There’s a need for a good, high level description of the alternatives within in the “gently settling” stack of open source geoweb application development.
The OpenGeo Stack is the epitome of clarity, breaking down their tool set in a nice executive summary. But the OpenGeo stack only covers their tools, not all the available options. So I’m going to make a quick first pass of a high level overview. It’s useful for me, maybe for others. If you think I’ve done a poor job, help improve it in the comments, or on some wiki somewhere.
OpenGeo breaks things down into FrontEnd, Tiling, ApplicationFramework, Database. I’ll add Rendering, since in other tool sets this is split into different packages.
the slippy map
be nice to your database or WMS and cache map images into tiles, just like Google and friends
make pretty maps
where the the main logic of the app goes. MVC. CRUD. etc.
Random notes, other good sources
Architect your interfaces on Geo RESTful services. Andrew breaks down the formats and approaches for Neogeography and the GeoWeb in this presentation and book. For Ajax smooveness, use jQuery or prototype. Paul Ramsey has a good deep overview of open source GIS. Mecklenburg County GIS is a nice example of an instance of the stack.
There really is a need for a new book on this stuff, the O’Reilly trio of paper geo titles are great but out of date, and the landscape of osgeowebappdev is stabilising. Of course, no one wants to write it.