Today is a big day for Bing Maps fans who have been eagerly awaiting their chance to strut their stuff in the Bing Map App Gallery. Beginning today, developers can download the Bing Map App SDK and start building, testing and submitting applications to Bing Maps to be featured in the gallery.
"OMG! Where do I go to get it??"
To access the Bing Map App SDK, login to Microsoft Connect at http://connect.microsoft.com/bingmapapps (you’ll need a Live ID, so make sure you have one). Download the SDK which comes with a Bing Map App template and start cranking away on your project in Visual Studio (note: the Bing Maps site was upgraded to Silverlight 4 – read more about the changes to Bing Maps). Once you’ve created your application, you can test it on the site itself. That’s right! The developer sandbox is the actual site. You simply need to go to http://www.bing.com/maps/explore/?developer=1&preview=1, click the map apps button and you’ll unlock our secret map app test tool.
The Bing Map App Test Tool is what you need to test your applications prior to submission to Bing Maps for display and use in the Map Apps Gallery. To use the Bing Map App Test Tool you’ll need to append "?Developer=1" to the Bing Maps URL which will load a specific catalog of Bing Map Apps. Click the Map Apps button and select the tool. To test your application, you’ll need to load all of your plug-in by clicking the "Choose Plug-in Assemblies" button. Then, click the "Add Supporting Assemblies" button to and load your supporting assemblies. When complete, select Next and Bing Maps will verify the build. Provide a name, description and a set of optional parameters describing your map app. To submit your application, login into The Bing Maps Portal at http://www.bingmapsportal.com/. Click the "Submit a map app" link. Complete the form with map app name, description, publisher, select custom map app, choose an icon for your map app and attached your assemblies all zipped up. Agree to the Bing map app submission addendum, then click submit. Your application will be reviewed, so check the status on the portal until it’s published.
In the spirit of our Bing Map App SDK release, we’ve also published 2 new map apps from external developers â Weather by Weatherbug and EveryScape by Everscape.
The Weather Map App from WeatherBug brings 3 layers of weather information to Bing Maps. Enable the Weather Map App and by default you’ll see all 3 layers enabled – (1) U.S. Doppler Images, Worldwide Satellite and WeatherBug Stations. Clicking on a station pin will bring up the current temperature, the heat index, the high and low for the day, date and time of last update and wind speed and direction. In the left hand navigation, you’ll find web cams set up for some locations and a 2 day forecast for the respective area. You can turn off any of the 3 layers if you want to limit the data in view. Tie this app with WorldWide Telescope to see if the weather will be permitting to get a glance up at the stars. Or, maybe the Local Events app to see if tonight you consider an outdoor concert venue to something indoor. Lots of cool implications for having a weather layer on Bing Maps.
The EveryScape Eats for Bing by EveryScape, Inc. map app brings panoramic photos inside restaurants in the Boston, MA area. Firing up the map app will center the map on Boston and load 10 restaurants on the map. Select a restaurant to get a preview image of what’s inside. Click the "Step Inside" link and up will pop a 360 degree panorama inside the venue. For some locations there is also an option to view the outside. Load up the Everyscape Eats for Bing Map App alongside the Twitter Maps app to see what people are tweeting about from within the bar. Or, load the foursquare Everywhere map app to see if earning your Swarm badge is worth cramming into a large or small venue.
And, lastly, if you think you’ve got a killer app you should vie for the title â King of Bing Maps. We’re holding a contest for the best Bing Map Apps and the winner will be dubbed the King of Bing Maps. Check out the contest web site for more details @ http://www.kingofbingmaps.com/.
Plus, Ben Lemmon (Bing Maps Dev) was nice enough to author a blog post and sample application for you to jumpstart your application development. Check out his post on the Bing Developer’s Blog. And, just for those of you who are developing applications and get stuck, we’ve built a Bing Map App Developer Forum just for you on the Bing Community site.
Hopefully, the release of the Bing Map App SDK and these apps will inspire you to get coding and add your application to Bing Maps!
Follow me @BingMaps, ^CP