Review of Learning Bing Maps API

It is a pleasure to see this title appear because I have been developing with MapPoint and Bing Maps (nee Virtual Earth) for many years, but as an author too, I am aware how sensitive reviews are, so I am keen that any criticism should be constructive. My first impression is that it is slim at about 100 pages, but it does cover some very useful areas. The downloadable code is very useful but seems to be the draft version in parts, even being titled as such, and I did add my own Bing Maps developer credentials rather than use the ones left in the text.

First, here is the book link http://www.packtpub.com/learning-bing-maps-api/book, and the chapter titles. I used Visual Studio 2013 to test the code and ran it in Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox on Windows 8.1.

Learning Bing Maps API Chapter 1: Introduction to Bing Maps AJAX Control Version 7
Chapter 2: Diving into Bing Maps AJAX Control Version 7
Chapter 3: Introduction to Bing Maps REST Services
Chapter 4: Diving into Bing Maps REST Services
Chapter 5: Spatial Data Services
Chapter 6: Diving into Spatial Data Services
Chapter 7: Enriching Bing Maps with Overlaying User Data
   

So, chapter 1 is quite straight forward, and gets you up and running with the Bing Maps AJAX control, and chapter 2 introduces the basic drawing of polygons. I would have like to have seen this example extended to clearly show the differences between Pushpin, Polyline and Polygon, and seen how to make draggable handles.

Chapter 3 moves into using ASP.NET MVC, not my strong point, so it is useful to have an introduction into an acceptable programming style. The example code runs ok, but then I hit problems with running chapter 4 code because the css file from the previous chapter remained cached. Thus, the stated changes did not got applied, until I realised what was happening, and clicked the browser refresh! Mea culpa.

Well, by now I am over halfway through the book…

Chapter 5 and 6 will be useful, if I need to use the Spatial Data Services, but chapter 7 gets into the area that I am most likely to use, overlaying user data.

I think the book is certainly useful, and I am glad I have it, but I do think it is light on detail on some functionality that Bing Maps API has to offer. It could have mentioned the Bing Maps Interactive SDK at http://www.bingmapsportal.com/ISDK/AjaxV7, for example. It could also have pointed the reader to an overview of Bing Maps technology at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd877180.aspx.

Addendum:

Not long after I posted this blog, Ricky Brundritt announced the release of his FREE e-book about Bing Maps -  http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/free-ebook-location-intelligence-for-windows-store-apps/

Not only does Ricky’s book cover the topic in more depth, it is amazingly FREE. Microsoft must be paying him too much Smile

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