Set up the development environment

In this tutorial
You’ll set up a map.apps development project on your computer. It will allow you to run a demo app that serves as a starting point for your first map.apps development.

What you need

Before proceeding, make sure you have the following available on your machine:

Step 1: Get map.apps for Developers

map.apps for Developers is the development project template for map.apps. It is contributed by con terra and provides a project setup that makes it easy to get started with map.apps development.

  1. Download the latest map.apps for Developers project source code release from GitHub .

  2. Check that the version of the downloaded zip file matches the version of the map.apps distribution.
    Otherwise, download a matching version of map.apps for Developers from GitHub .

  3. Extract the downloaded zip file into a folder where you have write permissions.
    As an example, we will use C:\Users\a.miller in this guide, so after extracting the zip file, map.apps for Developers is available in C:\Users\a.miller\mapapps-4-developers-<version>.

Step 2: Install map.apps libraries

To build map.apps for Developers you will be using Apache Maven. When building, Maven requires access to libraries that come with the map.apps distribution zip file.

To make the map.apps libraries available to Maven, follow these steps:

  1. Extract the map.apps distribution zip into the folder C:\Users\a.miller. This will create the folder C:\Users\a.miller\map.apps-<version>.

  2. In the Windows command prompt, navigate into the folder C:\Users\a.miller\map.apps-<version>\sdk.

  3. Execute the command install-maven-libs.bat to install the required libraries.
    For Linux users, execute the script located in the same folder.

When run successfully the output of the command ends like this:

Checking for Maven installation... OK
Detecting Maven local repository path. This can take several minutes... OK

Ready to copy libraries to "C:\Users\a.miller\.m2\repository".
-> Press 'y' to continue, 'n' to abort: y
Copying map.apps libraries to Maven local repository... OK

Successfully installed map.apps libraries.


Now everything is prepared and we can start working with map.apps for Developers.

Step 3: Initialize map.apps for Developers

  1. Start Visual Studio Code (VS Code).

  2. In VS Code click FileOpen Folder and open C:\Users\a.miller\mapapps-4-developers-<version>.

  3. When you open the project for the very first time, you need to initialize it. You can skip this step if you initialized it in an earlier session. If unsure, just initialize the project without further worries.
    Initialize the project by clicking TerminalRun TaskInitialize from VS Code’s top-most menu. Alternatively you can press Ctrl+Shift+B and select Initialize to get the same result.

    vscode runtask 01

    The task will open a terminal and take some time to finish. When the task is done, the terminal reports a successful build like this:

    vscode console initialize 01

Now everything is ready to run map.apps for Developers.

Step 4: Run map.apps for Developers

  1. Build and run the project by clicking TerminalRun TaskRun from VS Code’s top-most menu. Alternatively you can press Ctrl+Shift+B and select Run to get the same result.

    When launching the first time, Maven downloads all required external libraries. This can take several minutes. When ready the VS Code Terminal states:

    vscode console run 01

    The browser will automatically open the "Demo" app:

    m4d browser started

Congratulations 🎉

The map.apps web application is now running and waiting for you to make some changes to the code.

Step 5: Make some changes

Now that we know you have a working setup, let’s change something in the source code and see how it is reflected in the browser.

Developing and debugging map.apps projects is more fun with a Chrome-based browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. We assume that you are using one of these in the following chapters.

First we will add some elements to the camera control widget (it’s a small window actually) that is displayed when you click the camera icon in the top left corner of the map.

Widget is just a general term for visual elements that can be displayed and arranged in an app. In many cases a widget is displayed as a window like here, but widgets can also be displayed in a panel or other types of containers. Even the map itself is a widget!

map.apps for Developers comes with two versions of the camera control widget. The bundle in folder sample_camera is implemented in TypeScript. Whereas the bundle in folder sample_camera_js is implemented in JavaScript. We will make changes to the Typescript bundle in this tutorial.

Let’s add a little divider below the coordinates section.

  1. In the VS Code explorer navigate to src > main > js > bundles > sample_camera > CameraControls.ts.vue. This file defines the camera control widget. Add a <hr> tag below the the position-viewer element and save the file like this:

            <v-layout column>
                <!-- fixed widget header section -->
                        v-if="latitude !== undefined && longitude !== undefined "
                    <view-mode-switcher v-model="viewmode" />
  2. Switch back to the browser and reload map.apps for Developers. After the app loaded click the camera icon in the top left corner of the map to display the camera control widget.

    m4d browser hr added

    What a beautiful line that is!

✅ Now that your development environment is set up and you successfully modified existing code, we can take the next step and extend map.apps with a new feature. The next chapter Your first bundle demonstrates how to add new functionality to map.apps from scratch.