[Mapcss] Development of MapCSS?

Tom MacWright tom at macwright.org
Thu Mar 7 17:13:42 UTC 2013


Hi,

(wrote a significant portion of CartoCSS+TileMill+iD, so should chip in a
bit here)

Re MapCSS 'vs' CartoCSS - here's a quick writeup
https://gist.github.com/tmcw/4319642 - what it comes down to is that MapCSS
is Renderer-generic and OSM-data-centric and CartoCSS is Mapnik-centric and
data-generic. I don't consider them competitors - Carto is not a direct
replacement for MapCSS and vice-versa. When Carto is used for OSM
rendering, the data is typically pre-processed far more than raw data that
MapCSS can handle.

Why doesn't iD use MapCSS? Because it's a Javascript/SVG application, it
can use CSS directly, and so it does. Here's the map style -
https://github.com/systemed/iD/blob/master/css/map.css . Since speed is an
issue, it's useful to have no abstraction here. Yes, early in its days it
used MapCSS (and had more abstraction over styling). If we ever implement a
non-SVG rendering layer, it might work differently.

Why isn't there much movement in MapCSS? Because there isn't. It 'works
well enough' for core contributors and users, and fixing more-philosophical
problems like compatibility and purity is something that people only do
when they have a clear goal or extra time.

Tom

On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM, Steve Bennett <stevagewp at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 7:49 PM, Martin Vonwald <imagic.osm at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > I understand. Usually there's a reason for such a situation. But as
> > I'm not involved (and never was) in MapCSS development I can't name
> > that reason.
>
>
> Speaking as an observer, I thought I'd point out two elephants in the
> room: TileMill and iD. A style editor/rendering IDE and editor
> respectively, each with very active development. Neither uses MapCSS,
> and TileMill uses a kind of competitor, Carto. Also, Potlatch 2 which
> does use MapCSS (and drove its early development?) is apparently in
> decline, so it's unlikely anyone there is going to be contributing
> much to the MapCSS discussion.
>
> I'd say that's where your problem is.
>
> I'm not sure how/why Carto and MapCSS differ, or whether they could be
> made more similar, but I think it's fair to say that with the awesome
> usability of TileMill, and the success of MapBox, that Carto will
> become the dominant OSM styling language, if it isn't already.
>
> Steve
>
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