Getting started with ScribeUI

Samuel Lapointe edited this page Aug 20, 2015 · 11 revisions

Getting started with ScribeUI

Before you start

If you haven't installed ScribeUI yet, see this guide first.

Creating your first workspace

Workspaces could be compared to projects in other development environments. They can contain multiple maps and points of interest. You will need to create one in order to use ScribeUI.

To access ScribeUI, open your web browser and go to the address where it is running, which is by default. You should see this on your screen:


The default workspace contains the map templates. Its password is "default". It is recommended that you don't change anything in this workspace, unless you want to add templates.

Instead, press on Create workspace to create a new workspace. A popup will ask you for a name and a password. Enter the name you want to give to your workspace, a password if you want one, then press Create.

You will now see your workspace in the dropdown menu where default was written earlier. To delete the selected workspace, press on Delete Workspace. To access it, press on Open Workspace.

The Manager

After you've logged in to your new workspace, you will see this:


This is the Manager tab, where you will find and create the maps in your workspace. On the upper left corner of the screen, there are two other tabs, Editor and Browse. These tabs won't be useful without a map, so they will be described later. On the upper right corner of the screen, there is a dropdown menu with the workspace's name. To return to the login screen, press on your workspace's name then Logout. On the bottom right, there is a dropdown menu. This is the Points of interest dropdown, which will also be described after we have a map.

Creating a map

Press on the New Map button on the left side of the screen to create a map. A popup will open:

Creating a new map

The Name field is where you enter the map's name. The Type dropdown will give you two choices:

  • Scribe will create a map using the Scribe syntax, select this option for the tutorial
  • Standard will use the regular Mapfile syntax

Leave the Template field with default, and you can add text in the Description field if you want.

If you press on the + button at the bottom of the screen, two more options will appear. Workspace lets you select a workspace other than default to select your template from, and password is the Password to that workspace if there is one.

When you're done, press on the Create button to create the map. It will now appear on the left part of the screen. Press on its thumbnail to show a preview and a few options:

Previewing a map

Under the preview of the map, you will find seven options:

  • Open map: Opens the map in the right side of the screen, allows using the Editor and Browse tabs
  • Export map: Export the map to a .zip file
  • Delete map: Deletes the map from the workspace
  • Configure: Use this to set a Git URL
  • Pull: Pulls the latest version of the configured project using Git
  • Push: Pushes the project using Git
  • Mapcache: Create tiling jobs

Press on Open map to open your new map. You should see a map of the world. On the bottom right of the screen, the Points of interest dropdown should now be usable. You can add a shortcut to your current view by pressing the + button in the dropdown, and remove the selected point of interest by pressing the - button.

Map export

To export a map, select a map in the manager tab and press on the Export Map button. This popup will open:


Pressing on Export will generate a .zip file containing the map files. You can use it as a way to backup your maps or to share them with other users.

Map import

To import a map, go in the manager tab and press the Import Map button. This popup will open:


You can choose a name for the map to be imported, select a .zip file and press import. While the file is uploading, the logs won't update and the status will stay on "In progress". It can take a long time if the map is large or if your connection is slow. Once the process is complete, you will see the map in the manager view.

The Editor

With your map open, you can now access the Editor tab, the second tab located in the upper left corner of your screen. In this interface, you will be able to modify the map:

Editor view

On the top left, there are two dropdown menus. In the first one, you have these options:

  • Groups: These are the layers of the map. If selected, the left part of the screen will only show the layer selected in the second dropdown. Otherwise, the layer selected will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Map: This section is the Map section of a regular Mapfile. If the active map has been set to use the Scribe syntax, the code in the editor will also use that syntax. This is true for every option.
  • Variables: The Scribe variables. This section will be empty if the map wasn't set to use the Scribe syntax since regular mapfiles do not have variables.
  • Scales: The numerical values for every scale level.
  • Symbols: The symbols definition file.
  • Fonts: The fonts to be used with the map.
  • Projection: The projection(s) to be used with the map.
  • ReadMe: You can fill this file with useful information about the map.

The second dropdown contains the layers in the map. The tool button next to it lets you change the order of the layers, as well as add or remove a layer.


ScribeUI has a debugging feature for when a mapfile can't be rendered by mapserver, or converted by Scribe.


When the map renders pink error tiles, an error message appears over it with a link to open the logs if they're not already open. In the logs, there are two links: one to the location of the error in the result mapfile, and one to the location of the error in the editor. These links are available only when the error returned by mapserver contains the line number.

Sometimes the error can't be located in the editor, often because of the differences between the Scribe syntax and the regular mapfile syntax. When that happens, you should still be able to find it in the result tab.


Classify is a new plugin that adds a button to automatically create classes from a set of data. To use it, start by opening a map. On the left side of the screen, you will find a Classify button:


Clicking on it will make a new popup appear:

Classify Menu

  • Group/Layer specifies in which group the classes should be added

  • Data source gives you a list of the data sources in the selected layer. Choose the one you want to use to make classes.

  • Field is the field to classify. The fields available are those found in the selected data source.

  • Class type is a choice between Qualitative, where all individual values have their own class, and Quantitative, where ranges of values have a class.

  • Colors defines the colors to use for the classes, if any. When clicking on Choose, this menu will appear:

Color menu

To add a single color, choose one by clicking on the black square (if you use Chrome or Firefox), or enter its hexadecimal value. Click on the Add button located on the right to add it to the selected colors.

To add a range of colors, choose the starting and last colors, as well as how many colors to generate, then click on Add.

To remove a selected color, press on it in the Selected colors area and click on Remove. To move it, click on Move left or Move right and to remove all the selected colors, click on Clear. When you're done, press on Confirm in the bottom right of the popup.

When you're done choosing colors, you will go back to the classify menu. To generate the classes, press on Confirm on the bottom right.

Here is an example of the kind of classes you can generate using this feature:


The File Browser

The third tab in the upper left corner is the Browse tab. You can access it when a map is opened:


This viewer is useful to check if any file is missing or to do simple modifications. For more informations on how to use this file browser, see the elFinder wiki

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