The MapGuide Demos

Jason Birch points out new MapGuide Open Source demos that beg to be compared against the ArcGIS Server ADF demos. I spent a few minutes trying out the three generic tasks and must say, this is more like it. Autodesk is employing some UI and graphic designers. They haven't found the sweet spots yet, but are closer than the ADF team. They need to drastically reduce the number of mouse clicks needed to theme a layer -- the color picker is particularly painful to use. The markup task is poorly named (HTML is markup), and almost useless. The larger goal is to share placemarks (or lines, or polygons) with other users across applications. Why jail them inside MapGuide? The feature query task ought to support more complex multi-property queries, and the polygon digitization tool is a nightmare (The ADF's performs much better).

The browser swamp is a rough home for GIS applications. One of the keys to success is putting swamp dwellers to work on an application. In theory, MapGuide Open Source has the edge: there aren't any proprietary barriers to the participation of a PHP or Javascript savant. I suspect that ESRI prefers to retrain its desktop developers for swamp duty. (This suspicion is based on an article -- which I found via Jeff Thurston, and can not now find at all -- where an ESRI technical lead spoke about the pressing need for strong typing in Javascript.) I'm betting on the swamp dwellers.


Re: The MapGuide Demos

Author: Jason Birch

I wouldn't spend too much time looking at the UI for those samples; they're primarily meant as API examples that developers can use to build truly useful applications. Personally, I'm tossing the default UI and using Fusion (based on Chameleon) instead. This will allow me to make poor UI decisions and take personal responsibility for them :) The important part (to me) is that all of the functionality that is behind those samples is part of the native MapGuide API. It's still a bit early in its life, and there aren't many real world apps out there yet, but I can't wait to see what kinds of things people do with MapGuide as it picks up steam. Not that I'm biased or anything... Jason