MS RFC 70: Integration of TinyOWS in MapServer project




Olivier Courtin


olivier dot courtin at




MapServer 6.2

Description: This RFC proposes a TinyOWS integration under MapServer Umbrella.

1. Overview

TinyOWS is often used tiedly with MapServer to provide WFS-T functionnalities.

The idea here is to bring to end user a more integrated solution through a single MapFile configuration file for both apps.

And also to put TinyOWS under MapServer project umbrella, to increase again its usage.

2. The proposed solution

2.1 Keeping the cycle release independent

MapServer and TinyOWS cycles releases are kept independent.

2.2 SVN

On SVN, TinyOWS location should be:

2.3 A common MapFile as config file

Aim is to be able to have for end user a single config file, so a text MapFile.

TinyOWS trunk already able to deal with MapFile to retrieve all it’s config stuff, through a dedicaded MapFile lexer.

The idea, in a quite near future, is to bring an LibMapFile API and so to allow others apps to use MapFile as a single config file way.

It will simplify the maintenace of such a parser, and avoid possibility to have distincts behaviours.

This LibMapFile API, is out of the scope of this RFC.

2.4 Perspective: Packaged build system

We could imagine from this RFC (and also with related mod_geocache integration), to provide an meta package with a single configure/make/make install, managing the build of MapServer, TinyOWS and mod_geocache at once.

These meta package build system is also out of the scope of this RFC.

3. Solution Details

3.0 Naming

TinyOWS will be called: MapServer TinyOWS (To keep the previous quite known name, and to give it the MapServer prefix)

3.1 Documentation

Move TinyOWS trac Wiki documentation to RST syntax.

Also need to enhance documentation to provide more examples and a comprehensive user manual, or at least something like and FAQ.

Native English writers, and guys who are not (yet) familiar with the project are really appreciated on helping on this.

3.2 Licence

TinyOWS already use MIT licence, as MapServer does. Copyright holders (Barbara Philippot and Olivier Courtin) should be kept on existing TinyOWS files.

3.3 Tickets

TinyOWS use a Trac, but as only few tickets are still open, an efficient way is just to create them back in MapServer one.

Should imply a new component in MapServer Trac, called: TinyOWS.

3.4 Developpers & PSC

Olivier Courtin should entered in MapServer PSC and have commit access to MapServer trunk, and will keep (at least for a while) the lead in the TinyOWS development stuff.

Others TinyOWS devs are already involved in MapServer project (Assefa, Alan).

One aim is also to have more MapServer devs ready to look at the code, and committing patches.

The MapServer PSC will become the ultimate decision autorithy for MapServer TinyOWS module.

3.5 SVN Import

TinyOWS trunk and 1.0 (coming) branch should be imported in MapServer SVN.

Previous commit history will be kept on the old TinyOWS SVN, for a while.

3.6 Code Convention

We have to call astyle on the whole code, to make it MapServer compliant: astyle –style=kr –unpad=paren –indent=spaces=2

3.7 Redirections domain could be redirected to the coming MapServer TinyOWS documentation pages. (

Mailings lists: tinyows-dev and tinyows-users should be stopped and news discussions should occurs to relevant mapserver ones.

3.8 Project Maturity

If we compare to MapServer, TinyOWS is a far more younger project, with a really small dev team. So it imply that decision, and administrative part of the project must be kept lightweight, at least for a while.

So RFC must be used only for big and majors changes, all the others common stuff, should be done “only” with simple Trac tickets, like:

  • Correct/improve OGC standard compliancy, and interoperability

  • Bug and security fixes

  • Minor feature enhancement

  • Small code refactoring

  • Unit tests policy

4. TinyOWS Code Review

4.1 Code Origin

All C code was written from scratch by TinyOWS devs, so should not be a real problem.

For XSD Schema coming from OGC, and OGC CITE Unit tests: Official OGC LICENSE is descripted here: it allows public diffusion, but not to modify it.

4.2 Code Quality

All code compile without any warning on commons Unix like platforms, with flags: -ansi -pedantic -Wall

All OGC CITE Units tests are valgrinded, (no error, no memory leak), but it’s doesn’t cover all the code branchs.

Some units tests like Cunit could be helpful in a future.

4.3 Security Audit

No external security audit never been perform on the code. The main inherent risk is SQL Injection.

Some checks already have been done with automated tools like sqlmap, but will need to be improved to adjust to some WFS-T and FE peculiar uses cases.

(No security hole “ve been found on TinyOWS trunk with sqlmap)

4.4 OGC WFS-T compliancy

Implementation of WFS 1.0.0, WFS 1.1.0, FE 1.0.0 and FE 1.1.0. Basic and Transactional profile, SF-0. (No Xlink nor Lock profile implemented)

TinyOWS trunk on OGC CITE unit test:
  • WFS-T 1.1.0 (r4) : 559 “Passed” / 0 “Failed”

  • WFS-T 1.0.0 (r3) : 398 “Passed” / 0 “Failed”

4.5 External Dependencies

  • LibXML2 >= 2.6.20 (and libxml2 trunk to avoid GML XSD Schema)

  • PostgreSQL >= 8.1.0

  • PostGIS >= 1.5.0

  • FastCGI is optional (but recommended)

4.6 MapFile notions not yet addressed

Some Mapfile concepts are not yet present in TinyOWS:
  • Only PostGIS CONNECTIONTYPE are handled

  • TinyOWS don’t pretend to support right now all the WFS parameters available in MapFile

  • But on the other hand you should be able to configure every part of TinyOWS from MapFile

  • Each CONNECTION string value in layers must be the same.

  • MapFile PROJECTION content is not parsed, so use explicit wfs_srs

  • MapFile LAYER/FILTER is not parsed.

  • Defaults values are TinyOWS ones, even for common properties shared by both apps.

  • TinyOWS don’t use DATA element from MapFile, so you have to use tinyows_table (and tinyows_schema if needed) in each layer.

  • If DUMP is not set to TRUE on a layer both Read and Write access are shutdown for these layer

4.7 Build system

TinyOWS use like MapServer autoconf and Makefile to build stuff.

4.8 Roadmap and vision

General aim is to keep the application the faster alternative available for WFS-T, as compliant as possible to next OGC and INSPIRE standards, and of course robust.

Mains future works area are (they will imply futures RFC, just here to notice them):
  • Add new export formats (Shapefile, KML…)

  • Apache Module support

  • More exhaustive unit tests policy (not only OGC ones)

  • More consistent behaviour and configuration directives for both TinyOWS and MS.

  • Oracle Spatial support

  • Application Schema support

  • WFS 2.0 and INSPIRE compliancy

5. Voting history

Passed with +1’s from Steve L., Steve W., Tamas, Dan, Howard, Assefa, Thomas and Tom on 8/19/2011.