on recently required Google Maps to be integrated into the Store Locator for the site. Based on some preliminary reading this didn’t seem like it would be too much trouble. Little did I know!

This isn’t going to be a post detailing how to go about adding Google Map functionality to you site as there are already plenty of posts about this out there. Check out Tom Taylor, Andre Lewis or Juxie’s posts just to name a few. This post is solely to help others avoid the problems I have had.

Initially when adding the Google Maps functionality the Google geocoding for UK addresses and post codes verging on the unusable. For this reason I opted to use Yahoo’s  geocoding as it offered accurate results. Or so I thought. All seemed to be well until every now and again anomolies would pop up, with stores appearing upto half a mile away from their actual location. This was due to Yahoo not recognising the whole address provided and defaulting to a “nearby location”. Obviously this is not good enough for if customers are going to use the store locator to find its stores.

Luckily, while I was troubleshooting this matter today I stumbled across a post by Pamela Fox stating that Google have released a new Map API to works with UK post codes and addresses! Excellent! Since Geokit, the plugin I use to carry out the geocoding, supports Google out of the box I just needed to change a few lines of code, tinker about a little with my geocoding functions and hey presto! A full working, acurate UK compatible Google Mapping service🙂.

For those that are interested, I used Geokit for geocoding and Ym4r_gm plugins to achieve Google Map integration.





Embedding SWF Files in Rails

19 06 2007

For anyone else wondering how to do this. I found a really good tutorial by Cliff Rowley. Its here if you want to take a look. I would highly recommend it





Non-Persistant Models – BaseWithoutTable

18 06 2007

I recently wanted to create a simple email the took a name, email address and a message, and then send me an email. I then though to myself, this doesn’t look to be possible using the standard Rails MVC conventions. After a little googling I turned up this and a basic tutorial on how to use it here.

These are basically the steps :

1. Install the plugin

script/install http://svn.viney.net.nz/things/rails/plugins/active_record_base_without_table/

2. Create your controllers models and views as normal.

3. In your model you need to extend ActiveRecord with BaseWithoutTable rather than just Base.

class ModelName < ActiveRecord::BaseWithoutTable  column :name, :string
  column :email_address, :string
  column :subject, :string
  column :message, :text

  validates_presence_of :name, :email_address, :subject, :string
  validates_format_of :email_address, :with => /^([^@s]+)@((?:[-a-z0-9]+.)+[a-z]{2,})$/i
  validates_length_of :email_address, :within => 5..255
end

4. …and the rest is as normal…

Enjoy, it certainly save me a lot of bother.





Where’s WordPress.com gone?

8 10 2005

Last night (23.45 gmt) I attempted to access my wordpress.com admin page
so that I could pour forth some more aimless rambling onto these pages,
where upon I discovered that WordPress.com was no where to be seen!!

Apparently WordPress.com were experiencing some technical difficulties:

“We are currently experiencing technical difficulties, our
technicians are looking into the problem. Please check
back soon”

After a quick look on Technorati I found a blog post (only four
hours old att) talking about the instability of wordpress.com. After
some more searching for blogs regarding this problem, I stumbled upon a
rather opinionated post talking about Scoble moving his
world famous scobleizer blog right here to WordPress.com.

If Mobile Phone Fan is to be believed, then surely Scoble wouldn’t be moving his prestigious blog to this great site?

I for one have had no prior problem with WordPress.com and I hope it stays
that way.

I would also like to welcome Scoble to WordPress.com and hope
you keep up the great blog, I am an avid reader.

Technorati Tags: Scoble, WordPress, WordPress.com





Uploading Pictures in WordPress

4 10 2005

Brilliant!! I’m not sure whether I missed this initially, or whether this new feature of WordPress,
but it is very handy.

There is a now a nice quick and easy way to upload and add pictures to your WordPress blog.

To upload a picture to display in a post, all you have to do is:

– Click on write a new post then scroll to just below the Post
text box and you will notice a tool bar (see picture below)

Upload

– Click on Upload Photo
– In the Image: test box enter the path to the image required, alternatively click browse.
– Then click Browse Attached to display the uploaded image(s)
– Drag and drop the image to the required position in the post and resize as appropriate.

I’m sure you would all have found it easily enough, but I thought I’d
share such a useful tool anyway





Webiste as employee…….?

2 10 2005

The other day I recieved my first coursework assignment of the year😦. Actaully
this particular coursework looks rather interesting.

We have to design a report and paper-based tool that can help people, with
relatively low knowledge of IT, to analyse the trust of any given website.
While looking some literature in this area I came across a 37Signals post that
talks about how your website should be your best employee.

“Your site should be your best employee. It should be the most knowledgeable,
most polite, friendliest, and most useful member of your team. It should have the
best grasp of language and the ability to clearly explain who it is and why it’s
there to help you. It should especially have good people skills.

Almost all the talk about user personas ignores the most important persona:
The site persona. Your site is the one employee that meets, greets, and helps
more of your customers than any other person on your team — and probably
by a factor of ten thousand.”

I don’t know about you, but I had never thought of a website in these terms, this
info will definetally come in usefull with any further website design/analysis that
I may partake in.





Web 2.0 Directory

30 09 2005

After reading Seth Godin’s post about Emily Chang’s e-hub I
checked it out.

Congrat’s Emily on this excellent site!! A must do for anyone that would
like a chance to try and keep up with Web 2.0 developments!

Definetally a welcome addition to my blog roll