Friday, January 23, 2009

What is MapFish exactly ?

I often heard this question so it's probably a good idea to give an answer ;-) The main goal of MapFish is to allow the creation of web mapping applications. Ok, but what is MapFish exactly ?
MapFish is a software framework. From wikipedia, a framework can be defined as "a basic conceptual structure used to solve or address complex issues.". The "complex issues" for MapFish are the web mapping applications. A software framework is defined as "a re-usable design for a software system. A software framework may include support programs, code libraries, a scripting language, or other software to help develop and glue together the different components of a software project. Various parts of the framework may be exposed through an API.".
Several libraries are used in MapFish: ExtJS, OpenLayers, GeoExt, Tilecache, SQLAlchemy, Shapely, JTS. MapFish is really the glue between these libraries. The usage of these well established libraries provides a great flexibility and allows the creation of very customized applications.

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