iD is freaking awesome

I have written all manor of data maintenance apps over the years. One of the first apps I worked on professionally was a cadastral data maintenance monstrosity written in AML (shudders). I have created enough of these types of apps to know that I absolutely hate making these types of apps.

It isn’t just that they’re hard to code. And by hard to code, I mean really hard. They’re like ferreting a snowflake across the Sahara while trying to figure out what The Fountain was about hard. It’s more this: it’s almost impossible to create a data maintenance app that people want to use. Data maintenance isn’t fun. By the time people open your app they are already pissed off. To create a data maintenance app that people actually want to use is something I had written off years ago1.

Which is why what MapBox has accomplished with iD is so damn amazing. It makes you want to use it. It’s that good.

This is going to be a huge boon for OSM. After using iD, if I were king I’d dump any number of our layers and vendor maintenance packages and have our staff just start editing OSM via iD and using it as our basemap. It’s that good.

The iD editor itself is open source software (WTFPL licensed), and it is going to change the way we build web sites.

No jQuery. No Bootstrap. No Backbone. No Leaflet or OpenLayers or other mapping libraries.

It’s D3.

When I can free up some time I’m going to dig into the code and try to ferret out the genius. Mad props to MapBox. iD is freaking awesome.


1By written off I mean relegated to vendors. Redirecting the bitching is worth the premium.