feedback on possible mapserver enhancements

Howard Butler at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 4 12:49:11 EST 2008

On Feb 4, 2008, at 11:15 AM, Daniel Morissette wrote:

> thomas bonfort wrote:
>>>> And last but not least :
>>>> * what would you think of having a wfs-t implementation for  
>>>> mapserver,
>>>> probably at first limited to postgis backends, and based on the
>>>> tinyows project?
>>> A year ago I would have said no, but several times in recent  
>>> months I've had questions
>>> from folks that seem to use WFS-T as a means of selecting their  
>>> web rendering tool. It's
>>> becoming a differentiating feature. I'm not familiar with TinyOWS  
>>> though. Are you
>>> suggesting assimilating TinyOWS?
>> the advantage of this would be to avoid having to deploy another
>> server along side mapserver in order to treat the wfs-t side of an
>> application,as you pointed out. in finality it would mean porting of
>> the tinyows code into mapserver.
> There is so much demand for WFS-T by our users that I am slowly  
> giving up and starting to think that we may have to do WFS-T in the  
> end. Please don't tell anyone that I wrote that. ;) ;)
> I am not sure about integrating TinyOWS code... I have never looked  
> at TinyOWS, but wouldn't a simple merge be messy? How would that fit  
> with existing mapwfs.c code? Could we not just extend the current  
> implementation (and make the necessary architecture changes) to  
> support transactions?

MapServer is not a GIS!  MapServer is not a GIS!  I am not supportive  
at all of implementing WFS-T in MapServer.  What benefit is there to  
be gained by doing so that can't be accomplished by setting up a  
GeoServer instance alongside MapServer?  IMO, it is the best-of-breed  
open source WFS-T that's out there, with tons of momentum and  
development force behind it -- why go to the trouble to re-implement  
it in MapServer?

Technically, one challenge I see for MapServer implementing WFS-T is  
that MapServer apps generally expect to be transient and stateless.   
MapServer does not do well in long running processes (any MapScripter  
who's tried can give you gobs of complaints about this), and it has no  
concept of transactional operations which I think would be very  
challenging to bolt on in any smooth sort of way.

IMO, MapServer should continue to improve upon what it is good at, and  
WFS-T is not something that I think it would be good at without a lot  
of re-engineering (we hate churn, remember?).  With some effort, we  
could have something workable and maybe even functional, but it will  
get nowhere close to what GeoServer has.


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