“Your wife might leave you if you work with open source” – No more

pros_cons_programmerThis is what an ESRI distributor told me (more or less) referring to the amount of time it takes someone to set up an interactive map web site  built around open source software.

Was meant in jest of course. He did have a point though. For anyone that is not very technical savvy, trying to create a simple website with a map and some interactivity was… let’s say, challenging the least. Compare having to install various components, editing Apache configs, copy/paste files around, searching for plugins, writing code for simple map interactions like zoom in/out, with the clean, drag & drop way of Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS.

To me, this was always the big gap in the FOSS4G ecosystem. Desktop GIS like QGIS, were not a problem any more. Download and install via a wizard. Easy. But there was never an quick (or painless) way of creating a map website.

Not until now, that is. Boundless has announced the release of their QGIS 2.14.1 distribution (1) which includes, among other goodies, the Web App Builder (currently in Beta) plugin.

Web App Builder allows you to create web apps directly from QGIS. Without writing a single line of code.

You can add different base maps or overlays:


And select the tools/functionality you want available on your site:


There are lots of other customization settings but those were the most interesting ones in my opinion. There are a few bugs (the tabbed interface is not working, doesn’t work well with different SRIDs) which result in blank pages, but all in all, I had a fully functional web site in less than 5 mins. That by itself is a huge improvement from the past!

You can download the Boundless QGIS distribution here. There is a form where you have to enter your details, etc but its definitely worthwhile.

Lots of kudos to the guys in Boundless and  I am sure lots of families will be thanking them too 😉

(1) To avoid confusion or misunderstandings as per @Mr Fahrenheit’s comment: QGIS is an open source project created and still actively been developed by an international team of contributors and not by just Boundless. This post is referring to a specific distribution/branch of QGIS which includes the WAB plugin


4 thoughts on ““Your wife might leave you if you work with open source” – No more

  1. You might want to make it more obvious that QGIS is a massive project built on OpenSource through collaboration between an astoundingly dedicated team. The wording above makes it seem like Boundless created QGIS, which is a bit disingenuous. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but that’s how it reads.

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