The long awaited first beta release of the 1.6.x series has just been uploaded to SourceForge, go to the download page to grab your copy. The main thrust of this release is full support for WFS 1.1, completed as part of the CITE thread in OGC’s OWS-4 testbed. A number of other cutting edge features are also landing on the 1.6.x series, many getting backported to 1.5.x, but a number only available in this release. The one’s that will make it on to 1.5.2 include many small improvements to our KML support, along with GeoRSS output. Both also make use of our new templating system to customize output of the pop-ups. We’ve also got a new Google Maps demo, some nice syntax highlighting for SLD editing, and some improvements on the sample request screen (thanks to Jubal Harpster for the suggestion).

As for features that will not make it back to 1.5.2, the big one is our first beta release of the Versioning WFS we’ve been working on. It adds three new operations to the WFS – GetLog, GetDiff, and Rollback – to allow wiki type editing of maps. This deserves its own post, so soon we’ll get something up about our progress and how to try it out. The other big improvement is we’ve now got a really nice security sub-system called Acegi, fully integrated. We’re not really using it a whole lot yet, as we don’t have a good UI to add users and the like. Our first initial goal is to be able to authenticate any user who edits a versioned map, so we can store who did what in the database, allowing rollbacks on particular users. But it provides a framework to allow fine grained control over who can view and edit which featureTypes, and eventually even particular areas of the map. If anyone has funding available to advance this that would be great. The one place you can see the new security system in action already is when you log in to the web admin tool. There is now a check box to ‘remember me’, which adds a cookie so you never have to log in again, even after system restarts. This may actually be my favorite new feature, since I used to spend so much time typing in the passwords when debugging.

The final major improvement is increased performance of shapefiles, thanks to the Shapefile Renderer developed by Refractions for use in uDig. This is a great example of the virtuous circle of open source, where we can take advantage of their improvements. So shapefiles should be a bit faster in this release. So please download the release, try it out, and tell us what you think. We love getting feedback on where the pain points are, and hearing your ideas on how to make it better.