Google releases free structured markup helper

Structured data in your web pages is a great way to tell Google what’s actually in your site. Rather than forcing their search spider to guess whether a certain block of text is your company’s name, address, or phone number, you can mark it up with special HTML attributes that only search engines will understand. Google will also add this information to its search listings for your site, when it’s relevant to do so.

To encourage webmasters to adopt this, Google has just releasedStructured Data Markup Helper that will slurp up the exact HTML of any page you give it and add structured markup to whatever text you highlight. At the very least, it saves you the trouble of going to their structured data testing tool more than once.

Organizing JavaScript / Writing Testable JavaScript

The Design of Code: Organizing JavaScript” and “Writing Testable JavaScript” are two excellent, not-too-long articles available from alistapart.com today. Do read. (The first article also features a link to the free online book Learning JavaScript Design Patterns by Addy Osmani, which I’m looking forward to reading.

Caching Google Maps geocoding lookups

Google Maps geocoding — the ability to send an AJAX request with a street address and get back a specific latitude and longitude (and lots of other data) in response — is a very useful tool for any number of mapping applications. Best of all, these applications can be written in pure JavaScript — but at a price. Google has strict usage limits for its free geocoding service, which can only be increased for a fee.

However, if your application tends to hit the same addresses over and over again — say, to plot the location of restaurants near your business address — it’s possible to cache these lookups in a database. You’ll still be using Google to look up new addresses, but any user hitting the same address twice in the same day will use your database instead of Google’s service. Continue reading Caching Google Maps geocoding lookups