Friday, 5 September 2008

FDO, MapGuide. I pronounce you husband and wife.

One of the other major new features being currently worked on at the moment is integration with MapGuide Open Source/Enterprise.

Since MapGuide itself uses FDO for data access and its Feature Service API being similar to FDO. FDO Toolbox integration with MapGuide is a very useful feature to have. This integration exists in the form of an Extension Module.

One of the original design goals of FDO Toolbox apart from being a GUI front-end to FDO, is to be as extensible as possible. The MapGuide extension module is more-or-less a realisation of this goal.

To enable MapGuide integration, you would load the MGModule.dll via the Load Extension command.

Once loaded you'll notice something has changed. A new MapGuide application menu and a MapGuide Servers node in the Object Explorer

Now you can establish a connection to a MapGuide Server by right clicking the MapGuide Servers node and selecting the Connect to a remote MapGuide Server command (also available from the MapGuide menu)

From here it's like starting up MapGuide Studio or MapGuide Maestro. Provide the Site URL, Username, and Password.

And now you'll see all the feature sources for that particular server.

You can right click any feature source to bring up the Data Preview command

This will load up a Feature Source Preview tab for that particular feature source. This is very similar to the Data Preview tab for FDO connections, with the following differences.
  • There is no Expression Editor support for constructing filters. The reason is because the expression functions are not exposed via the mapagent, thus we cannot determine what expression functions are available for us to use. Nevertheless, the filter in MapGuide is the same as the filter in FDO. For MapGuide Open Source 1.2 or earlier expression functions do not exist.
  • The map preview tab will open the Schema Report page of the MapGuide web tier.

This is just only the tip of the iceberg as far as MapGuide integration goes. There are still many possible ideas yet to be realised.

If you work with MapGuide on a consistent basis then I invite you check out and play around with the latest trunk build from subversion and to contribute any suggestions and/or ideas on how we can best leverage this FDO/MapGuide "marriage" (and you were wondering what the title was all about!? :-)

Edit: A special thanks goes out to Kenneth Skovhede, author of the MapGuide Maestro API library for which this feature cannot exist without.

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