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Which are the best open source tools for building a web gis application having PAN, Zoom, Query/search, Label etc options ?. I have decided to use Postgre sql for database and geoserver as middleware. I am a bit confused in selecting the software to design the GUI for the client side. I am a novice programmer , will geoexplorer be a good option or are there some other tools which can be easily customized for my work. ??

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For the features that your suggesting I would look at what is the most straight forward and easy to install stack that meets your needs. The software saying "You can have quick, powerful or cheap. Choose two." definitely applies here.

If you're only planning on doing simple queries such as identifying features then the power of PostGIS is likely overkill. It's much more simple to just upload shapefiles as a datastore directly into GeoServer.

OpenLayers once again is great and has lots of functionality such as support for coordinate systems other than WGS84 and Web Mercator but if you're not going to make use of that functionality then I would look at Leaflet, in my experience it has a much less steep learning curve for new users.

Also if you don't have a requirement that says you need to host the app on your own server then you can take a look at some of the hosted options as you'll get much more back from the time your invest. Using MangoMap or GeoCommons you will likely end up with a superior map for your users without having to write a single line of code.

If this is a project where you want to write some code then you can also take a look at CartoDB and MapBox. If you want to know more about all of these hosted platforms I wrote a free ebook on the subject that gives all the details you need to select one.

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thanks for the reply – user2400412 May 21 '13 at 9:38

You can use OpenLayers for client side. It stable,easy and had tons of examples on how to use a WFS(in your case to connect to PostgreSQL) etc. Geoserver, OSM uses it for rendering purposes.

You can also have a look at GeoExt which provides extJS widget for building maps. Again geoext uses OpenLayers for map rendering.

There are also PHP based framework which uses MapServer (OpenLayers already supports) like GeoMoose, CartoWeb etc.

I vote for OpenLayers since you can decide on the entire web page design unlike php framework running on to of MapScript bindings which have a default template and I found it not easy to manage such a large code base.

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thanks for the reply – user2400412 May 21 '13 at 9:38

Before deciding between Leaflet and OpenLayers, it might be worth having a look at the upcoming version which promises a cleaned up API and better documentation:

OpenLayers 3 is a comprehensive rewrite of the library, targeting the latest in HTML5 and CSS3 features. The library will continue to have broad support for projections, standard protocols, and editing functionality from OpenLayers 2.x. The new version of the library will focus on performance improvements, lighter builds, prettier visual components, an improved API, and more. Some of the major highlights are:

- - - - - - 8< - - - - - - 

A new codebase: This offers an opportunity to clean up some of the “clunky” ways of doing things in OpenLayers. The team will also create with new API designs, which will be more accessible to all.

High-quality documentation: The new release will also feature documentation with fresh examples and default designs in OpenLayers 3.0. Making a toolkit standout is about more than the actual code.

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thanks for the reply – user2400412 May 21 '13 at 9:37
@user2400412 You do not need to write thank you comments on gis.stackexchange. Instead, please upvote helpful answers and accept answer that solve your problem. – underdark May 21 '13 at 9:52

A nice light alternative to OpenLayers, which is the big popular javascript library for web-mapping, is Leaflet.

I use Leaflet with GeoServer to make some nice maps, including some interactivity. It does require custom coding, but not much, and it is much easier to use than OpenLayers.

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Thumbs up for leaflet, i switched from openlayers, when i almost broke my teeth trying to get around resolutions, zoom levels, etc. docs arent the best either. – U2ros May 21 '13 at 5:55
thanks for the reply – user2400412 May 21 '13 at 9:37

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