Until recently, our docs have focused on describing features rather than telling a story. We chatted to some developers and came up with a new design for our tutorials. We’d love to know what you think of them.

Developers tell us they want quick, straightforward guides on how to integrate the Google Maps APIs into their app. The most common thing people want to do is to add a map with a marker. Just show me how to do that.

Developers are also looking for complete, step-by-step tutorials for the most common use cases. Guides that go all the way from a to z, with no deviations.

And they want code. Front and foremost. All the code.

Here are some examples of the new-look tutorials:

Each tutorial provides the entire development project, especially useful for the native mobile APIs. The doc page goes hand in hand with a new sample app on GitHub. For example, here’s the code for the current place tutorial on Android.

Each page includes a visual illustration of what you’ll achieve by following the tutorial. A working demo is ideal (such as the visualizing data tutorial for the Google Maps JavaScript API), otherwise a screenshot (as we’ve done for the native mobile APIs).

We want to make it easy for developers to find the guides. So, we’re adding tutorial showcases to the API overview pages. To date we’ve created the showcases for Android, iOS, and JavaScript. We’re also collecting together all the tutorials for the Maps JavaScript API in one place.

We’ve made a good start, but there’s plenty of change still to come. What would you like to see more of? Are we on the right track? The tech writing team would love your ideas—please add comments to this post.

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Posted by Sarah Maddox, Technical Writer, Google Maps APIs

Polygons, polylines and ground overlays are useful tools to make your maps work for your users. Today we are rolling out even more custom styling and data object association features in the Google Maps Android API to further help you customize your maps.

Style your shapes: polygons and polylines

We brought custom map styling to mobile platforms last year to help you match your map styles to your brands, apps, and more. We've seen hot pink, cool silver (shown in screenshots below), and everything in between, helping users feel at home and see what's relevant in your maps. Now we're expanding styling options for polygons and polylines, allowing you to use new stroke patterns for outlines, different caps and joints, and more, on Android devices.
Your shape, your style. Now on Android

Now you have plenty of options to customize your shapes. You can change the stroke patterns in polylines and polygon outlines from solid lines to custom dashes, dots, or gaps. In polylines and polygons, you can use a bevel or round joint type rather than fixed miter joints. You can also change the cap at each end of a polyline to a square or round cap, or even specify a custom bitmap for the cap. Have a favorite fancy arrowhead you've always wanted to put in? Do it–let your imagination run wild!
Get your styles in line. Now on Android.

Learn how to set and customize these new styles in our new polyline and polygon tutorial or dive straight into the documentation to get started—check out the stroke patterns, for example. Note that these new styling features are available in the full Google Maps Android API only, not in lite mode.

Store custom data with polygons, polylines, and ground overlays

Until today, you could only store data objects with markers. We're extending this functionality to polygons, polylines, circles, and ground overlays. This means you can extend your geometry objects to have any kind of data or properties you want. You no longer need to manage your data associations to your mapping visualizations–nobody enjoys writing that code anyway. For example, if you supply a set of ground overlays showing home floor plans you could store a database reference with each one. The database can contain anything! It could hold real estate listings, and you could open one of those listing URLs on click.

For further information, review our release notes.

Thank you for using the Google Maps Android API! Be sure to share your feedback or any issues in the issue tracker.

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Posted by Joel Kalmanowicz, Product Manager, Google Maps APIs