Friday, 21 July 2017

So ... where's MapGuide Open Source 3.2?

Here's the story, since I gather not everyone reads the mapguide-users mailing list where I mentioned this subject many months ago.

I've decided (many months ago) to skip on making this release.

The differences between 3.1 and (a 3.2 release if I had decided to make one) is so small that it isn't worth investing the build resources on a 3.2 release cycle.

Since I'm skipping on a 3.2 release, it means that we have a good year-long window of solid development time to get some compelling features into the release after it (currently set as 3.3). Some of this development work is already starting to bear fruit.

Now that's not to say there isn't going to be a MapGuide release sometime between now and when 3.3 is out. I still do hope to put out the (hinted previously) patch releases for MGOS 2.6, 3.0 and 3.1 in between, but that requires me rebuilding my build infrastructure first and that is currently taking a back seat to landing some solid features into 3.3 first, so that's where things are at.

And as always. As these features land, you can expect this blog to talk about it.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

React-ing to the need for a modern MapGuide viewer (Part 17): Reason number 5537485 why react was the right choice

An issue cropped up where the legend was not properly rendering a given layer that has multiple geometry styles. This issue was easily reproducible with the Redline widget.

We were expecting to see this after creating a redline layer and drawing some objects.

But we got this instead

Because this legend is a react component, we can inspect it (and the problem layer node) with the React developer tools

Remember the important React motto: The UI is a function of props and state. The HTML content of the LayerNode should be reflective of the props and state given to it. We should've seen something that resembled 3 style icons. But nothing's there.

So let's just check that the layer model for this LayerNode component is indeed a layer with multiple geometry styles

Indeed it is, so that means that the LayerNode component is the culprit. It is not handling the case of multiple geometry styles properly.

As we've already set up our test infrastructure to make it easy to write and run tests, it should be easy to write up an enzyme unit test that shows what we were actually expecting to see when a LayerNode renders a layer that has multiple geometry styles


import * as React from "react";
import { shallow, mount, render } from "enzyme";
import { MapLayer } from "../src/api/contracts/runtime-map";
import { LayerNode } from "../src/components/legend";
import { ILegendContext } from "../src/components/context";

// Mocks the ILegendContext needed by LayerNode and other legend sub-components
function mockContext(): ILegendContext {
    return {
        getIconMimeType: () => "image/png",
        getStdIcon: (path: string) => path,
        getChildren: (id) => [],
        getCurrentScale: () => this.props.currentScale,
        getTree: () => {},
        getGroupVisibility: (group) => group.ActuallyVisible,
        getLayerVisibility: (layer) => layer.ActuallyVisible,
        setGroupVisibility: () => {},
        setLayerVisibility: () => {},
        getLayerSelectability: (layer) => true,
        setLayerSelectability: () => {},
        getGroupExpanded: (group) => true,
        setGroupExpanded: () => {},
        getLayerExpanded: (layer) => true,
        setLayerExpanded: () => {}

describe("components/legend", () => {
    it("renders a multi-geom-style layer with a rule for each geom style", () => {
        const layer: MapLayer = {
            Type: 1,
            Selectable: true,
            LayerDefinition: "Session:841258e8-63f9-11e7-8000-0a002700000f_en_MTI3LjAuMC4x0AFC0AFB0AFA//testing.LayerDefinition",
            Name: "_testing",
            LegendLabel: "testing",
            ObjectId: "abcd12345",
            DisplayInLegend: true,
            ExpandInLegend: true,
            Visible: true,
            ActuallyVisible: true,
            ScaleRange: [
                    MinScale: 0,
                    MaxScale: 10000,
                    FeatureStyle: [
                            Type: 4,
                            Rule: [
                            Type: 4,
                            Rule: [
                            Type: 4,
                            Rule: [
        const wrapper = shallow(<LayerNode layer={layer} />, {
            context: mockContext()
        const rules = wrapper.find("RuleNode");
        expect(rules.length).toBe(3); //One for each geom style

Running this in jest confirms our expectations were not met:

Summary of all failing tests
 FAIL  test\component.legend.spec.tsx (6.75s)
  ● components/legend › renders a multi-geom-style layer with a rule for each geom style


    Expected value to be (using ===):

      at Object. (test/component.legend.spec.tsx:149:30)
      at Promise.resolve.then.el (node_modules/p-map/index.js:42:16)
      at process._tickCallback (internal/process/next_tick.js:103:7)

Test Suites: 1 failed, 22 passed, 23 total
Tests:       1 failed, 94 passed, 95 total
Snapshots:   0 total
Time:        14.532s
Ran all test suites.

We expected 3 RuleNode components (one for each geometry style) to have been rendered, but we only got nothing.

A look at the LayerNode rendering shows why. It only considered the first feature style of any layer's scale range.

So once that was fixed, not only does our test pass, but we have visual confirmation that multi-geometry-style layers now render like they did in the Fusion and AJAX viewers.

So the reason for writing this post was just a re-affirmation of my choice for using React to build this viewer.

  • The top-quality developer/debugging experience.
  • The react way of thinking about UIs that allowed me to easily identify the culprit (the LayerNode component)
  • The top-quality testing ecosystem around React (Jest, enzyme) that allowed me to easily write a unit test on this component to confirm and verify my expectations

Friday, 30 June 2017

Announcing: MapGuide Maestro 6.0m7

So you've downloaded the new build of Fusion for your respective version of MapGuide Open Source so you can use the current iteration of Bing Maps as the v6/v7 versions of Bing Maps that Fusion was using will be shut down hours after this post is published.

But this iteration of Bing Maps now requires an API key to use it. So you sign up for an API key in the bing maps portal. Now where you do put this thing?

Well, here's a new release of MapGuide Maestro to help you with this very task among some new features and fixes.

Updated Fusion editor for Bing Maps

The fusion editor has been updated to work against the current iteration of Bing Maps. It has a new field for you to put your Bing Maps API key

When you put in the key and clicked Set API key it will write the API key into the top-level BingMapKey extension element of the Application Definition XML.

Also the available bing layer list has been updated to match what the current iteration provides.

The only difference is that the base layer formerly known as the "Hybrid" base layer has been renamed to "AerialsWithLabels". So if you use the bing hybrid layer you need to replace it with AerialsWithLabels.

This release of Maestro also includes new validation rules for Application Definitions to catch these new Bing Maps issues.

Auto-Configured Spatial Contexts in WMS Configuration Documents

In my adventures of consuming WMS services in MapGuide and building the initial WMS configuration document, I've been consistently observing a pattern like this:

The pattern being, that the names of the discovered spatial contexts usually follow the pattern of "EPSG:XXXX", yet we had to then go and manually fill in the correct coordinate systems one by one, even though the EPSG code is right there in the name!

With this release, we now automatically infer and fill in such coordinate systems for you

Other Changes

  • Fixed inability to preview maps using the local viewer if the map uses a transparent background color
  • Refine the error message when attempting to calculate meters-per-unit in MgCooker and you have no map or tile set selected. Selected is a misnomer, you have to actually check the respective tree node, and the error message has been updated to reflect that.
  • Package updates to DockPanelSuite and Newtonsoft.Json


Using Bing Maps? Here's some new builds of Fusion.

I gave out the warning last month, and just in time before Microsoft pulls the plug on the Bing Maps legacy controls and services on June 30th 2017, here's some new builds of Fusion with support for the current iteration of Bing Maps.

The current iteration of Bing Maps now requires an API key, so if you don't have one you can signup for one at the bing maps portal.

I don't normally put out releases of Fusion like this. I'd normally would just roll it into a new point release of MapGuide Open Source, but I'm currently not in a suitable position at the moment to put out new builds of MapGuide, so this will have to suffice.

Download Fusion for your particular version of MapGuide here:

Fusion for MGOS 2.6

Fusion for MGOS 3.0

Fusion for MGOS 3.1

To install, just extract the zip file contents to the www directory of your MapGuide installation. Be sure to back up or remove the existing fusion directory before doing this.

Now, having not put out a new release of MapGuide for a while, there are also plenty of fixes and minor enhancements made to these respective branches of Fusion since the version bundled with their respective released version of MapGuide. You can check out the changelogs for these respective branches here:

Fusion for MGOS 2.6 Changelog

Fusion for MGOS 3.0 Changelog

Fusion for MGOS 3.1 Changelog

So you've got your Bing Maps API key, where in the Application Definition do you put this key in?

Maybe you want to check out the next post.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Announcing: mapguide-react-layout 0.9.1

This is a small bug fix release that brings updates to key libraries we use:

And includes the following fixes:
This release also has one small enhancement, the viewer now supports a mount option for specifying initial visibility of template elements (Legend, Task Pane, Selection Panel). Currently this will have the most impact when used with the Aqua and Sidebar viewer templates.

For other viewer templates, this new feature won't have much effect yet. For example, take the Slate template.

The very design of this template means that if you wanted all Legend/TaskPane/SelectionPanel to be hidden initially, you just cannot do it. Because they all reside in an accordion, one of these elements has to be visible. The original Fusion templates (at least slate from my memory) could conceivably have Legend/TaskPane/SelectionPanel all hidden because its sidebar was collapsible. That is not the case in this iteration of Slate (and the other ported templates with a sidebar). Having collapsible sidebars in these viewer templates will be a problem a future release will be fixing.

Finally, one thing that was actually possible in the 0.9 release, but I didn't really mention because I wanted to make sure this feature was working before actually announcing it is that Script Commands which is the InvokeScript replacement in mapguide-react-layout can be used with the standard viewer bundle. You no longer need to exclusively use the npm module to have support for Script Commands.

You can see an example of script command registration using the standard viewer bundle here.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Look ma, no tooltip requests!

So what does tiles of ascii-like content give us?

UTFGrid tiles allows us to pre-render tooltip interaction data. Because we're pre-rendering such data, no mapagent requests are ever made, we can fetch for such tiles just like other map image tiles.

If you remember my previous notes about MapGuide scalability, session repositories add memory and administrative burden/bookkeeping to the running MapGuide Server. If you can get away with not having to create a session repository and keeping it alive, you should. Currently, tooltip requests sadly, require a runtime map (thus, requiring a session be created first and the initial runtime map state to be saved to its session repository).

Because this is pre-rendered tiles of interaction data, paired with map image tiles, it's a very scalable map viewing solution. No CREATERUNTIMEMAP operation was needed to demonstrate this example, nor did we have to create or hit any session-based resources.

Also, because UTFGrids are accessed using the same XYZ tile access scheme, we can re-use the XYZ tile provider in the Tile Set Definition and just specify the new TileFormat of UTFGRID

Accessing UTFGrid tiles is just like accessing XYZ tiles, via the GETTILEIMAGE mapagent operation, but using the UTFGrid Tile Set Definition as the resource id.

The usual mapping suspects of OpenLayers and Leaflet already support UTFGrids, so you can easily take advantage of UTFGrids when it finally lands in MapGuide proper.

Now to make sure UTFGrid support also works on our Linux builds before I draft up that RFC.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Announcing: mapguide-react-layout 0.9

After a small hiatus (due to hacking on MapGuide proper and my day job), here's a new release of mapguide-react-layout.

Here's the highlights of this release.

Now available as an NPM module

This is the first release available on npm. The npm module allows you to customize the viewer in the following ways:
  • Creating your own custom viewer templates
  • Creating your own script commands
  • Customizing your viewer bundle by omitting features you will never use
Want to see how that's done? Check out the new example that demonstrates all of the above.

Short of cloning my github repo and hacking/building the source yourself, the npm module is the best way to fully customize nearly all aspects of the viewer.

Now re-uses the Fusion PHP backend

In previous releases, we bundled a separate copy of the PHP backend tailored to service the following commands:
  • Buffer
  • Query
  • Theme
  • FeatureInfo
  • Redline
  • QuickPlot
  • Search Commands
Once the need to make this a npm module arose, this idea proved to be un-workable.
  • We'd have to ask the user to make some intricate post-build set up in their build configurations to make sure the PHP backend content to a location relative to the viewer bundle so that the above commands will work.
  • Putting PHP code into npm, a JS package registry? Uh ... okay back to the drawing board!
So in the process of revising this idea, the solution turned out to be quite simple:

Just assume MapGuide is installed with Fusion and re-use its PHP backend services

And it turns out that this assumption was a very safe one. Like PHP, Fusion will always be installed with MapGuide on Windows or Linux.

And with this assumption, we just demand one requirement for anyone using this viewer or building a bundle with the npm module: You need to install it into a subdirectory of MapGuide's www directory, which I would assume you are already doing because that's what our current install instructions say!

With this change, my mission statement with this viewer needs a small refinement This is no longer a modern map viewer that is a replacement for Fusion. This is now a modern map viewer that happens to re-use some Fusion backend services.

Which is fine by me because another (useful) side-effect of this exercise is that ...

Partial support for Fusion viewer APIs

... I had to polyfill various client-side Fusion viewer APIs so that the existing front-end content for the above commands can work against the mapguide-react-layout viewer without any modifications required. A subset of Fusion events are also supported in this release.

However, do not expect full 100% replication of the Fusion viewer API here. If you're going to migrate to this viewer, I recommend you go the whole nine yards and take advantage of the simpler and cleaner viewer APIs offered by mapguide-react-layout

Updated and "smarter" Templates

This release includes a new redux state branch for viewer template element visibility.

With this branch we also have new redux actions to push changes to it. Applicable templates now subscribe to the state branch and be able to automatically toggle visibility of template elements in response to dispatched actions.

What this enables us to do is to apply some extra smarts to the Fusion templates. For example, running an InvokeURL command (targeted at the Task Pane) will automatically show/open the Task Pane because the template reducer function also listens on this particular InvokeURL action to push a [Task Pane is now visible] state, as demonstrated in the gif below

Notice how I didn't have to manually expand the Task Pane first? The template reducer function already took care of it because I ran an InvokeURL command to load the Query widget.

The LimeGold and TurquoiseYellow templates have been updated to use the new Tabs2 blueprint component as our existing Tabs component is deprecated and not to mention that Tabs2 actually plays nicer with our new redux state branch.

The sidebar and ajax-viewer templates can now work with Application Definitions under the following conditions:
  • Your appdef has a widget container named Toolbar that will house the primary toolbar
  • Your appdef has a widget container named MapContextMenu that will house the context menu
  • Your appdef has a widget container named TaskMenu that will house the menu in the Task Pane bar
If you create a new Application Definition document in Maestro, all of the above conditions will already be satisfied.

Also if you take a look at the Aqua template, the 3 element togglers on the top-right are gone now.

This is because we were able to find a suitable replacement for InvokeScript commands as described below.

Script Command Support (ie. The InvokeScript replacement)

This feature is the replacement for InvokeScript commands/widgets and currently requires using the npm module. The viewer provides a registry API that allows for custom commands to be registered with the viewer.

How can you link these commands to toolbars and menu items in your WebLayout/ApplicationDefinition? With the existing InvokeScript definition.

The key difference here is that this viewer completely ignores the inline script content part and just invokes the equivalent script command registered in the viewer by the same name as defined in the InvokeScript definition in the WebLayout/ApplicationDefinition.

As a result, the new methodology for using these types of commands is to "bake them in" to your own viewer bundle, while with this approach we still retain the existing authoring experience by re-using InvokeScript definitions. You just have to give it the same name as what they're registered under in the viewer bundle.

To illustrate this, the viewer by default has registered script commands for toggling the:
  • Task Pane
  • Legend
  • Selection Panel
These script commands leverage the new redux actions to push element visibility state to the layout template components, replicating the behaviour of their old InvokeScript counterparts.

Because they are also registered under the same names as their old InvokeScript counterparts, a standard new Application Definition (created by Maestro) will no longer show [X] ERROR placeholders for these commands when fed to any of the 5 ported Fusion templates.

As we how have replicated the old behaviour of the Aqua template, the hard-coded element togglers on the top-right are no longer needed.

Bing Maps Support

The viewer now supports Bing Maps as external base layers.

As mentioned previously, you will now need to acquire an API key to use Bing Maps as the API-key-less version will shut down on June 30, 2017. Fusion proper has the same problem and will also require an API key to use Bing Maps. The next release of MapGuide Maestro will have an updated Fusion editor to configure this.

Fusion Application Definitions passed to this viewer with Bing Maps support are assumed to be ones configured up with a Bing Maps API key and Bing Maps (not VirtualEarth) base layers.

Command Parameterization

This release implements initial support for parameterization of commands. In practical terms this means that the viewer will now start recognizing and support the various Fusion widget extension properties that you may have defined in the widgets of your Application Definition.

Currently, only the (recently ported over) geolocation command is covered, but the next release will begin to see greater support for other Fusion widgets.

API Documentation

With TypeDoc, we now have API documentation for the viewer.

This only currently covers the npm module, which won't really make much sense if you're trying to use the viewer from a "browser globals" context, which would be the case if you're trying to interact with the viewer from Task Pane content.

As a workaround, I've covered the applicable parts of the "browser globals" API in the ...

New Project Home Page

And this API documentation is linked from a brand-spanking new project home page!

Surprisingly, this was much harder to set up than originally thought. Turning on GitHub pages and getting it to link to the TypeDoc-generated API documentation was made difficult due to:
  • TypeDoc-generated documentation being prefixed with underscores
  • HTML files with underscores having a special meaning in Jekyll, the default static site generator for GitHub Pages that prevents us from linking to them.
Jekyll being written in Ruby, made dev/testing my project home pages on Windows a royal pain, so I had to look at other static site generators.

After a few days of evaluating different static site generators, the closest one that matched by basic needs of: 
  • Pumping out some static HTML pages from markdown files
  • Link to TypeDoc-generated HTML files from one of them
  • Have one or more theme that exudes some polish (hey, I build web applications, not web sites and definitely not designing web sites!)
was a PHP tool called couscous. It wasn't ideal. For example, deploy totally did not work for me, but there was fortunately a workaround. Compared to the other available options, this was the best of the lot for what I needed.

Hopefully the project site is informative enough to take you to where you need to go. If not, send me some feedback.

Other Changes
  • Viewer has been updated to use the latest and greatest React, Blueprint, TypeScript and OpenLayers.
  • Viewer uses the new OpenLayers ES2015 modules which means we now only use the parts of OL that we actually use and not inflate our viewer bundle with things we aren't using.
  • Viewer now 100% uses typings provided by npm @types. This means that we no longer need to use the external typings tool to acquire d.ts files, which is relevant to the npm module as you will get automatic TypeScript type definitions for mapguide-react-layout and its dependent libraries out of the box when you install the npm module.
  • Many other updated dependencies thanks to integration.
  • The viewer now supports frame targeting (ie. Target = SpecifiedFrame and you specified a frame name) for InvokeURL and Search commands
  • The viewer now supports running InvokeURL and Search commands in a "New Window". What we will actually do is run the command in a floating modal.