[OSM-dev] The future of Potlatch

Christopher Schmidt crschmidt at metacarta.com
Fri May 2 16:55:33 BST 2008

(My response here is developer-oriented; sent only to dev, and not to

On Fri, May 02, 2008 at 03:37:57PM +0100, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> The other one is that it would be good if the getway call, in  
> particular, could exist in _both_ SQL and Rails forms in the code,  
> with a switch called RICHARD_NOT_HIT_BY_BUS_YET to determine which  
> one is called. 

I don't think this is the right solution.
explains my biggest fear in this regard :)

Instead, I think that it makes sense to make both APIs use a single
function for this task -- which I think both 'getways' and the 'map' 
call on the main API would use -- and then optimize that call, either in
Rails, or if that can't be done, by dropping the SQL.

I think there appears to be a general feeling of "Read-only, lightweight
SQL that is well-understood and maintained isn't the problem". Server
code people can correct me if I'm wrong. 

> -- AS1 / AS3
> To me (coming from a Perl script kiddie background, rather than  
> Proper Programming In Java) AS1 is the nice approachable stuff while  
> AS3 is scary with lots of stuff you have to write that doesn't  
> actually do anything. 

I can't comment on AS3, but AS1 was surprisingly approachable to me.
There were some minor problems with getting coding with it, but very few
that couldn't be solved by a bit of community effort towards
setting up an environment for Potlatch developers.

One complaint that Steve offered is that Potlatch requires a 'bunch of
weird tools' to compile. I'll admit that building Potlatch might be a
bit painful for non-Flash developers at the moment, but the same is true
of just about any Flash development, I think.

I think there's an easy technical fix for that: Move the compilation of
Potlatch to the dev server.

Currently, OpenLayers has a policy that anyone can ask for an svn
'sandbox': sandboxes are automatically checked  out to
http://dev.openlayers.org/sandbox/ . Anyoen can see the examples from
these sandboxes, a la:

One can imagine doing the same thing for Potlatch: on SVN commit, fire
off a checkout on dev, to potlatch.dev.openstreetmap.org/yourusername/ .
When code is updated, ming is fired off on the server to create a new
.swf, and any user can then go to
potlatch.dev.openstreetmap.org/yourusername/test.html , which talks to
the main.dev API, and allows you to test out your changes, without ever
having to touch ming.

Obviously, this is not the development style which is easiest, but it
allows people who have no ming tools or a ton of Flash knowledge to
start hacking, and demonstrating their work to other people.  

The key aspect of this that prefers AS1 over AS3 is that ... we can do
it! :) Open Source tools are used in the compilation of Potlatch, and so
long as that is the case, we have the ability to do fancy setups like
this without having to worry about Adobe chasing us down with license
fees :) 

Christopher Schmidt

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