Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are we there yet?

Is anybody home?
It's been three weeks since we announced that the Esri Geoportal extension would be released as open source. It may have seemed a bit quiet since, but rest assured, a lot has happened.

In my previous post I indicated we were looking at a Creative Commons-esk license model. Several people pointed out that this license is not recommended for source code. And yes we did see the FAQ on that topic.

And so started a quest for an appropriate license model that would give everyone: developers, implementers, and (sorry folks!) Esri what they need. If there only was a geek channel on TV. this would have made a great 'America's next top (license) model' show.

Along the way we revisited a great resource collected by the state of Massachusetts IT Division. It’s a bit dated, but the basics still apply.

While Esri has experience with open source from a licensing-in perspective, with the Geoportal extension going open source, we're flipping into a new role for the first time of licensing-out Esri software under an open source license.

From the 50+ (!) models discussed in that spreadsheet, it would have been great fun to use the Motosoto or Sleepycat license models, just because of their names. But no, we didn't select either.

Geoportal Extension will be released under the Apache 2.0 license!

Are we there yet?

Almost. We now have the task of moving source code, documentation, and such to a public source repository and find a proper way to integrate/link with the Esri websites (resource centers and such). But with this big step made, we're getting close.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Geoportal Extension to Become Open Source

Despite code documentation and samples as included on the Geoportal Resource Center, implementers of the Geoportal Extension have continued asking for source code access to support integration with content management systems, map viewers, desktop etc.

Esri listened to these requests and I am happy to be able to announce that:

the Geoportal Extension will enter a next phase in its evolution and become a Free and Open Source solution from Esri.

Seven years ago we created what was then called the GIS Portal Toolkit as a software and services solution, based on code from a number of earlier projects and prototypes for data discovery and map viewing. 

Since starting with GIS Portal Toolkit, those using it to create geoportals and clearinghouses have had access to its source code. Understandably, as people looked at creating websites that reflected the organization's identity.

At version 9.3 this resulted in Geoportal becoming a fully supported extension with a full maintenance program. We put a lot of effort in making Geoportal Extension configurable to a large extent with respect to authentication, metadata profile support, the index used for discovery, localization, skin development, and more.

The Geoportal Extension will be released under one of the variants of the Creative Commons open source license and will include elements like:
  • Geoportal Web application
  • OGC CSW 2.0.2 catalog service with OGCCORE and ISO Application Profile support
  • INSPIRE compliant discovery service
  • Extensible FGDC, ISO, DC metadata support
  • Configurable search engine including spatial ranking algorithm
  • Federated searches to standards-based (CS-W), Web 2.0 (OpenSearch), or other types of search providers (CMS, Document Management Systems, …)
  • CSW clients (.NET + Java)
  • Data Discovery Widget for Flex
  • Data Discovery Widget for Silverlight
  • Data Discovery Widget for HTML
  • Ontology Service (java webapp)
  • WMC clients (.NET)
  • Publishing client (.NET)
We have some administration to do, but check back in later this month and next as we get the code out there. I'm looking forward to working with a larger community to further develop this product.