Wednesday, 30 July 2008

FDO Toolbox v0.4.1

Changes in this version.
  • Merged all the command-line utilities into a single utility: FdoUtil.exe. Consult the updated cmd_readme.txt for usage instructions.
  • New per-class bulk copy option: Attribute Filter. To migrate existing bulk copy definitions add a <SourceFilter> element (can be empty) as the last child element of each <Mapping> element in the bulk copy definition.
  • SchemaAttributeDictionary editing support for schemas and classes.
  • Schema and class nodes in the Object Explorer now have context menus.
  • Support for external FDO installations. When FdoToolbox launches for the first time it will look for the "FDO" subdirectory. If this directory doesn't exist, you will be prompted to specify the directory containing the FDO binaries. After this the directory will be written to a string preference pref_str_fdo_home. This value will be written to preferences.xml and used for every subsequent usage of FdoToolbox or its command-line utilities. Put it simply, you can download a Lite install, run FdoToolbox.exe or any command-line utility and point pref_str_fdo_home to an existing FDO directory/installation and Bob's your uncle.
  • "Apply" button in Schema Management Tab only activates if the underlying schema's ElementState is changed (ie. is dirty)
Download here

Sunday, 27 July 2008

FDO Toolbox v0.4

In the "Release early, release often" fashion, a new release of FDO Toolbox is available, this time with a version number jump to 0.4. The new features include:
  • Command-line utilities: A series of small utility programs that implements discrete bits of the FDO API. Consult the cmd_readme.txt file included for descriptions and usage examples (or wait for another blog post :-))
  • Coordinate System Browser/Catalog: You can now store and manage your coordinate systems. When creating a spatial context, you can choose to look up this catalog and have it auto-fill part of the form for you. All the coordinate systems are stored in a sqlite database (cscatalog.sqlite)
Until v0.5 is released or a new version of FDO is released, this release will be the last one to have a "Full" configuration (because I don't want to exhaust my google code quota, and I don't want you to have to re-download FDO over and over again ;-))

Go get it!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

FDO Toolbox v0.3.5

v0.3.5 fixes the save dialog bugs in the previous release (v0.3.4) and includes the following features:
  • New Program: TaskRun.exe, use it to load and run task definitions from the command line. NOTE both the source and target connections in the bulk copy task definition must be valid otherwise execution will fail.
  • Capability-aware menus: If a menu/toolbar item is disabled, it's because the command is not supported by the current selected connection.
  • New Data Store Manager for rdbms-based providers.
  • Bulk Copy Enhancement: Spatial Context List now in Bulk Copy Control. This means the Bulk Copy definition can now be executed without manual user input.
  • New Console Application framework. TaskRun.exe and other future command-line utilities will be built on this.
Also from now on, I will mainly be releasing "Lite" versions of FDO Toolbox, only bundling FDO when the major version number changes (eg. v0.4.0) or a new release of FDO is available.


Friday, 25 July 2008

Have Asus lost the plot (and a future customer)?

4 months ago, I was the happy owner of an Asus Eee PC 701

2 months ago, I was the happy owner of an Asus Eee PC 900 which resolved my main issue with the 701. The screen and resolution is actually of a usable size.

Today, I am a somewhat confused and rejected (in a "dumped in a relationship" kind of way) owner of my Eee PCs.

What on earth are Asus thinking?

I'm all for newer models. Progress and innovation is a good thing. But releasing FIVE new models in TWO months does not instill consumer confidence in your products.

And these models are not really different from each other, it's as though Asus had these big pile of components lying around and played "mix and match". Some have Intel Atom CPUs, some don't (so that's kind of a step back, seeing the Atom is the next big thing in mobile CPUs)

Kudos to Asus for innovation with the Eee PC and creating a new market of ultra-portable notebooks. But honestly, I think they've lost the plot. I doubt my next purchase will be from them. That MSI Wind looks very attractive.

P.S. Don't worry Eee PC 900. I won't dump you like your maker apparently did :-)

FDO Toolbox v0.3.4

A new release of FDO Toolbox is available. Changes which are mostly bug fixes and productivity enhancements, include:
  • Added a preferences dictionary. This gets saved to/loaded from Preferences.xml at application startup and shutdown. Currently two preferences are exposed: pref_str_working_directory and pref_bool_timestamp_console
  • Schema Management: Can now save selected schema to either an XML file or to a new SDF file
  • Geometric Property Dialog: FdoGeometryType is used instead of FdoGeometricType, allowing for more specific geometry types
  • You can now optionally connect to any SHP/SDF files created.
  • You can now optionally name any SDF/SHP connection created.
  • Class editing is activated again. Just be aware that removing properties won't work (the removal won't be applied)
  • Spatial Context Dialog: You can choose to set extents by computing it from a list of chosen feature classes.
  • Tabs will now close if their bound connection is closed.
  • Tabs will now have their title text renamed if their bound connection is renamed.
  • You can show the Object Explorer or Application Console if you accidentally close either one.
Download here:

Special thanks to Jason Birch and Kenneth Skovhede for suggestions (some of which made it into this release)

Edit: Most of the save functionality is broken and will be fixed in the next release

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

FDO Toolbox v0.3.3

Just cut another release of FDO Toolbox. The following changes include:

  • Bulk Copy Control: Mappings can now be removed
  • Fixes for the Generic [Connect/Create Data Store] Dialogs for non-flatfile providers
  • Bulk Copy fixes for copying spatial contexts
  • Data Preview SQL support
  • Extension modules can now extend the application UI
  • Errors thrown by ISelectAggregate execution are now alerted to the user.
  • Expression Editor: Property List now is in a context menu.
  • Included missing SQL scripts from FDO distribution. These were needed by rdbms providers and was not copied during the build process.
Get it here:

Saturday, 19 July 2008

FDO Toolbox v0.3.2

Another day, another update. The following changes include:
  • New Expression Editor. You can use this Expression Editor to build your query filters and/or aggregate expressions in the Data Preview Control. Currently, spatial and distance operations are not supported by the editor, but you can still enter your spatial/distance conditions manually.
  • Data Preview Control now supports Select Aggregate operations.
Get it here:

FDO Toolbox v0.3.1

This is a minor update to 0.3 with the following features/fixes
  • Bulk copy stability fixes
  • Bulk copy execution will not proceed if validation fails
  • Extension modules can be automatically loaded during startup by editing Modules.xml
  • Class Properties can be visible in the Object Explorer
  • Properties to map in the Bulk Copy control now have icons beside them to indicate property type
Get it here:

Sunday, 13 July 2008

FDO Toolbox v0.3

FDO Toolbox v0.3 is out. The new features include:
  • Express Bulk Copy commands. Allows you to convert a SDF file to a SHP file and vice versa, and any other combinations thereof.
  • New Express Bulk Copy Control.
  • Can now refresh a selected connection from the Object Explorer
  • Can rename connections from the Object Explorer
  • Re-designed Data Preview Control.
  • New SHP (directory) express connection option
  • Re-designed Bulk Copy Control
  • Bulk Copy now has option: Copy Spatial Contexts
  • Support for multi-class bulk copy
  • Lots of minor improvements
This release also comes in binary form. You can either grab the source, or grab the binaries from

Sunday, 6 July 2008

FDO Toolbox

This is something that I have been working on and off for the past few months in my (now plentiful) spare time. So now I think it is time to share my work with you...

FDO Toolbox is an application to perform spatial data management and processing.

It is written in C# and uses the Feature Data Objects (FDO) API (

FDO Toolbox requires .net Framework 2.0 and the Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Runtime Library.

There are currently no binaries available, but you can checkout the source from subversion and build the code yourself.

Some of the features of FDO Toolbox.

  • Connect to any FDO-supported data source.
  • Create new data stores for any FDO provider that supports the capability (eg. SDF, MySQL)
  • View and Edit schema and class definitions for any FDO data source.
  • Create custom extension modules for your own custom functionality. A test module (TestModule.dll) is included in the source code that demonstrates this functionality.
  • Save/Load schema definitions to and from XML
  • Bulk Copy from one FDO data source to another (very basic at the moment, still lots of work to be done).
  • Preview data from a feature class.
Get the code from here:

Bug reports and suggestions are welcome.

DISCLAIMER: This is alpha-quality code. Do not try this application on production GIS data!!!

Fusion Wiki (or: Introduction to Fusion Parts 2 onwards)

I had prepared a bunch of posts about the new Fusion Framework for MapGuide, but it seems that the developers/users themselves have already put up similar material on the Fusion Trac site.

For those who don't know, the Fusion Trac site is here:

There is lots of material here to get you started and/or acquainted with developing fusion applications for MapGuide.