Currently there are different Open Source alternatives for publishing geographic information in standard web services (GeoServer, Deegree, Mapserver). Although these frameworks increasingly offer more powerful configuration web interfaces, sometimes the publication of layers of information, and in particular, the definition of the display styles of these layers, is a rather tedious process, since the user has to define these styles using Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD), what requires some previous knowledge on this standard.
Today we want to talk about a plugin for QGIS, "QGIS GeoServer Explorer", which allows us to connect this powerful desktop GIS tool with the management interface of Geoserver, facilitating the work of configuring the information we publish through GeoServer. The plugin has been developed by Victor Anaya of Boundless, and is available in the official QGIS repository. The latest version of the plugin (0.5) requires a minimum version 2.14.0 of QGIS.
To use the plugin, we have to add it to our QGIS and configure the access to the data catalogues that we have published in our GeoServer service. To add the plugin, go to the menu "Plugins" -> "Manage and install plugins". From this window, select "All" in the left menu of the window and look for the Geoserver Explorer plugin. We install the plugin with the "Install plugin" button.
Once installed, we can access the plugin from the "Web" menu -> "GeoServer Explorer", and connect to the GeoServer data catalog using its URL, username and password.
The plugin provides access to the elements that are part of our GeoServer data catalog: layers, workspaces, layer groups, styles, GeoWebCache layers, WPS processes, and service settings. We can edit each of these elements from the toolbar of the plugin, using the features offered by QGIS.
If we select one of the layers that we offer in our GeoServer catalog, the plugin allows us to: edit layer information, add new styles to the layer, delete it or add it to our QGIS project to manage it as a project QGIS layer.
To modify the styles defined in our catalog, we select the style that we want to modify and we edit it, accessing definition of styles of QGIS window.
Any changes we make will be published on our GeoServer service with the Publish Layers / Publish QGIS Project plugin tools. Although there are some limitations of style settings through the plugin (for example the support for layer labelling is quite basic), we are sure that this plugin will be very useful for you.