[OSGeo-Discuss] Mapbuilder status report, March 2007
cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Wed Mar 21 03:47:12 PDT 2007
MapBuilder^ <http://communitymapbuilder.org> is a powerful, standards
compliant and FREE geographic mapping client which runs in a web
browser. It renders raster maps from WMS, Google Maps and more, and
vector layers from WFS, GeoRSS and GML. It even offers feature editing
to WFS-T. Mapbuilder is often described as a web based toolkit, or
framework, that allows a developer to insert a selection of widgets into
a web page. Eg: MapPanes, FeatureLists, Navigation tools, Style Editors
Over the last year, the three leading browser based mapping clients,
Mapbuilder^ <http://communitymapbuilder.org>, OpenLayers^
<http://openlayers.org> and MapBender^ <http://www.mapbender.org> have
been actively working together sharing ideas and code. In particular,
OpenLayers is currently being inserted into Mapbuilder as a rendering
engine. Our latest release, mapbuilder-1.5apha1 includes an OpenLayers
renderer and our next release will complete the integration by linking
Mapbuilder and Openlayers tools.
OpenLayers focuses on rendering a MapPane. Mapbuilder extends this to
offer extra widgets like Style Layer Descriptor (SLD) Editors, Time
Series Web Map Services, processing Web Map Context (WMC) documents and
Mapbuilder developers are now contributing to the OpenLayers codebase
when adding core Mapping functionality.
Merging code between projects is difficult emotionally as much as
technically. The catalyst for the Mapbuilder/OpenLayers merge was that
there were four different projects developing vector rendering using
SVG/VML at the end of 2006. After much discussion we agreed to work
together on the same code base. This meant that each of us had to throw
away ~ 3/4 of our original code. In the short term, this meant some
extra effort from all of us, but in the long term, we will all benefit
from the merger. We will have more developers maintaining the same code
base and users will be less confused when trying to pick a client.
Developers who throw away code feel a strong sense of loss of status and
credibility. Credit goes to those who were flexible enough to throw away
their code and also to the developers who were generous in their
acknowledgments of past works.
Internally, Mapbuilder stores its map data inside a Context document.
Initially we used to use a Web Map Context (WMC) document which
describes a list of WMS layers. However, the WMC doesn't allow you to
insert other layers, like WFS, GML, GeoRSS, Google Maps, etc.
In mapbuilder-1.5alpha1 we support OWS Context (currently an OGC draft
document) which extends WMC to include multiple layers types. This
improves the structure of our code and configuration files, as well as
continuing with our support of OGC Standards. The 1.5 branch will
stablise over the next few months with release candidates and then final
Mapbuilder graduated through the Open Source Geospatial Foundation
(OSGeo) incubation process in October 2006 making the second and most
recent project to graduate. Graduation turned out to be a lengthy
process involving auditing code and tidying up development processes.
However compared to other projects going through graduation, Mapbuilder
is young and had less history to dig through, which is why were one of
the first projects to graduate (after Mapbender).
Association with OSGeo was a positive move for Mapbuilder popularity.
Mapbuilder downloads doubled in the month after OSGeo was created with
Mapbuilder as one of the founding projects.
In summary, Mapbuilder continues to have a healthy developer and user
base, it has a stable codebase, good development processes and a healthy
future ahead of it.
Full details, including metrics at:
Systems Architect, http://lisasoft.com.au
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5011
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
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