Scribe UI

First ScribeUI 0.1 Release

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ScribeUI is a tool meant to help the editing and management of mapfiles, supporting Scribe and Standard mapfile syntax, and basemaps in the near future. I am currently developping this tool as a Google Summer of Code project. In the last few weeks, I worked on the GUI of ScribeUI, trying to make it as good and smooth as possible, and it is now ready to test and try out by the community!

Please keep in mind that this is far for complete, but we felt that it was important to release early, as this allows to gather opinions on what the users want and need. Any feedback is welcome, should it be new feature ideas, general comments or bug reports.

I would love to see many people play with ScribeUI, but I would advise against doing any critical work for now, as the software might be a bit unstable at times.

I listed below a few bugs and unfinished tasks we are currently aware of.

Work in Progress

  • The map list (in the Manager) is just a bunch of blank file icons for now. These will become map snapshots.
  • The Scribe syntax errors for now are not clear. This is solved in a new version of Scribe which I will integrate in the next release.
  • Basemap support is on hold until next release, it has to be tested more.
  • For now only one template is available for each map type.
  • It is not yet possible to edit workspace or map name, description or password.
  • UI error messages need more work to be clear to the user.

Known Bugs

  • The layout was mostly tested in Firefox. Scrollbars and other oddities appear in Chrome.
  • Sometimes the backend start giving out errors 500 on open, save, or pretty much any ajax call to the map.
  • Long map names don’t display very well in the map list
  • Resizing the window completely breaks the layout.
  • Web browsers’ default handling of ctrl-z results in loss of layer groups.
  • It is only possible to close the secondary editor (map, variable, scales, etc… ) by selecting the empty option in the select menu.
  • The browser font is too small

Download and Links

To get ScribeUI 0.1, you can either clone the repo on github and checkout v0.1 or download an archive.

ScribeUI and its installation instructions are available on github:

The Scribe syntax is described here:

Bug reports can be made on the github:

Discussion is encouraged on the mapserver-user mailing list.

Thanks a lot!


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First Page

When the app is first opened, the app asks for a workspace to work on. The workspaces allow ScribeUI to be cloud-based, with each user or project having its own workspace.


The manager lists the maps withing the project. The icons will be snapshots of the map. The toolbar at the bottom of the map is accessible from anywhere. The quickview is very useful, as it allows the user to save and quickly get back to certain map extents.


This is the most important part of the app. The toolbar on top of the text box contains most tools for the mapfile edition.

  • Layer Groups: Choose the currently edited layer group from the drop-down. Group order and deletion managed in a pop-up appearing when the user clicks on the icon next to the drop-down.

  • Variables: Opens a panel on top of the regular editor. It contains the map’s variables, if the project is in Scribe.

  • Settings: This drop-down contains editable sections of the map project.

  • Debug: The flag icon opens a list of debugs links. Mapfile Result is the outputted mapfile, Scribe logs contains log messages from Scribe and Mapserver Debug contains the debug output from mapserver.

  • Editor Settings: The gear icon will allow the user to edit the editor’s configuration.

  • Swatch Toolbar: The swatches at the bottom of the editor allow the user to edit the project’s colors with a color picker.

Editable Panel

When a user clicks on one of the settings option, or on the variable button, a panel opens that allows the edition of that particular setting.

A big thanks to the people from Balsamiq who gave a licence for their mockups software to this GSoC project !

Start of the Project

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ScribeUI was accepted as a Google Summer of Code 2013 entry with OSGeo!

The beginning of the project so far has been all about preparation. What new functionnalities do we want ? What current functionnality needs to get better ? What is good about the current application, and what needs to be redone ? What are the bugs, and how important are they ?

So before a first version can be released, a few things need to be done. First, GUI Mockups. The main weakness of the application right now is the GUI, and the mockups really help bringing new ideas before doing any coding. The mockups will be up shortly on this blog.

Next, there need to be some rethinking of the code to have it work with modules. That way, implementing new features will be much easier.

Also, two bugs need to be corrected before releasing the project. Both bugs cause loss of work made by the user, that is why they need to be fixed as soon as possible.

And finally, actually implemeting the new GUI as directed by the mockups.

Once all of this is done, the app can be used and tested by anyone interested. Some functionnalities will be missing, but the core will be there.