[Mapbender-dev] Re: Google Summer of Code

Christoph Baudson christoph.baudson at wheregroup.com
Fri Mar 28 10:49:40 EDT 2008


I really appreciate the time and work you have spent so far. Hopefully 
your application will be successful. Please let me know if there is 
anything else that I can do for you. I'm thrilled to hear that you are 
applying to work on Mapbender.

I hope you don't mind that I cc this mail to the mapbender developer 
list. Maybe someone has an insightful comment on your ideas.

Find my answers to your questions inline:

Len Kne schrieb:
> Christoph
> While working on the Web 2.0 styling sounds like a lot of fun, I am leaning
> towards proposing to work on the administrative modules; work on these
> modules would provide immediate help to our project as well.  I think back a
> year to when I first saw Mapbender's admin interface and how tough it was to
> figure out.  But as you said, once it is mastered, it works quite well.  
> I wonder if Mapbender users can be divided into two groups.  The first group
> are the power users who create interfaces and want full control of all of
> the modules.  The other group of users want to have a couple set
> applications to choose from, but make some minor modifications, such as
> styling (colors) and maybe add or remove a module.  They may be using
> Mapbender as a service setup by a power user.  I think the GeoMOOSE project
> is trying to address the needs of this second group, although their
> administration module consists of using a text editor, which can be tough
> for the casual user. 
> Thus a two tiered administration module could be helpful.  I guess that
> approach is already somewhat in place with the different administration
> modules.  My though is a tabbed approach where some of the basic settings
> are immediately accessible and the user would have to drill down further for
> more involved changes.  You had mention an application that would use a drag
> and drop approach to placing modules.  Having a frame with an example of
> what the GUI would look like while making configuration changes would be
> great.  This would be very helpful, but I have no idea how hard that would
> be to implement.  It seems like it could real affect the core of Mapbender.

I guess it would not be too hard. You would only have to deal with the 
data model. For the client side, you could use jQuery-Plugins for Drag 
and Drop. But this is just an idea and not required, however, it would 
be an eye-catcher!

> I guess changes to the admin modules are likely going to have some affect on
> other modules.  For example, if there was an easy method to globally change
> a color scheme, different modules apply color style differently (element
> variables vs. style attributes in the div like navFrame).  Would it be
> necessary to make some of these modules consistent?

I guess you could pretty much create a single CSS file and use it for 
all admin modules. What would be nice was, if some refactoring could be 
done to the admin module scripts. Most are still "scripts", which means 
that there is hardly any reusable code (classes). For example, there is 
no PHP class for the entity "user". Having more reusable code would make 
Mapbender more stable and easier to improve. Again, I would not require 
you to do it.
> The logic of user management in Mapbender works well, some help with the
> interface would be helpful for the second group of casual users.  One change
> that would be helpful for our project would be to allow groups to be members
> of other groups.

This sounds promising. I would love to see that happen.
> I guess that's the ideas I have now.  I'm guessing the Mapbender developers
> have many ideas about what the administration modules should look like.  It
> would be good to get all the ideas from developers and maybe the Mapbender
> user forum about what they would like to see.  Then design a plan and make
> it happen.  I'll sum all this up and get a proposal on to the GSoC website.
> Thanks
> Len
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christoph Baudson [mailto:christoph.baudson at wheregroup.com] 
> Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 5:54 AM
> To: Len Kne
> Subject: Re: Google Summer of Code
> Hello Len,
> thank you very much for contacting us. We are thrilled to hear you are
> interested in joining Mapbender in this year's Summer of Code.
> Len Kne schrieb:
>> Christoph
>> My name is Len Kne and I am interested in working with the Mapbender 
>> project this summer.  I am working on a Master of Geographic 
>> Information Science at the University of Minnesota and have been a 
>> Mapbender user since March 2007; working on a project called Minnesota
>> Interactive Internet Mapping (MIIM).   MIIM is a web-based application 
>> that introduces K-12 and post-secondary students to principles of 
>> geography and GIS.  More information about MIIM is at 
>> http://maps.umn.edu and about me at 
>> http://mgis.umn.edu/people/facExpStudents.php?UID=knex0001.
>> I am not an experienced programmer, although I have been able to make 
>> small modifications when needed.  I've made several small changes to 
>> Mapbender to fit our needs, for example to include the overview window 
>> in the map frame and changes to save digitized features directly to 
>> Postgres.  This term I am in an internet programming class which is 
>> giving me the needed foundation to understand JavaScript, AJAX and XML 
>> (GML now makes some sense too).
>> Looking at the Mapbender GSoC ideas, several of them match work that I 
>> am interested in.  Working on the administration modules is of great 
>> interest to our project.  A feature we are wanting to add to MIIM is 
>> the ability for a teacher to open a web form and easily customize the 
>> gui/module/application.  One of the primary reasons we selected 
>> Mapbender was its use of Postgres to store the configuration, thus 
>> making updates fairly straight forward.  I even started to setup a 
>> simple GUI for end user management that works okay.  I envision an 
>> administrative module that is hierarchical, allowing end users (in our 
>> case teachers) to have some simple functions and administrators to 
>> have additional tabs with more functionality.
> This sounds interesting, can you please elaborate? Do you mean create an
> application, for example by adding buttons and moving them around via mouse
> dragging? Or adding a map frame and position and resize it? This would
> definitely be nice. The current way (edit gui elements) is a little
> complicated, but actually very flexible if you mastered to understand the
> horribly crude UI ;-)
> Can you please also elaborate on the user management component? What exactly
> is which user allowed to do and what not? We would need to integrate this in
> the Mapbender logic, and hopefully make it a core Mapbender module.
> Anyway, working on the administrative side is highly welcome and badly
> needed.
>> I am also quite interested in the implementation of Web 2.0 graphics 
>> into Mapbender (I like the fisheye menu on the MB home page).  People 
>> using MIIM have expressed a desire for a more modern look.  This could 
>> also help with the limited screen real estate by not needing to 
>> leaving space for query results or use of pop-up windows.  I will be 
>> working with the jQuery framework and AJAX in the internet programming 
>> class I am currently taking.
> Yes, Mapbender doesn't look very much up to date. We would like to change
> that as well, any ideas are welcome. Did you see our experiments with
> balloon style pop-ups (which are actually div-tags) at
> http://www.mapbender.org/Mapbender_Development_Sprint_March2008 ?.
> However, I guess this is not top priority for us, but of course important.
> Please let us know if you have additional ideas.
>> I've seen talk on the listserv about using OpenLayers within 
>> Mapbender.  Not sure I have a grasp on what this would look like, but 
>> some of the navigation functions within OpenLayers are quite nice.
> This would basically be an OL client, but it's configuration would have been
> done by Mapbender. I'm not experienced in OL, but I assume you configure it
> either by writing JavaScript code or sending a configuration via XML.
> Mapbender could write that XML in respect to the data in its database. For
> example, instead of a module "mapframe1" 
> Mapbender could have an "OpenLayers" module for displaying its WMS. But you
> can imagine, that this would require to really dig deep into the Mapbender
> core.
>> Finally, we have been wanting to add more GIS tools to MIIM.  This 
>> ranges from simple buffer and overlay (or any of the other spatial 
>> functions in PostGIS), to the ability to set/change classes in a 
>> choropleth map.  I've been looking at how SLD could be used to set 
>> class colors/styles in a choropleth map, but have not gotten past the 
>> idea stage with this topic.
> Mapbender 2.5 will feature some SLD stuff, although I have to admit I'm not
> sure about the status. I think it will contain some kind of SLD editor for
> WMS.
> Additional GIS functions sound very interesting as well. Please elaborate on
> this topic.
>> My question after this lengthy background is if there is specific 
>> information the mentors of Mapbender would like to see in an GSoC 
>> application?  Is it best to split these ideas into several proposals 
>> or as one idea?
> I think we should not address too many different things here. I would rather
> suggest that we pick one or maybe two ideas and really build a solid,
> detailled module.
> Please contact me again, and please elaborate a little on your ideas, they
> sound promising. I will share these ideas with the Mapbender PSC and we will
> agree on a topic asap. In fact, you may even contact the Mapbender
> development list directly, register here
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/mapbender_dev
>> Thanks for your consideration
> I'm very excited about your ideas and I would be very happy if we could work
> something out. If you want to talk directly, please join us at IRC at
> freenode (channel is #mapbender).
> Thank you very much for your time
> Christoph
>> Len Kne


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