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Mapping Sheets add-on update: No more Public folder is required

posted Apr 25, 2016, 5:54 AM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated May 17, 2016, 9:35 AM ]
In summary, starting from version 1.301sv32 (published on May.03, 2016) the add-on folder (xsMapping) within your Google Drive account, no longer requires to be publicfor hosting the mapping webpage and your data files.

The common mapping.html webpage is now in a public hosting, while your data files (those *.json files) remain within the xsMapping folder in your own Google Drive account, but that doesn't require to be public anymore.

That's it.

Now the details, if you want to read further (no need for most of the users though)

First, the potential issues
  1. After updating to this new version, you have to Build your map again, because the previous json data files won't work on the new mapping web page.

  2. If you are logged in your browser using multiple Google accounts, you might not be able to see your data in the map. Please, be sure you are logged in using only one account, if that happens. Or alternative, you can share the xsMapping folder (or the specific json data file there) with all those accounts you are using on the same browser session, so any of those accounts has access.

  3. If you want to share your map with others, you have to share the xsMapping folder (or the specific json data file there) with those other users, or make it Public if you want to be accessible by anyone.

  4. The mapping page in current update is not working in some instances of Safari browser (we have so far about 5 reported cases). We still don't know the cause, but looks like Safari does something different to the other browsers.
    These are the solutions that have worked so far for some users:
     a) Follow the instructions suggested by Apple in this post
     b) Share xsMapping folder (or the specific json data file there) as Public

  5. Any custom icon images per user (those you might have defined in Icons sheet), without explicit full URL path, will not longer show up. This is because the actual mapping html page is no longer in your Google Drive, so there is no relative URL path going there.
    If you are among the few using this advanced feature, you need to provide the full URL path to your custom icon images (see below some hints on how to do that)

  6. Any previously bookmarked map webpage link will stop working after you build a new map .json file, because the data file format has changed a bit. This will include the cases, when you have embedded the mapping page in another website.
    You need to modify / update the mapping webpage link to the new URL you would see when viewing a new built map in your browser.

  7. Even though it's not an actual issue, we want to mention that in the first loading of this new version, we are updating the sharing settings on xsMapping folder from Public, back to the default Private. This however, won't change any specific users sharing you have created for that folder.

  8. We are not aware of any other issues so far, however we might have overlooked some specific scenarios in the way you are using this add-on. We are updating this post as we learn from your feedback. Thanks for your valuable support.

    open a support ticket if you have any other problem.

The background story
  1. When this add-on was first published in 2014, among the few secure and free of maintenance options, to host the add-on mapping page, we chose using each user's Google Drive as the web host, just to keep everything within each user Google account.

  2. Starting on Aug.31-2016, hosting and serving web pages from a public Google Drive folder or file will be discontinued and will stop working, as explained in this Google announcement from last year.

Hints on working out the potential issues
  1. Custom icon images require full URL path to a qualified web host, preferable with https, as explained above.

    If you have something like this in your Icons sheet, within any spreadsheet
    AccessoriesBlue{ "url":"icons/my-blue-icon.png"}

    You need to use a full URL path. See some options / hints below:

    a) Hosting your custom icon images in a website you own (recommended)
    AccessoriesBlue{ "url":""}

    b) Keeping your custom icon images hanging from xsMapping folder (valid until Aug.31, 2016). You'd need to set the xsMapping folder sharing back to public in the web, for this to work.
    AccessoriesBlue{ "url":""}

    c) Keeping your custom icon images hanging from xsMapping folder and using an export option. This might not cache the images, slowing down the map loading (avoid if possible). You'd need to set the xsMapping folder sharing back to public or at least by link, for this to work.
    AccessoriesBlue{ "url":""}

  2. Bookmarked (favorites or embedded) mapping page links need a URL update, to the new path and parameter.
    Just build a new map (Build button), then click on View button and get the URL of the mapping webpage.