In the last few weeks, I read several mails about MapFish and I think that it is time to try to explain what is MapFish exactly (I already tried one year ago, but without success...).
First of all, it is a development framework. So, if you are not a developper, you can read the next chapter, then have a drink and enjoy the summer.
MapFish for non developper
MapFish is a complete development framework used for the creation of Web Spatial Data Infrastructure. The client components (client means navigator in that context) helps the developper to build Rich User Interfaces. The server components helps the developper to build spatial REST services like geocoding, reverse geocoding, spatial analysis or spatial editing.
MapFish for developper
MapFish server is a Pylons application (or, more precisely a Pylons template).Pylons is a lightweight web framework emphasizing flexibility and rapid development. MapFish basically adds the spatial support to Pylons. If your data are stored in PostGIS, it’s a piece of cake to create spatial REST services for CRUD operations (it’s what is called the MapFish protocol). MapFish server is mainly developped in Python.
If you follow the MapFish Installation and MapFish Quickstart, you’ll see that MapFish prepares everything for you and you don’t have to care about the management of the several libraries that are included within MapFish.