Live Data is a MapsAlive feature that lets a tour get its content from a server in real-time. It allows you to:
- Display up-to-the-minute-information without having to re-publish your tour
- Manage your content on your server instead of in your tour
Live Data works by making server requests to obtain information from a web service. Server requests and web services are explained in the next two sections. Other sections of this Live Data documentation provide lots of examples and sample code to help you evaluate and try using Live Data to determine if it's something you want to use.
For examples of maps that use Live Data see:
The Live Data feature is included in the Pro Plan
A server request is a request for information made by your map to a server that is located somewhere on the internet. The requested information is what you want the map to display when a user selects a hotspot.
Live Data provides two kinds of server requests. Click the links below for detailed information about each kind.
Throughout this Live Data documentation, the terms "content" and "data" have the following meanings:
- Content is HTML or plain text that can be displayed as-is for a hotspot's content.
- Data is information in a format such as JSON or XML that cannot be displayed as hotspot content until it has been converted to HTML.
A web service is software on a server that returns data in response to a Live Data request. The software is often referred to as a script and is written in a scripting language appropriate for the server. The script receives a Live Data request from your map and responds with the requested data. Live Data requests use the HTTP protocol that is supported universally on the internet.
To use Live Data, you must provide your own web service. To help you evaluate and get started using Live Data, AvantLogic (makers of MapsAlive) provides some demo web services that you can use for evaluation and testing purposes.
If you use another scripting language, the examples can serve as a guide for coding your own scripts in other languages.
When to Use Live Data¶
Use Live Data when your hotpot content is dynamic and/or is maintained remotely.
Dynamic content is not stored in the tour. Instead, the tour requests the information in real-time from a server using the Live Data feature. Each person that views the tour sees the latest information.
When a tour uses Live Data, you:
- Don't need to use the Tour Builder to update hotspot content
- Don't need to re-publish the tour when information changes
- Don't need to re-upload the tour to your server (if you host the tour)
In contrast, static content is information that you manually type or import using the Tour Builder. Static content is stored in the tour's data files and does not change unless you edit it again or re-import it. Each person that views the tour sees the same information every time. Static content is good for data that rarely needs to be updated. When an update is necessary you must:
- Edit or re-import the information using the Tour Builder
- Re-publish the tour
- Re-upload the tour to your server (if you host the tour)
Remote content is information that is stored and maintained remotely. Whether or not that content changes frequently, if you have many tours with a lot of content, and especially if you are hosting tours on your own server, Live Data provides the benefit of maintaining your content on your server instead of in your tours. Using Live Data eliminates the need to edit, re-publish, and re-upload your tours when your content needs to be updated.
MapsAlive provides everything you need to make server requests and handle responses. If you can meet the technical requirements needed to use Live Data, you'll find that it is both powerful and easy to use. This user guide provides lots of examples and sample code to help you get started.