d3 is the primary library used by iD. It is used for rendering the map data as well as many sorts of general DOM manipulation tasks for which jQuery would often be used.
Notable features of d3 that are used by iD include d3.xhr, which is used to make the API requests to download data from openstreetmap.org and save changes; d3.dispatch, which provides a callback-based Observer pattern between different parts of iD; d3.geo.path, which generates SVG paths for lines and areas; and d3.behavior.zoom, which implements map panning and zooming.
The OSM data model includes three basic data types: nodes, ways, and relations.
- A node is a point type, having a single geographic coordinate.
- A way is an ordered list of nodes.
- A relation groups together nodes, ways, and other relations to provide free-form higher-level structures.
Each of these three types has tags: an associative array of key-value pairs which describe the object.
In iD, these three types are implemented by
iD.Relation. These three classes inherit from a common base,
This is the only use of classical inheritance in iD, but it's justified
by the common functionality of the types. Generically, we refer to a
node, way or relation as an entity.
Every entity has an ID either assigned by the OSM database or a negative, local identifier assigned by iD for newly-created objects. IDs from the OSM database as treated as opaque strings; no assumptions are made of them other than that they can be compared for identity and do not begin with a minus sign (and thus will not conflict with proxy IDs). The three types of entities have separate ID spaces: a node can have the same numeric ID as a way or a relation. Instead of segregating ways, nodes, and other entities into different datastructures, iD internally uses fully-unique IDs generated by prefixing each OSM ID with the first letter of the entity type. For example, a way with OSM ID 123456 is represented as 'w123456' within iD.
iD entities are immutable: once constructed, an
Entity object cannot
change. Tags cannot be updated; nodes cannot be added or removed from ways,
and so on. Immutability makes it easier to reason about the behavior of an
entity: if your code has a reference to one, it is safe to store it and use it
later, knowing that it cannot have been changed outside of your control. It
also makes it possible to implement the entity graph (described below) as an
efficient persistent data
Since iD is an editor, it must allow for new versions of entities. The
solution is that all edits produce new copies of anything that changes. At the
entity level, this takes the form of methods such as
returns a new node object that has the same ID and tags as the original, but a
different coordinate. More generically,
iD.Entity#update returns a new
entity of the same type and ID as the original but with specified properties
Entities are related to one another: ways have many nodes and relations have
many members. To render a map of a certain area, iD needs a
datastructure to hold all the entities in that area and traverse these
iD.Graph provides this functionality. The core of a graph is
a map between IDs and the associated entities; given an ID, the graph can give
you the entity. Like entities, a graph is immutable: adding, replacing, or
removing an entity produces a new graph, and the original is unchanged.
Because entities are immutable, the original and new graphs can minimize
memory use by sharing references to entities that have not changed instead of
copying the entire graph.
This persistent data structure approach is similar to the internals of
the git revision control system.
The final major component of the core is
iD.History, which tracks the changes
made in an editing session and provides undo/redo capabilities. Here, the
immutable nature of the core types really pays off: the history is a simple
stack of graphs, each representing the state of the data at a particular point
in editing. The graph at the top of the stack is the current state, off which
all rendering is based. To undo the last change, this graph is popped off the
stack, and the map is re-rendered based on the new top of the stack.
This approach constitutes one of the main differences between iD's approach to data and that of JOSM and Potlatch 2. Instead of changing a single copy of local data and having to implement an 'undo' for each specific action, actions in iD do not need to be aware of history and the undo system.
Finally, we have the auxiliary classes
iD.Difference encapsulates the difference between two graphs, and knows how to calculate the
set of entities that were created, modified, or deleted, and need to be redrawn.
var a = iD.Graph(), b = iD.Graph(); // (fill a & b with data) var difference = iD.Difference(a, b); // returns entities created between and b difference.created();
iD.Tree calculates the set of downloaded entities that are visible in the
current map view. To calculate this quickly during map
interaction, it uses an R-tree.
var graph = iD.Graph(); // (load OSM data into graph) // this tree indexes the contents of the graph var tree = iD.Tree(graph); // quickly pull all features that intersect with an extent var features = tree.intersects( iD.geo.Extent([0, 0], [2, 2]), tree.graph());
In iD, an action is a function that accepts a graph as input and returns a
new, modified graph as output. Actions typically need other inputs as well; for
iD.actions.DeleteNode also requires the ID of a node to delete. The
additional input is passed to the action's constructor:
// construct the action: this returns a function that remembers the // value `n123456` in a closure so that when it's called, it runs // the specified action on the graph var action = iD.actions.DeleteNode('n123456'); // apply the action, yielding a new graph. oldGraph is untouched. newGraph = action(oldGraph);
iD provides actions for all the typical things an editor needs to do: add a
new entity, split a way in two, connect the vertices of two ways together, and
so on. In addition to performing the basic work needed to accomplish these
things, an action typically contains a significant amount of logic for keeping
the relationships between entities logical and consistent. For example, an
action as apparently simple as
DeleteNode, in addition to removing the node
from the graph, needs to do two other things: remove the node from any ways in
which it is a member (which in turn requires deleting parent ways that are
left with just a single node), and removing it from any relations of which it
is a member.
With modes, we shift gears from abstract data types and algorithms to the parts of the architecture that implement the user interface for iD. Modes are manifested in the interface by the three buttons at the top left:
The modality of existing OSM editors runs the gamut from Potlatch 2, which is almost entirely modeless, to JOSM, which sports half a dozen modes out of the box and has many more provided by plugins. iD seeks a middle ground: too few modes can leave new users unsure where to start, while too many can be overwhelming.
iD's user-facing modes consist of a base "Browse" mode, in which you can move
around the map and select and edit entities, and three geometrically-oriented
drawing modes, which are accessible through the mode buttons in the upper
toolbar: Point, Line, and Area. In the code, these are broken down a
little bit more. There are separate modes for when an entity is selected
iD.modes.Select) versus when nothing is selected (
each of the geometric modes is split into one mode for starting to draw an
object and one mode for continuing an existing object (with the exception of
iD.modes.AddPoint, which is a single-step operation for obvious reasons).
The code interface for each mode consists of a pair of methods:
exit. In the
enter method, a mode sets up all the behavior that should be
present when that mode is active. This typically means binding callbacks to
DOM events that will be triggered on map elements, installing keybindings, and
showing certain parts of the interface like the inspector in
exit mode does the opposite, removing the behavior installed by the
enter method. Together the two methods ensure that modes are self-contained
and exclusive: each mode knows exactly the behavior that is specific to that
mode, and exactly one mode's behavior is active at any time.
Certain behaviors are common to more than one mode. For example, iD indicates
interactive map elements by drawing a halo around them when you hover over
them, and this behavior is common to both the browse and draw modes. Instead
of duplicating the code to implement this behavior in all these modes, we
extract it to
Behaviors take their inspiration from d3's
behaviors. Like d3's
drag, each iD behavior is a function that takes as input a d3 selection
(assumed to consist of a single element) and installs the DOM event bindings
necessary to implement the behavior. The
Hover behavior, for example,
installs bindings for the
mouseout events that add and
hover class from map elements.
Because certain behaviors are appropriate to some but not all modes, we need
the ability to remove a behavior when entering a mode where it is not
appropriate. (This is functionality not yet
provided by d3's own behaviors.)
Each behavior implements an
off function that "uninstalls" the behavior.
This is very similar to the
exit method of a mode, and in fact many modes do
little else but uninstall behaviors in their
Operations wrap actions, providing their user-interface: tooltips, key
bindings, and the logic that determines whether an action can be validly
performed given the current map state and selection. Each operation is
constructed with the list of IDs which are currently selected and a
object which provides access to the history and other important parts of iD's
internal state. After being constructed, an operation can be queried as to
whether or not it should be made available (i.e., show up in the context menu)
and if so, if it should be enabled.
We make a distinction between availability and enabled state for the sake of learnability: most operations are available so long as an entity of the appropriate type is selected. Even if it remains disabled for other reasons (e.g. because you can't split a way on its start or end vertex), a new user can still learn that "this is something I can do to this type of thing", and a tooltip can provide an explanation of what that operation does and the conditions under which it is enabled.
To execute an operation, call it as a function, with no arguments. The typical
operation will perform the appropriate action, creating a new undo state in
the history, and then enter the appropriate mode. For example,
iD.actions.Split, then enters
iD.modes.Select with the resulting ways selected.
Finally, we get to the parts of iD that actually draw and manipulate the map
entities on screen. The rendering is coordinated by
iD.Map, which takes care
of setting up a Spherical Mercator
projection and the zoom
behavior, and provides
accessors for such things as the current zoom level and map center.
For rendering entities on screen, we found it convenient to adopt a geometric vocabulary that provides a slightly higher-level representation than the basic entity types of the OSM data model:
- A point is a node that is not a member of any way.
- A vertex is a node that is a member of one or more ways.
- A line is a way that is not an area.
- An area is a way that is circular and has certain tags, or a series of one or more ways grouped in a multipolygon relation.
For each of these geometric types,
iD.svg has a corresponding module:
render entities on screen,
iD.Map delegates to these modules. Internally,
they make heavy use of d3 joins to
manipulate the SVG elements that visually represent the map entities. When an
entity is rendered for the first time, it is part of the enter selection,
and the SVG elements needed to represent it are created. When an entity is
modified, it is part of the update selection, and the appropriate attributes
of the SVG element (for example, those that specify the location on screen)
are updated. And when an entity is deleted (or simply moves offscreen), the
corresponding SVG element is in the exit selection, and will be removed.
iD.svg modules apply classes to the SVG elements based on the entity
iD.svg.TagClasses. For example, an entity tagged with
highway=residential gets two classes:
tag-highway-residential. This allows distinct visual styles to be applied
via CSS at either the key or key-value levels. SVG elements also receive a
class corresponding to their entity type (
one corresponding to their geometry type (
iD.svg namespace has a few other modules that don't have a one-to-one
correspondence with entities:
iD.svg.Midpointsrenders the small "virtual node" at the midpoint between two vertices.
iD.svg.Labelsrenders the textual labels.
iD.svg.Surfacesets up a number of layers that ensure that map elements appear in an appropriate z-order.
iD provides a lot of user interface elements other than the core map component: the page footer, the interface for saving changes, the splash screen you see the first time you use iD, the geocoding and background layer controls, and the tag/preset editor, for example.
The implementations for all non-map UI components live in the
Many of the modules in this namespace follow a pattern for reusable d3
components originally suggested by Mike
Bostock in the context of charts. The entry point to a UI element is a
constructor function, e.g.
iD.ui.Geocoder(). The constructor function may
require a set of mandatory arguments; for most UI components exactly one
argument is required, a
context object produced by the top-level
A component needs some way to be rendered on screen by creating new DOM elements or manipulating existing elements. This is done by calling the component as a function, and passing a d3 selection where the component should render itself:
var container = d3.select('body').append('div') .attr('class', 'map-control geocode-control'); var geocoder = iD.ui.Geocoder(context)(container);
Alternatively, and more commonly, the same result is accomplished with d3.selection#call:
d3.select('body').append('div') .attr('class', 'map-control geocode-control') .call(iD.ui.Geocoder(context));
Some components are reconfigurable, and some provide functionality beyond basic rendering. Both reconfiguration and extended functionality are exposed via module functions:
var inspector = iD.ui.Inspector(); inspector(container); // render the inspector inspector.tags(); // retrieve the current tags inspector.on('change', callback); // get notified when a tag change is made