Friday, 27 April 2012

MapGuide Open Source 2.4: A comprehensive preview (part 1: The installer)

It's been a long time since the last official release of MapGuide Open Source. So I'd figure I start getting the wheels in motion by announcing the availability of a preview release of MapGuide Open Source 2.4.

Why preview release instead of something more official like a beta? Well there has been lots of changes on the installer front (which I am mostly covering for this post), so a preview release ensures that our installer changes are locked down and stable for the eventual beta/RC/final releases that follow. It'd be a bit embarrassing to release a beta with fubar installers now wouldn't it?

Windows Installer Changes

The installer changes were driven by the following changes since 2.2:

Because of these changes, the installer now requires the following pre-requisites:
Just like with previous .net versions. If you are using IIS configuration with .net, you must install the .net Framework 4.0 (and register with IIS) before you run the installer.

If you are using IIS configuration, you must have FastCGI enabled/installed before you run the installer.

The installer will tell you of this important fact before you proceed regardless:

The old PostGIS FDO provider is no longer bundled with 2.4. You should all be using the PostgreSQL FDO provider now, because with 2.4 this will be your only choice.

We've had concerns from users about the new SVN metadata feature being potentially mandatory. Well you can disable it if you so please.

For 2.4, we've also given much thought to making MapGuide more friendly and accessible to new developers, so in this respect we've bundled the following samples with the installer:
  • .net Viewer Sample*
  • PHP Viewer Sample*
  • Java Viewer Sample*
  • .net Developer's Guide Samples*+
  • PHP Developer's Guide Samples*+
  • Java Developer's Guide Samples*+^

Also long missing since the 2.0.2 release, the MapGuide Developer's Guide is back! This time, in HTML form with lots of updated content (with updated API usage (and more .net/Java examples!) and also covering Fusion, OpenLayers and a bit of Maestro API).

New Windows Deployment Option: MgInstantSetup

Is the windows installer too restrictive for you? Want side-by-side installs of MapGuide with minimal configuration disruption and conflicts? For 2.4, we've also included a new zip distribution with the MgInstantSetup utility bundled in.

The zip basically contains the build output before it is packaged up into an msi, so it has a whole bunch of configuration files with templated placeholder tokens, which the MgInstantSetup utility will help fill the values in for you.

This utility does not make any registry settings and presuming you've filled in the values correctly will not result in conflicting services, virtual directories or port numbers.

Ubuntu Installer Changes

What's this? An improved installer experience for Ubuntu as well? See for yourself:

Based on your choice of FDO providers, the matching debs will be installed and the matching XML fragments will be put into providers.xml

Granted, that's all you will get in terms of interactivity and customization at the moment, but anything that makes installation more flexible is a good thing. Not full apt-get flexible, but small baby steps.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I talk about the meat and potatoes: The new features.

* All these samples require the Sheboygan sample dataset to be loaded first before you can run them.

+ To run these samples you will have to load the respective MGP file found in the root directories of each of these samples.

^ You may notice that the Java Developer's Guide samples do not cover the whole API like the .net and PHP ones. For now, you should just take a look at the .net one given the syntactic similarity to Java.

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