I am trying to understand the use case of WFS-T to alter data coming from a database such as PostGIS. It is normally recommended to use the WFS-T capabilities of a Web Feature server only if the data is coming from a database store (Concurrent editing of data coming from shapefile published by GeoServer would be problematic for example).

Moreover, working from a client such as OpenLayers, I can collect user input into GeoJSON for instance, handover the data to PHP, and save it directly into PostGIS.

My question therefore would be, when/where and why do I need to use the WFS-T capability of GeoServer?

  • 1
    The rationale for WFS-T is normally abstraction. Does your client really need to know the underlying database schema structure of a specific database, or would you be better off using a published (if complex standard). The answer is a matter of circumstance and opinion - suggest asking a specific question about this if you have one.
    – BradHards
    Dec 23, 2016 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


when/where and why do I need to use the WFS-T capability of GeoServer?

I think the answer to this question of need is of course: never

If you think you have a better way of handling edits to features in your database, then do it your way. Whenever you write code for any purpose there is never a one hat fits all way of doing something, you should always consider the benefits and negatives of taking one approach over another.

Obviously you have already gone through this process to some degree on choosing GeoServer over MapServer, deegree, or ArcGIS (other WFS server software exists)... for providing you with a WFS service. PosgreSQL/PostGIS over other data storage, OpenLayers over Leaflet... PHP over other scripting languages...

With WFS-T you get a standardized way of allowing edits to features. So you might want to consider what the advantages are of using standards. Obviously you think there is some merit in standards as it appears you want to to use WFS, I mean why did you choose to do that rather than writing your own way of extracting features from PostGIS to display in your client?

So some considerations (they could be positive/negative depending on your requirements).

  • If you have a WFS-T then people don't have to use your client.
  • Similarly you can have more than one client, and not have to worry about maintaining different versions of code.
  • If you change your mind over use of PHP/GeoServer/PostGIS in the future you wont't have to rewrite all your code
  • This is really a comprehensive answer. Thank you indeed ! Dec 30, 2016 at 10:36

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