[Potlatch-dev] Status of potlatch2 development?

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Tue Feb 19 12:30:09 UTC 2013

On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 6:39 AM, Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net> wrote:
> So, the question is: what purpose does P2 serve when iD is live and the
> default?
> I think there's two principal niches. One is working with third-party data,
> as per Snapshot Server and vector background layers. P2 does this very well
> and there's no support for it in iD. P2 looks like it'll be the go-to
> solution for projects like the DfT cycling data for a while yet.
> Secondly, there's simply the comfort of editing. I find P2 to be a very
> efficient and enjoyable editor to work with, which is perhaps not too
> surprising, but there are plenty of others who think so too. A comparable
> spot in the editor market to Merkaartor, if you like. But we do need to be
> aware that Flash Player is no longer a given, and I suspect that in a year's
> time, market penetration even on the desktop will be lucky to hit 80%.
> That second reason means that, for me at least, the priority is to get a
> version of P2 up and running on Adobe AIR. We can, of course, still have an
> online build too (especially for the third-party data use) and I see no
> reason why P2 can't continue as a selectable option on the osm.org Edit
> drop-down. Exasperatingly, AIR on Linux is limited to version 2.6, which I
> think equates to Flash Player 10.3.

Thanks for the update on this interesting situation. I haven't played
with iD until just now. The GUI looks excellent, and I love the modal
editing (press 2 then click to create a POI - no fiddly double
clicking). Looks like no tag templates ("features") yet, but
presumably underway. So, it looks like I'm not in either niche, and
will presumably switch to iD soon.

A few questions then about iD development:
- are the internals at all similar to Potlatch? Is it feasible to port
any features (ie, back-end node/way manipulations) over? I know
ActionScript isn't exactly JavaScript, but...
- is there a specified direction or policy on what kinds of advanced
features will be allowed in? Is iD intended only as a beginners'
editor? Can advanced features be included?
- has there been any discussion about an openstreetmap.org version vs
a MapBox version? Perhaps the former would have a different policy on
the previous question...

> For the small remaining time that P2 is the default editor on osm.org, I'm
> happy to - indeed, would seek to - remain the maintainer of that instance.
> Any pull requests that can be instantly and confidently merged, I will (and
> do) merge promptly. Anything that requires a day's work for me to understand
> isn't going to happen; I can't afford to give a day away like that.

Here's a couple I prepared earlier:


It fixes a centroid calculation bug. You can very quickly verify that
it works and doesn't catastrophically fail.


This will not unduly tax your cerebral resources.


Stylistic considerations aside, this is an easy one.


Aesthetic considerations aside, this is also easy.

I will grant you that the following pull requests are non-trivial to
understand, but are also pretty easy to verify. And considering that
the *current situation* is producing bad data, the risks are probably

It's still sad to see those poor pull requests sitting there - if you
had any idea how many hours those two bug fixes took. *sigh*

> That doesn't, however, stop anyone from running their own forked instances,
> and indeed that should be valuable in proving that a particular pull request
> will work or otherwise. So, Steve, I would encourage you to put your own
> build of P2 somewhere and people can then play with and test that as a
> prelude to getting them merged into the github.com/systemed repository
> later.

Yeah, it's a good idea. I'm not sure of the logistics, but I'll have a
go. If I provide a merged .swf, is there anywhere you or someone could
host it?

> Personally I think maintaining a standalone desktop editor will be a whole
> bunch more fun. It frees up P2 to be P2, rather than everyone's first
> experience of contributing to OSM; it's more realistically forkable (anyone
> can offer a build for download); the UI doesn't have to be constrained by
> the browser window; performance should be better; it's less likely to
> attract the BAN crowd; and we can dump trac and use something sane.

For my part, I'm 100% a web guy. I barely use any desktop apps at all
these days and would live in a browser if I could. And the motivation
of contribution to P2 has always been about working on "the
OpenStreetMap editor". Not some advanced tool used by a few hardcore
types. But that's purely a personal, aesthetic view.

> [1] Apart from rendering all nodes, rather than just those in the currently
> selected way... that's a bit too GIS-like for me. But nothing's perfect, and
> to have that as my only gripe with it demonstrates exactly how good it is.

When you're trying to merge one edge each of two adjacent areas (eg, a
park and a cemetery), P2's behaviour can be quite annoying...:)


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