Archive for the 'FOSS4G 2011' Category

olhttp and DjangoZoom at FOSS4G 2011

Posted in Django, FOSS4G 2011, OpenLayers on September 15th, 2011 at 08:07:15

иконописSo, on Sunday, we released the new version of OpenLayers, with updated mobile support. This included the ability to do dragging and panning and even editing of features on mobile devices, including Android and iOS.

Last week, I finished up a quick project, called olhttp. olhttp is a demo of how to use the OpenLayers HTTP protocol to create a simple, straightforward UI for editing features — but one that is easily customizable.

This afternoon, I decided to make an attempt to put these two things together — specifically, to make it possible to demo feature editing on a mobile device like my new tablet, saving the features and then being able to display them on my Nexus S or a laptop. So, I wanted a quick and easy deployment plan for a GeoDjango app — after my experience with DotCloud, I’ve come to the realization that hosting my own shit is for chumps (unless I really need some specific high-level SLAs for uptime, which I almost never do for personal projects).

Luckily, I happened to be at a table full of FOSS4G Django Hackers, so they were able to suggest DjangoZoom, which recently added support for GeoDjango/PostGIS. I was able to apply for an invite, and later that afternoon, I had one, and was able to start playing with it.

Now, at the time, I was in a talk, so the only thing I had with me was my tablet; I figured I’d set my account up, and see how it went. Turned out, the answer was “really well”.

The way DjangoZoom works by default is that you give it a Github repository URL, and it will automatically fetch the code for you, and set up a Django database, appserver, etc., deploying your application’s code to the DjangoZoom servers. What does this mean in practice? Well, for me, it meant that I was able to continue with the setup process for DjangoZoom — all the way up through actually getting a working application deployed, without even switching from the tablet to the laptop. I provided my Django app to the platform, and it worked right out of the box.

After getting my application deployed in just minutes, I then moved onto modifying my app to specifically target touch devices. This included modifying the UI to be more touch friendly — larger editing icons, for example, since the defaults are very difficult to hit on a tablet or phone screen, with 200 ppi. This work (in a new github repo for the time being, olhttp-django) complete, I now have a simple, easy to use tablet editing UI. It works on phones like iOS and Android, it works in all browsers on the desktop, and it provides an easy to use data-input mechanism — and I never had to touch an Apache config.

That’s what I call “success”.