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In late 2012 I got an email from a book publisher author with a proposal to author a book. They have found me through my blog and linked a blog post I wrote back in 2009 on ArcGIS Server technology. I accepted their offer and wrote the book and 3 others that followed.
This makes me question, why did I write that original blog post? I didn’t know that one day a publisher will google that technology and find my post and make me an offer to write a book. I can’t remember why exactly I wrote that post but I knew that I was having fun doing it. Sharing my experience with the world through this writing always felt good to me.
Today, I decided to re-live the experience of writing a book. However, no publisher is backing up this book. This book is written from the heart, full of joy, from me to you. It is a brain dump of what I think will be a very beneficial work for you guys.
As of the time of writing this preface, I did not pick a title of this book. And I’m feeling good about this. I know the topic and I can imagine how the book will look like. However, I feel that picking a title will force my thoughts through a narrow path and thus limit the potential of what this book could be. Obviously, if you are reading this that means I have already picked a title.
Traditional technology books discuss tools. “This is how to load a web map in a browser”. “This is how to query the rest endpoint”. “This is how to render a 3d map”. You get a catalog of tools and what they do. There is nothing wrong with this format. In fact, it is a good reference. However, you don’t get any context when reading such books to take action and build something. It is like learning what is a hammer, nail and screwdriver does but these tools are useless if no one shows you how to build a table using these tools.
I like to write my books by example, where I build an app and in the process explain the various tools I’m planning to use to build this app. Personally, I feel this is a better way of learning as it gives context.
I hope you enjoy this book.
What are we building in this book ?
We will be building a web mapping application from scratch. For tourists, we are building an app that helps users locate landmarks. The app shows the landmarks in a map such as libraries, cafes, restaurants schools and much more. It has a search capability to search for landmarks where they will be highlighted on the map. It also shows the nearby landmarks within specific miles from current location. So you can answer interesting questions such as show me all libraries within 100 feet of this coffee shop or are there any liquor stores within a mile from this school? I will be providing you with the sample data which I created myself, this data is not real it is just sample. All we need is to write the application. The app will run on both mobile and desktop.
Don’t worry if this seems like a lot. We will break down those functionalities into different chapters and slowly walk through each.
Who this book is written for?
Anyone interested in learning how to build a web mapping application. Basic programming knowledge is recommended but not required. I will explain all that is required as we go through the book.
All you need on your machine is a text editor to write code and a web server to serve the static files. I will be using Node JS as a web server and Visual Studio Code as the text editor. We will take care of the download and installation of those two in chapter 1.