Maps and Semantic Maps 0.5 released

Earlier today, versions 0.5 of Maps and Semantic Maps where released. Some mayor new features where added, and a whole bunch of things have been refactored. I also did some effort to improve the documentation by adding some screencasts and revising the developer docs. Version 0.4.2 proved to be pretty stable, since only 2 bugs have been found and fixed.

Let’s have a look at the new, awesome, functionality:

  • Strict parameter validation which allows you to get specific errors or warnings when entering invalid values or parameters. This functionality is obtained by relying on the Validator extension, which saw it’s first release today. This makes Maps dependent on Validator. Every distribution of Maps does include Validator, and Maps will automatically load Validator when it’s not loaded yet, so no extra installation work is required (unless you get the code from SVN).
  • Static map support makes you able to display maps as plain images instead of via a JavaScript (or other non-html language, for example flash) mapping API. This is very important since it makes viewing the maps possible for people who are browsing the web with a browser that does not support JavaScript (or this other language), or simply have it disabled for some reason.
  • Added a query printer that handles the osm result format.
  • Added support for GUI parameter selection of Yaron’s new version of SMW’s Special:Ask page to the query printers.
  • Added smart ‘autopanzoom’ like control for Google Maps and Yahoo! Maps.
  • Added internationalization to the OSM service, and an extra parameter to define per-map languages.

The list of all things that have been refactored is rather long, so I’ll only cover the most interesting things here:

  • Complete rewrite of the parameter handling. To make Maps work with Validator, this was required. The result is that Maps does not have a whole mess of specific validation and defaulting functions any more, since that’s now handled by Validator.
  • Moved the geographical coordinate data type handling from Semantic MediaWiki to Semantic Maps. This will make the SMW codebase smaller by moving the geographical coordinate data type out, which is logical, since if you use coordinates, you very likely also want maps.
  • Added code to unload any services from the service hook that are not present in the list of allowed services. This ensures they don’t get initialized, and makes any check to see if the service is one of the allowed ones further on unneeded.

As for documentation, I created 2 screencasts, both covering a different aspect of Maps. This way people can learn how to work with Maps in a more interactive way then just reading the documentation.

The developer documentation on how you can extend Maps using it’s hooks has been completely rewritten. This was needed since the previous version was created for Maps 0.3.3, since which a lot has been changed to the hook systems of Maps.

For a complete list of changes, see the Maps change log, and Semantic Maps change log.


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