We’re excited to bring you TileMill 0.9.0. The latest release of our map design studio adds native Windows support, a new plugin system, and key core improvements. Whether you’ve been meaning to try TileMill or are a longtime user, expect a more powerful, accessible map design experience starting today.

Full Windows support

TileMill on Windows

For the first time TileMill is now fully available on Windows, making it available in all three major operating system - including iOS and Linux. TileMill can be up and running in minutes using our easy installer on any Windows XP, Vista, or 7 box. As this is our first Windows release, we’re expecting to hear about bumps and rough spots in your experience and are looking forward to resolving issues in upcoming releases.

Plugins

Plugins panel

Amongst the biggest architectural changes in TileMill is the introduction of a new plugin system. Leveraging the architecture of Bones, our server side Backbone.js framework, and the package management API of npm, the node package manager, the TileMill UI can now be extended and modified using standalone, JavaScript plugins. Two plugins are available out of the box and we’re hoping to make several more available in the coming weeks.

Lots

Lots screenshot

Based on Tom’s lots, this plugin adds multiple map previews at various zoom levels while styling. Great for power users who need to quickly check labels, line widths, and zoom scale factors at a glance.

Autopilot

Autopilot screenshot

Autopilot is a point-and-click interface to mapmaking in TileMill. Targeting a narrow set of use cases, autopilot exposes only a small portion of what’s possible using Carto in the form of drop downs, sliders, and color pickers. Perfect for non-technical users who are just getting introduced to TileMill.

Note: The TileMill plugin API is still under heavy development. We’ll be stabilizing the system and providing documentation to developers in upcoming releases. If you choose to hack on your own plugins before then please be prepared for breaking changes.

Core improvements

Under the hood, TileMill 0.9.0 has dozens of fixes and updates:

  • The rendering backend of TileMill has been split out into its own process, leaving the UI snappy and responsive even when viewing heavy datasources.
  • TileMill has updated to using Modest Maps 1.0-alpha, the first 1.0 preview of the light, fast mapping library.
  • A new export pane and “Upload” command make it even easier to get your finished map online.
  • All three platforms (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X) ship with a desktop app client rather than requiring Chrome, Firefox, or another modern browser.

Built with Node.js

With the MapBox team presenting our work today at NodeJam, it’s worth revisiting the key role that Node.js plays in TileMill. Node is at the core of TileMill and has been crucial in our development of

  • extremely fast, flexible tile-based map rendering
  • a robust plugin system with server-based version and dependency management
  • an HTML5 web application sharing code and components between the client and server via javascript
  • support for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with an incredibly low cross-platform maintenance cost

We’re looking forward to sharing our experiences developing a desktop application with node as well as hearing about upcoming developments.

Now go make a map!

You can download the new release at TileMill.com. As always don’t hesitate to ask us a question if you have trouble.