Toronto Code Sprint: Day 1

I’m here at the OSGeo Code Sprint in Toronto, where more than 20 OSGeo hackers have gathered to work on all things OSGeo — or at least MapServer, GDAL/OGR, and PostGIS.

For those who might not know, a code sprint is an event designed to gather a number of people working on the same software together with the intention of working together to get a large amount of development work done quickly. In this case, the sprint is a meeting of the “C tribe”: Developers working on the C-based stack in OSGeo.

After some discussion yesterday, there ended up being approximately 3 groups at the sprint:

  • People targeting MapServer development
  • PostGIS developers
  • liblas developers

(As usual, I’m a floater, but primarily concentrating on OpenLayers; Schuyler will be joining me in this pursuit, and I’ve got another hacker coming Monday and Tuesday to sprint with us.)

The MapServer group was the most lively discussion group (and is also the largest). It sounded like there were three significant development discussions that were taking place: XML Mapfiles, integration of pluggable rendering backends, and performance enhancements, as well as work on documentation.

After a long discussion on the benefits/merits of XML mapfiles, it came down to there being one main target use case for the XML mapfile is encouraging the creation and use of more editing clients. With a format that can be easily round-tripped between client and server, you might see more editors able to really speak the same language. In order to test this hypothesis, a standard XSLT transform will be created and documented, with a tool to do the conversion; this will allow MapServer to test out the development before integrating XML mapfile support into the library itself.

I didn’t listen as closely to the pluggable renderers discussion, but I am aware that there’s a desire to improve support and reduce code duplication of various sorts, and the primary author of the AGG rendering support is here and participating in the sprint. Recently, there has been a proposal to the list to add OpenGL based rendering support to MapServer, so this is a step in that direction.

The PostGIS group was excited to have so many people in the same place at the same time, and I think came close to skipping lunch in order to get more time working together. In the end, they did go, but it seemed to be a highly productive meeting. Among some of their discussions was a small amount of discusssion on the WKTRaster project which is currently ongoing, I believe.

After our first day of coding, we headed to a Toronto Marlies hockey game. This was, for many of us, the first professional hockey we’d ever seen. (The Marlies are the equivilant of AAA baseball; one step below the major leagues.) The Canadians in the audience, especially Jeff McKenna, who played professional hockey for a time, helped keep the rest of us informed. The Marlies lost 6-1, sadly, but as a non-Canadian, I had to root a bit for the Hershey team. (Two fights did break out; pictures forthcoming.)

We finished up with a great dinner at East Side Mario’s.

A special thanks to our two sponsors for the day, Rich Greenwood of Greenwood Map and Steve Lehr from QPUBLIC! Our sprint was in a great place, very productive, and had great events, thanks to the support of these great people.

Looking forward to another great day.

One Response to “Toronto Code Sprint: Day 1”

  1. MapServer Code Sprint Progress « tommy’s scratchpad Says:

    [...] has full details on his blog (day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4).  More details from Chris (day 1, day 2, day 3, day [...]

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