Changes between Initial Version and Version 1 of Toolboxes

Apr 30, 2013, 6:58:14 AM (10 years ago)

Moving the page Toolboxes from GRASS Wiki (, small changes, merged with talk, long tables excluded, nothing wxGUI toolboxes


  • Toolboxes

    v1 v1  
     3= Toolboxes =
     5== wxGUI toolboxes ==
     7''Main article: wiki:wxGUIDevelopment/Toolboxes''
     9Toolboxes as GUI-only concept.
     11=== Toolbox approach discussed at the GRASS Community Code Sprint 2012 ===
     13At the [|community sprint in Prague 2012] the toolbox approach with different repositories as well as the approach using `"--with-toolbox/--without-toolbox"` configure statements at compile time have been discussed. The major drawback of these solutions is the their complexity and the problem of cross dependencies between modules.
     15A new approach has been suggested using XML files to describe toolboxes and special directory structure to hide unneeded modules from the user.
     17The idea is to have a binary directory containing only modules that are listed in a XML file that defines what core modules should be available and what toolboxes should be used. The XML file will be used by the GUI to create menu listings for the selected modules. All modules that are deactivated in the XML file will be held in a directory that is not available in the users binary path, but in the binary search path of modules. Hence unneeded modules are invisible at the command line and in the GUI, but still available for modules that might call other modules.
     19New toolboxes and core modules can be simply added to the search path and the GUI by editing the XML definition and calling g.extension. The module g.extension will simply links/copy the hidden modules into the binary directory that is visible by the user or move deselected modules in the hidden directory. The GUI will always analyzes the XML toolbox configuration file for menu generation.
     21The configuration XML file will include a list of core modules for general, raster, image, voxel and vector processing as well as the definition of toolboxes. Toolboxes are defined by their type (raster, vector, ...) a short description and a list of modules. Modules can be defined in several different toolboxes.
     24The GRASS development team should provide several pre-defined XML toolbox configuration files as for hydrological modeling, vector processing, terrain modeling, image analysis, ..., and WPS server.
     25Using this approach the repository structure must not be changed. The build system has to be modified to use the XML toolbox file to decide where to copy the binary modules and scripts. `g.extension` has to be extended to link/copy selected modules in the users binary search path and to remove modules from them. GRASS will be build as usual.
     27=== Original approach ===
     30 * See [ original post by Jarosław Jasiewicz]
     33Hi all!
     35That rather radical ideas I present here are rather for future, at least for GRASS 8,
     36but I'd like present it now for long-term reflection.
     38Probably all notice that for over two years there is big increase in add-on repository
     39(including me). There are modules of different quality: from fully GRASS toolsets,
     40to shell or python scripts, from  actively developed tools to abandoned,
     41from all-purpose tools to very specialized etc. I also think that that activity
     42will be grown due to substitute shell script by python
     44Similar situation is in main GRASS branch: there are modules for all like conversion tools,
     45interpolation methods, georeferencing etc, and very specialized modules for very limited
     46group of users (like wild fire), there are also some modules out of date.
     48I'm not enthusiastic about moving new modules into main branch. Almost every module has
     49different coding style and it will lasting in future that GRASS would be difficult to maintain.
     50On the other hand some people complains that some interesting modules are only available as
     51add-ons (I assume for some reasons they cannot install it)
     53So my suggestion is to rearrange future GRASS form two layers (main branch/add-on) into
     54three layers architecture:
     561) GRASS core layer: much limited limited than now, only GIS environment and basic,
     57all-puropse tools, slow changes, great stability
     582) GRASS toolset layer: oficcial GRASS thematic tools and toolsets (like terrain analysis,
     59hydrological analysis, photo-interpretation, landscape analysis etc,) every toolset with its
     60maintainer, rapid development, new ready to use tools after quality control may appear here,
     61also some of current main branch tool shall be moved to that layer
     623) GRASS community layer:  everything else like experimental, actively development new tools,
     63that what do not pass quality control, simple scripts, etc....
     65What benefits:
     66for developers and contributors: much clear situation and better publication path.
     67Toolset layer should be much more open for new tools than current GRASS main branch
     69for users: faster access to new tools.
     70There is no doubt that new tools are faster developed (less risk) than GRASS core
     71Binaries with toolsets could be maintained as separate apt/urpmi/pacman/yum/exe etc packages,
     72so it may appear in linux repository separetly form GRASS core.
     74There is only loose ideas. Most of them are of course taken from R (core/toolsets/rest of packages;
     75separate core and package development) but I think it is worth of some discuss ...
     81Criticism from the GRASS Wiki [ Tooboxes talk page]:
     82 * One of our best selling points vs. the competition is that you don't have to buy expensive addon toolboxes to have it do what you want to do.
     83 * It makes it a lot harder for new users to get started with what they want to do. Even when done well it's a brittle system dependent on 100% uptime servers etc. which in practice do not exist.
     84  * Comment: I don't see any problem here. We can distribute several packages of GRASS. It will give us just more flexibility. One of the packages could contain all (or all fundamental) toolboxes already installed. Basically we could publish two packages - 'minimal' with only core modules installed to give user freedom to decide (install) which toolboxes/modules he/she wants and 'standard' with all major toolboxes included.
     85 * Non-"core" modules will be neglected by the core devs and die from bit rot. (outside of grep's reach)
     86 * Those "non-core" modules have personally led me into all new ideas and directions outside of my normal field of study, which has rather positively affected the direction of my career and let me solve problems in novel ways for my peers that only cross-discipline tools/perspective could introduce us to.
     87 * Our download size is only about 25ish megs. that's tiny. Docs are bigger than code. Windows deps "aren't our fault" and switching to a different distribution model won't help that much at all.
     88 * Rather than focus development I fear it will dilute it. Divided we fall..
     89 * Big change is big work which could more productively be funneled into more critical pursuits. (I am not against needed change, but very against change-for-change's-sake.)
     94==== Proposal to change repository layout ====
     96===== Current repository layout =====
     98- grass
     99|- trunk
     100 |- raster/
     101 |- vector/
     102 |- ...
     104- grass-addons
     105|- raster/
     106|- vector/
     107|- ...
     110===== Proposed repository layout =====
     112- grass
     113|- trunk
     114 |- raster/
     115 |- vector/
     116 |- ...
     118- grass-tools
     119|- trunk
     120 |- raster/
     121 |- vector/
     122 |- ...
     124- grass-addons
     125|- raster/
     126|- vector/
     127|- ...
     131== Proposed toolboxes ==
     133'''Toolbox''' is a topic-based set of modules used for solving common GIS analysis, like hydrology, networking, LRS, etc.
     135=== Managing toolboxes ===
     137''This section describes how toolboxes in addons currently works. This can be part of the documentation. However, it this might be changed with the wxGUI toolboxes.''
     139`g.extension` is designed to manage locally installed GRASS [source:grass-addons/grass7 Addons]. It allows to install single addons modules and also toolboxes (flag `-t`). Note that toolbox support is '''experimental'''.
     141 * list available toolboxes
     144g.extension -tl
     148List of available extensions (toolboxes):
     149Hydrology (HY)
     150 *
     151 *
     152 *
     153 *
     154 *
     155 *
     156 *
     157 *
     158 *
     162 * list available modules from [source:grass-addons/grass7 Addons]
     165g.extension -l
     169List of available extensions (modules):
     175 * install new toolbox ("Hydrology")
     178g.extension -t extension=HY
     181 * install single module from "Hydrology" toolbox
     187Module `g.extension` also allows to list installed extensions
     189 * toolboxes
     192g.extension -ta
     196List of installed extensions (toolboxes):
     200 * or modules
     203g.extension -a
     207List of installed extensions (modules):
     219 * remove locally installed toolbox
     222g.extension -ft extension=HY operation=remove
     225 * remove single module
     228g.extension -f operation=remove
     232=== List of toolboxes ===
     234|| '''Toolbox name''' || '''Toolbox code''' || '''Description''' || '''Correlate toolbox''' ||
     235|| 3D Raster ||  R3 ||  All `r3.*` modules ||  ||
     236|| 3D Visualization ||  V3 || nviz_cmd ||  ||
     237|| Atmospheric tools ||  AT ||  Subset of image processing tool ||  ||
     238|| Cartography ||  CA ||, ps.output ||  ||
     239|| Database ||  DB ||  All `db.*` modules || Vector analysis ||
     240|| Geostatistcal ||  GS || v.krige maybe other ||  ||
     241|| GUI ||  GI || wxGUI ||  ||
     242|| Hydrology ||  HY || r.watershed, r.terraflow, `*` modules in addons, maybe other, r.flow, r.sim.water, r.sim.sediment || Raster analysis ||
     243|| Image Processing ||  IM ||  All `i.*` modules, selected r.* modules ||  ||
     244|| Interoperability tools ||  IO ||  All the various import/export modules except for GDAL/OGR || Raster analysis, Vector analysis, Image Processing, Database ||
     245|| Landscape analysis ||  LA ||  All `*` modules, maybe other || Raster analysis ||
     246|| Lidar analysis ||  LI ||  All `v.lidar.*` modules,, ||  ||
     247|| Linear Reference Systems ||  LS ||  All `v.lrs.*` modules || Vector analysis ||
     248|| Network analysis ||  NA ||  All `*` modules, maybe other || Vector analysis ||
     249|| Raster analysis ||  RA ||  A lot of basic `r.*` modules (like r.buffer, r.reclass, r.fillnull...) ||  ||
     250|| Terrain analysis ||  TA ||  Different kind of analysis: soil (r.sun,), terrain (r.slope.aspect, r.los), geomorphometry (r.param.scale) || Raster analysis ||
     251|| Vector analysis ||  VA ||  A lot of basic `v.*` modules (like v.buffer, v.centroid, v.overlay...) || Database ||
     254== How to implement ==
     256=== Proposal 1 ===
     257 * add html tag <param> in the description.html with these options:
     259<param name = "core"> for core module
     260<param name = "tool" value="tool_code/codes"> for toolbox
     261<param name = "addons" [value="tool_code/codes"]> for addons, value is optional
     264 * create a script to generate a xml file for each toolbox
     265 * add toolbox option in g.extension to read the xml and install the modules
     267=== Proposal 2 ===
     269 * modules (currently only [source:grass-addons/grass7 Addons]) are described (name, description, keywords, files) in metadata XML file called [ modules.xml] - this file is auto-generated, see [ trac page] for details
     270 * similarly toolboxes are described (name, code, correlate modules, list of modules) in [ toolboxes.xml] - this file is manually manageable via [ SVN]
     272`g.extension` reads (from remote server `modules.xml` when listing available modules (`-l`), and `toolboxes.xml` when listing available toolboxes (`-lt`). When installing toolbox using `g.extension` the module reads `toolboxes.xml` and installs in the loop given list of modules. When all modules are installed it also updates local metadata files - `GRASS_ADDON_BASE/modules.xml` and `GRASS_ADDON_BASE/toolboxes.xml`. These local metadata files are checked when listing locally installed toolboxes or single modules (`-a` or `-ta`).
     274=== Proposal 3 ===
     276Use a modified version of [ pip] (a tool for installing and managing Python packages)
     278With Pip you can add/change repository, compile C/Fortran module, manage dependencies, install from some version control system (use
     279URLs like hg+http://domain/repo -- or prefix git+, svn+ etc), and using [ virtualenv]