Friday, May 24, 2013

These last two days I've been at FOSS4G NA. As expected it was educational and fun. A few highlights.

LEAFLET - This has been a long time coming: Leaflet Rocks. Some 8 months ago my first posts were about Leaflet's shortcomings in a very complex situation, but Leaflet 0.5 and less-complex apps since then turned the tables entirely. I'm eating my words, and loving it.

OPENLAYERS 3 - Looks exciting. The API doesn't look too gnarly, it's still a slippy map, and the rendering speeds look exciting. It was just a preview but looks promising.

CESIUM - A modern replacement for the Google Earth Plugin, which even has a link to Google Frame so it will work with IE. I gotta take a look at this one, I'd love to see more "spinny maps"

JAVASCRIPT FRAMEWORKS - Travis Webb of NBT gave a talk about a JavaScript framework
 called Enyo. He compared jQuery to Perl, with which I agree: quick, effective, spaghetti. Enyo looks too far in the other direction: write the app entirely in JavaScript structures and LESS, compile it into HTML and CSS. Still, it warrants some investigation and perhaps *a little* more structured environment in our client-side JavaScript apps wouldn't be a bad thing. Maybe Backbone.js would give us the best middle ground of *allowing* structure while still *allowing* us to break the rules when we need it. (which is what I adore about CodeIgniter, it's the best of both)

GEOTXT - Frank Hardisty at Penn State turned us on to GeoT, a service which parses lengthy narrative text, finds named locations and geocodes them. There's a REST API returning a JSON structure. We have clients who would find this immediately useful.

My own lightning talk, about the hundreds of pieces in the Cleveland Metroparks app, was comparatively dry and technical. I thought that's what they wanted, but now I know better and my next LT will be less tech, fewer pieces, more animation.

Also, it's just great to be in Minnesota again. I was here for OSG 2005 over at UMN, and it's still a beautiful city with great public transit.

Thank you, FOSS4G NA organizers and presenters. Great time.

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