MS RFC 106: Support of Geomtransform JavaScript Plugin

Author:Alan Boudreault
Version:MapServer 7.0


This feature is experimental and backwards compatibility may be broken in the not-so-short term as the functionality evolves. It is the evolution of the MS RFC 102: Support of Styleitem JavaScript Plugin.


Refer to Javascript transformation for the up-to-date documentation.

1. Overview

Being able to style our features programmatically through javascript is a nice feature. This was added in MS RFC 102: Support of Styleitem JavaScript Plugin. It allows us to avoid writing many classes and styles in the mapfile. An additional use case of javascript could be the ability to modify the geometry of the feature based on the input geometry and/or its attributes.

2. Proposed solution

This RFC proposes the addition of a GEOMTRANSFORM javascript plugin. It will allow us to modify the geometry programmatically through javascript. This is similar to the built-in geomtransform (buffer, centroid, etc.), but allows you to implement your own logic using javascript. Additionally, you will be able to modify a geometry based on its attributes values.

3. Implementation Details

MapServer will have a new GEOMTRANSFORM keyword: javascript. This will point to a javascript file, which needs to return a new geometry. The following objects will be exposed for the purpose:

  • shapeObj
  • lineObj
  • pointObj

However, only a limited set of their properties will be available in JavaScript (for the moment). The geomtransform looks for a function named geomtransform and calls it.

3.1 Internal Implementation Details

  • New binding v8 file structure: will be in mapscript/v8.
  • Upgrade v8 binding to use v8 3.20. (Synched with NodeJS, future possibility?)
  • Expose shapeObj, lineObj and pointObj to v8:
  • The objects will be exposed the same way we expose objects in nodejs. (future possibility?)
  • The objects will have a constructor, so a “new pointObj()” will be possible. This is also mandatory to create a new geometry.
  • Modify the internal to use pre-determined function names for styleitem and geomtransform rather than coding in the global scope.

3.2 Mapfile and JavaScript Examples

Here is an example of GEOMTRANSFORM javascript.


    NAME "my_vector_layer"
    GEOMTRANSFORM "javascript:///path/to/my/file.js"


function geomtransform(shape) {
  new_shape = new shapeObj(); // constructor
  new_shape.add(new lineObj());

  new_point = new pointObj();
  new_point.x = clone_shape.line(0).point(0).x;
  new_point.y = clone_shape.line(0).point(0).y+30000; // vertical translation in meters

  return new_shape;

3.3 Modifying the geometry in Styleitem Javascript

You can use styleitem javascript in combination with the geomtransform javascript. However, this adds some overhead since two javascript scripts are executed for each shape. For this reason, it will also be possible to modify the geometry in the styleitem javascript method without having to use geomtransform. The difference in the styleitem javascript case is that instead of returning a new geometry, we modify the existing one. There might be some limitations with using this method though. (ie. not sure if it is safe to return another type of geometry in this case).

Here is an example:


function styleitem(shape) {
  new_shape = new shapeObj(); // constructor
  new_shape.add(new lineObj());

  new_point = new pointObj();
  new_point.x = shape.line(0).point(0).x;
  new_point.y = shape.line(0).point(0).y+30000; // vertical translation in meters


  return "STYLE SYMBOL 'star' COLOR 255 0 0  SIZE 10 END"; // or compute your style..

3.4 Files affected

  • mapv8.cpp: Generic implementation of the V8 support.
  • mapscript/v8: New mapscript directory for the binding.

3.5 Backwards Compatibility Issues

New functionality, but affects a little bit the MS RFC 102: Support of Styleitem JavaScript Plugin (We don’t return values in the global scope any more).

3.6 MapScript changes

New mapscript bindings.

5. Voting history

Passed with +1 from Stephen, Daniel, Thomas, Stephan, Tamas, Jeff, Mike, Assefa, Steve and Perry