[Mapbender-dev] Roadmap

Christoph Baudson (Wheregroup) christoph.baudson at wheregroup.com
Fri Oct 30 04:56:38 EDT 2009

We don't really have a roadmap. We talked about creating one a lot, but 
we never came         around to actually doing it. I think it's time we 
should create a roadmap, follow it, and make it transparent to our 
users. We should make retrospectives at least every three months to see 
what we have accomplished.

Please allow me to show you a roadmap that is guided by my impressions.

(1) Improve visual appearance

Mapbender looks just like it did five years ago. Users out there don't 
know that the technology under the hood has improved tremendously in 
these five years. It seems like Mapbender is a GIS antique shop from the 
good old Web 1.0 days. I propose we improve the appearance by these steps

(a) rely more on the jQuery library

it has a lot of interesting plugins, like tablesorters. It also offers a 
lot of unobtrusive effects. jQuery UI has a lot more of these plugins we 
should use, for example use their tabs module instead of our own. By 
this we remove code from Mapbender and make it leaner and easier to 

(b) adopt the jQuery UI style conventions

I've written about this in a previous mail. We should use their class 
definitions and map them to our existing modules. People could create 
themes with the jQuery UI theme roller. Again, this will also make 
Mapbender easier to configure, and easier to maintain.

(c) a new logo

it's already in the make, but it should be finished soon. Could be used 
in a nice default splash screen.

(d) possibly implement the pseudo slippy map. The Mapbender map is 
considered old-fashioned as well. It could be updated to a pseudo slippy 
map, a proof of concept exists. The OpenLayers viewer for untiled WMS is 
not spectacular either.

(2) Allow other map clients

we should be able to allow other mapping clients, in order to allow 
tiled maps as well. I see these options

(a) map Mapbender API to Openlayers API. By this, the Mapbender and the 
OL client could be made interchangable. However, the OpenLayers API is 
huge and the question is where to stop. I assume this would be the hard way.

(b) use Mapstraction. The Mapstraction library comes with a code 
template you have to fill with an adapter to your map client for each 
API function. The set of functions is not so big, and could be finished 
in reasonable amount of time. However, not all functionality is covered 
(like adding map services). But we would also be able to display other 
maps like Google or Yahoo without the OpenLayers overhead. Which could 
be nice for smaller apps.

I've omitted other important things like update script or installer, 
basically because I think we should focus on marketing and show what 
Mapbender is capable of, without hurting the eyes of potential users.

I would recommend we create a new folder for modules that have been 
refactored. By this, we would maintain the current status, and still be 
free to make huge changes. I think the Mapbender core is quite stable 
and will not be subject to severe changes.

Storing the modules at another location will allow us to address the 
modules we think most important, and be able to create a stunning new 
application within the next three months. This new application should be 
made public and linked to intensively, in order to attract attention to 
the Mapbender project.

I propose we create the roadmap before the next dev sprint, so we can 
focus on our top prioritiy and not get lost in discussion. We should not 
plan too much and only address the topics we deem most important in 
order to gain momentum and make good progress.

Please contribute to this discussion. This is just my roadmap and maybe 
the project would benefit more from other improvements. Let's talk about 
it and vote before the dev sprint.

Have a nice weekend



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