Eulogy for Mapbuilder

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Eulogy for Mapbuilder

Steven M. Ottens-2
Hello list,

Hereby the Eulogy for mapbuilder as spoken at the opening of the  
Foss4G conference in Cape Town;


My name is Steven Ottens and I'm speaking on behalve of the  
mapbuilder steering committee.

  It is with sadness in our heart that we've announced that  
Mapbuilder is no more. It is today exactly 7 years ago that Cameron  
Shorter posted his first mail on the Mapbuilder mailinglist. He set  
apart his idea for a community mapbuilder which would provide a way  
to collaboratively build maps. Years later this idea would be  
proposed again in a different setting resulting in OpenStreetMap. It  
took a while for Camerons idea to turn into mapbuilder code. The  
intial idea was to create an applet and energy was put into the  
GeoTools project to support OGC standards. However applets became a  
thing of the past and Raj Singh created a prototype in a new  
technique that years later would become known as AJAX.

It was already 2003 and during the christmas holidays the first  
implementation of Mapbuilder was created. Still it would be a few  
more months before the first release. Once the first release was out,  
more people got attracted to the project. The already strong support  
for open standards was increased by various people. Mike Adair wrote  
the support for WMS-timeseries. Pat Cappelaere wrote the first ever  
SVG based vector renderer for webgis. Olivier Terral created an SLD  
editor upon Pats work. Also Mike Adair and Richard Greenwood started  
the javascript projection library.

Already we are moving into 2006. This year will go down in history as  
the beginning of the end of mapbuilder. A lot happened in 2006, it  
began early that year with the founding of OSGeo, which Mapbuilder  
joined as one of its founding projects. The power of OSGeo became  
clear during the summer of 2006. People from different projects got  
together to discuss project-transcending isues in foss4g land. The  
foss4g conference that year saw the birth of the tiling standard and  
the decission to use OpenLayers as /the/ render engine for webmapping  
clients. Andreas Hocevar took lead in stitching OpenLayers and  
mapbuilder together.

With incredible support of the openlayers developercommunity there  
was a first release in less than six months. Mapbuilder had many  
features OpenLayers was lacking in those days. The mapbuilder  
developers contributed lots of code to the openlayers project to make  
sure that all that functionality would still work once openlayers  
became the backend.

To fully merge all Mapbuilders functionality with OpenLayers took  
another year. Once that work was done it became clear that OpenLayers  
was attracting many Mapbuilder developers and users. We found it  
increasingly difficult to tell the difference between OpenLayers and  
Mapbuilder. The powerful XML based MVC design was at the same time  
its weakness. Over the years AJAX development had became mainstream  
and the developer tools favored pure javascript implementations like  
the one from OpenLayers. In that fateful conference in Lausanne we  
already spoke out our hope that one day we would merge into one open  
source webgis client. When we saw OpenLayers flourish under the OSGeo  
flag we decided that our time had come.

We set out to create a client where you could access maps and add  
your own data to share with others. If you go to the openstreetmap  
site you will see openlayers as the client to access the maps and add  
your own data. In a sense we have reached our goal. In the meantime  
mapbuilder has touched many more people who are still active  
contributers to foss4g. It set a standard in standard complience and  
many of its ideas live on in different projects. So while we are sad  
to announce that we stop our active development of Mapbuilder, we see  
a bright future for the foss4g community. We hope that our example  
will help others to join their efforts where possible, creating a  
powerfull foss4g software stack.

signed the project steering committee,

Andreas Hocevar
Cameron Shorter
Gertjan van Oosten
Linda Derezinski
Matt Diez
Mike Adair
Olivier Terral
Patrice Cappalaere
Steven M. Ottens
Vincent Heurteaux

Steven M. Ottens -==-

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