In the second mapping-related announcement of the morning, MapQuest has introduced a new, Adobe ActionScript API for third party developers to build on. The bottom line is that this new platform will apparently enable richer and more complex mapping applications and mashups. Here’s a sample, mocked up for the announcement: golf course finder (see the drop-down menus and “full screen” option [upper right]).
Here’s how the press release explains it:
Developers can now build rich applications with Adobe® Flex™ or Adobe Flash® software using a true, native API for ActionScript for superior developer productivity without runtime abstraction layers that can slow application performance.
Whether applications require compelling, complex animations and graphics or quickly rendered multitudes of custom points, lines and shapes to display points of interest (POIs), routes or physical boundaries, MapQuest’s API for ActionScript allows developers to tap into the deep capabilities of the MapQuest® platform.
Because Adobe’s Flash Player reaches over 97% of the world’s Internet-enabled desktops1, developers can spend less time focusing on cross-browser support and more time building compelling applications that bring business value.
MapQuest has managed, largely through consumer brand loyalty, to maintain its traffic advantage despite the intensifying maps competition from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. And the MapQuest team, which seemed for some time to watch from the sidelines as others innovated, appears to be much more active now.
I’m not a developer and some of the discussion I had with MapQuest was too technical for me to entirely understand the full range of advantages of the new API. But, as mentioned, it appears to permit a new, richer generation of mashups to be born on using Flash and other Adobe platform tools.