[Mapbender-users] Mapbender revisited (was: [Fwd: [OSGeo-Discuss] End of life for Community Mapbuilder])

Arnulf Christl arnulf.christl at wheregroup.com
Mon Jul 28 12:22:49 EDT 2008

this is interesting news from our sister project (see below). I would like
to build on this (it is a "Community Builder" after all) and develop my
perspective for Mapbender. As it is not really competing with Open Layers
but they are complementing each other rather nicely I think that we should
communicate this better to the outside community.

Mapbender allows for the back end management of services, monitoring,
subscriptions, user and role management, security, logging and a lot more
stuff that are needed to set up and operate large scale geoportals. First
Open Layers interfaces are already popping out of those Mapbender portals
for example at http://www.geoportal.rlp.de - one of the most thorough
Geoportal implementations based on Mapbender.

We should start to collect the relevant bits of information so that we can
come up with a differentiating point of view. There was a start back in 06
in Lausanne at said BoF but it was not much further developed:

This matrix puts Mapbender in the managed/client corner and there it is
still alone. Mapbender has excellent bindings to the server side by
thoroughly supporting all OGC standards and ideas for a close binding to
Open Layers' OLON hav ebeen discussed at the Bolsena Hacking sprint with
Andreas Hocevar (coming from MapBuilder, now GeoServer and OpenLayer).

So I think we are as well positioned as ever and should start to
commnuicate this a bit more. I am hearing way too many confounded
Mapbender versus Open Layers stories, we should try to educate our
communities a bit more.

This as a first reaction from my side, I would be very interested in
hearing other opinions.

Best regards,

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] End of life for Community Mapbuilder
From:    "Cameron Shorter" <cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
Date:    Mon, July 28, 2008 13:02
To:      "mapbuilder-devel" <mapbuilder-devel at lists.sourceforge.net>
         "mapbuilder-users" <mapbuilder-users at lists.sourceforge.net>
         mapbuilder-announce at lists.sourceforge.net
         "OSGeo Discussions" <discuss at lists.osgeo.org>

        End of life for Community Mapbuilder
We, the Mapbuilder Project Steering Committee, have agreed that the time
has come for the Community Mapbuilder project to gracefully retire. We
will release a final, stable 1.5 version of the software, and afterwards
there are no planned enhancements to Mapbuilder. The web pages and code
will be kept alive, a few bugs might be fixed and we will likely continue
answering user queries, but we expect Mapbuilder will gradually fade away
into history.
Mapbuilder is a stable, feature rich, standards compliant, fast,
webmapping framework with a strong developer community. Why has it come to
the end of its life?

The browser based webmapping space has become crowded and other webmapping
clients have increased in functionality and attractiveness to users. In
particular, Openlayers is simpler to use, has attracted an increabibly
strong developer community, has good quality control and development
processes, and has developed most of the webmapping functionality
previously only offered by Mapbuilder. Basically Openlayers is attacting
the majority of the users and developers that previously would have used
Mapbuilder. One day someone will write a compelling paper on the history
of the two similar projects and analyse the key differences and decision
points which led to one project out shining the other.
 But we are not crying
Well, maybe we feel a twing of loss for the Mapbuilder project we started
years ago, but in the bigger picture, we see the retiring of Mapbuilder as
a good thing. It will allow the greater web mapping community to
consolidate and rally around the remaining webmapping tools &#8211; in
particular, around Openlayers.

There has been significant collaboration between the Mapbuilder and
Openlayers communities over the last couple of years. Mapbuilder has
incorporated Openlayers as its rendering engine and fetures have been
shared between projects. In many cases, developers from both projects
worked together on the same codebase (in Openlayers), then ported up to
Mapbuilder. This was a deliberate move toward the merging of the two
developer communities and most of the Mapbuilder Project Steering
Committee have contributed to the Openlayers codebase.

So in essence, by changing our allegience from Mapbuilder to Openlayers we
take with us some of our code, we replace some features with equivalent
Openlayers features, we take our community with us, and we gain an
existing, robust and welcoming community.
 What should Mapbuilder users do?
Users have a few options. You already own the source code, so you are
welcome to continue maintaining and extending the Mapbuilder code for as
long as you like. At some point, users will likely want to upgrade, and at
that point we suggest considering Openlayers for your application. It now
provides the majority of the fuctionality that was previously only offered
by Mapbuilder.
 What about Mapbuilder's standing with OSGeo?
Having a graduated OSGeo project retire might be seen as an embarassment
for OSGeo, however, I'd argue it is a strength. It shows two projects
growing together under the OSGeo umbrella and evenually merging into a
stronger, more focused community.

However, it does raise a dilemma with regards to what should be done with
a retired project. Some of the key OSGeo criteria, like &#8220;Community
Backing&#8221; and &#8220;Best of Breed Software&#8221; will gradually be
lost, so we should not continue to promote Mapbuilder. Still, we wouldn't
want to erase Mapbuilder's history with OSGeo as our community has
documented valuable lessons learned during the graduation process.

I suggest a new &#8220;retired&#8221; category be created which keeps
track of retired projects.
We, the project steering committee, have derived a huge amount of pleasure
building Mapbuilder and working with the Mapbuilder Community. For many of
us, Mapbuilder has been a launching pad into a fullfilling Open Source
and/or Geospatial career. We'd like to thank all the users, developers and
supporters of Mapbuilder we have met along the way.

The Mapbuilder Project Steering Committee, (in order of appearance):
         Cameron Shorter
           Mike Adair
           Patrice Cappelaere
           Steven M. Ottens
           Matt Diez
           Olivier Terral
           Andreas Hocevar
           Gertjan van Oosten

Linda Derezinski

 --  Cameron Shorter Geospatial Systems Architect Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254  Think Globally, Fix Locally Commercial Support
for Geospatial Open Source Solutions
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Discuss at lists.osgeo.org

Arnulf Christl

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