[Mapserver-dev] [XML] Proposal for a MapScript XML Data Model Project and Discussion

Jean-Francois.Doyon at CCRS.NRCan.gc.ca Jean-Francois.Doyon at CCRS.NRCan.gc.ca
Tue Dec 30 15:50:57 EST 2003

Well I don't know how much time I could spend on this, but I'l definitely
vote for at least having the OPTION of an XML MapFile, I would REALLY REALLY
REALLY love that :P So Mark me down as an interested party.

A couple of early thoughts:

- Let's not become overly academic and write OGC style schemas !!!
- Steve had I believe started on a DTD for a mapfile ... Though I guess it
never went anywhere ... A place to start though. (Is it still in CVS ?)
- I would be careful about using the saying "XML Data Model" since that has
wide ranging implications. I read that as meaning an XML representation of
MapServer's Object model, which may or may not be related to expressing
things in the MapFile.  What we're really talking about here is an XML
Mapfile right ?
- XML support for MapFile should be optional, maybe at compile-time, by
linking against libxml2, expat, or something like that.
- The schema should be modular, one big advantage I'd like to see come out
of this is the fact that I can have common parts of mapfiles exist only once
instead of repeating my SCALEBAR definition in each mapfile for instance. (I
will add this to the scenario/use case section of the Wiki)
- Seems to me the overall model pretty much exists already, it is the
structure of a mapfile and it's objects.  The effort would consist mainly of
XML'izing it, meaning agreeing on element names, data types, abstract
schema's, what feature of XML to use/support (XLink?) or not and so on ?
- If such support is added to mapserver then the mapserver core should now
support not only reading but also writing of mapfiles in XML format (As it
already supports writing of regular MapFiles).
- I agree that writing tools/SDK's to work with said XML MapFiles would be
crucial to their acceptance ... I'm sure you'd have a Python module ready in
no time, right ? :P

My .02$ !

Happy new year !


-----Original Message-----
From: mapserver-dev-admin at lists.gis.umn.edu
[mailto:mapserver-dev-admin at lists.gis.umn.edu]On Behalf Of Sean Gillies
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 12:58 PM
To: MapServer-Dev
Subject: [Mapserver-dev] [XML] Proposal for a MapScript XML Data Model
Project and Discussion


One of the things that I would most like to see in 2004 is more serious
discussion about the future of an XML map configuration format for
MapServer.  To this end, I've written up a proposal on the MapServer
Wiki.  Will you please read it and consider joining in the discussion?
I'm very interested in learning about how other MapServer users and
developers imagine using XML.

MapServer users regularly wish for an XML format map configuration.  
They wish it for different reasons and there has not yet been any  
coordinated effort to realize it. The time has come for users and  
developers who desire an XML map configuration to form a special  
interest group to plan for its future.

A initial plan for the project is:

1. Recruit interested parties

2. Register the project as a MapServer component in the Bugzilla

3. Identify, dicuss and document use cases and risk factors

4. Propose a standard XML format for MapScript objects

5. Test code using proposed standard with MapScript

6. Incorporate XML standard into MapServer

We'll use the MapServer developers email list with a [XML] in the
subject line for discussion, copy important stuff to the Wiki, and
also maintain URL links between the Wiki and issues in Bugzilla.
No need to create any new frameworks for the project.

The project could greatly benefit some users by stage 4: a standard
will allow us to program and share Perl, PHP, and Python modules  
specializing in reading and writing the format. Ideally, this stage  
will be reached in time to present at the 2nd MapServer Users Meeting.

Interested persons should sign themselves on to


and subscribe to the mapserver-dev list. Next they should begin to add  
to the Wiki documents. It should be very interesting to see what kind  
of applications are out there waiting for a standard XML map  
configuration format. For examples, check out


A peaceful and prosperous New Year to all,

Sean Gillies
sgillies at frii dot com

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