Yesterday, I spoke at the vendor-agnostic Web Development SIG. They’ve started the Google Chronicles series by covering four Google products:

  • Google Analytics/Urchin
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Maps

You can see my slides here:

I’d encourage you to download the presentation though and check out the speaker notes for more information on the screenshots.

Google Analytics and Chrome

I walked the group through getting started with setting up an account for Google Analytics and getting the tracking code on their sites. You’ll notice that my screenshots show 0 data — this is intentional. When Stuart had asked me to speak at the SIG on these topics, I figured I’d add the Analytics code to Cleveland Tech Events specifically for this. He has also scheduled a full meeting in December on web site statistics packages and how we can benefit from them. So if you’re curious about my traffic on Cleveland Tech Events, come on out to the December Web Dev SIG meeting to get an in-depth view of the statistics.

I was also asked to cover Google Chrome, from a web developer’s perspective. I have to admit – the more I looked into Chrome for this presentation, the more I was excited about it. I remember that when it was launched, there was quite a bit of negative feedback. It wasn’t until I saw one of my co-workers with it on his desktop that I started considering it. Now, it’s one of the many browsers that I test for my websites. Everything in my slides on Google Chrome comes with the default installation – I did not have anything extra installed for those features to work. The Web Inspector, Resource Tracker, Script Debugger, and Task Manager are all part of the Google Chrome base. (And yes, I did change my default search engine in Chrome to bing, and I did get a little teasing for it. It just goes to show that you can set your default search engine in Chrome to your choice of search engine – Google, Yahoo, bing, Dogpile, Metacrawler, or {insert your favorite search engine I didn’t list here}.)

Google Calendar

After my talks, Bill Cohen-Kiraly talked to us about Google Calendar. He walked us through the example of setting up a calendar for the Solon band and orchestra practices. He had one calendar for each group, and he showed us how to embed a calendar on our own sites with multiple calendars showing on one calendar. He showed how simple it was to add an appointment to the calendar and how it immediately shows up on the site.

I love Google Calendar! I use Google Calendar for Cleveland Tech Events and even have a calendar for my own personal tracking. My husband and I share the personal calendar, making it easier for him to see when I have presentations and trips scheduled and making it easier for us to make plans with friends and family by checking one calendar rather than having to carry around a paper calendar or maintaining individual calendars. And yes, for those who are curious, I am using Joomla extensions that tie to the Google Calendar for my “Upcoming Events” on Cleveland Tech Events. If you have a Joomla site and need help adding a Google calendar to it, I can help with that!

Google Maps

Finally, Stuart ended the meeting by covering Google Maps. He showed us how to use their Link feature to embed the maps on our sites. Then, he showed us how he customized the maps for Notre Dame College.

For those who are interested, there is a Google Maps mobile app available, if you want to access their maps from your mobile device.

Code Playground

The last thing Stuart showed us was the Code Playground. If you want to work with any of the Google APIs, this is the interactive area to see how it works and tweak the code to your liking.

Conclusion

Being International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we told our hecklers at the beginning that if they heckled, they’d have to walk the plank at the end. Oddly enough, no one had to walk the plank. However, there were some questions and feedback. I really enjoyed meeting them, and I look forward to attending their upcoming meetings.

The upcoming meetings for the Web Development SIG include:

  • October: Color Theory
  • November: Accessibility
  • December: Web Analytics
  • January: Google Chronicles

For more details on the Web Dev SIG, check out their website at: http://www.websigcleveland.org/.