GIS systems and ICT technologies are often at odds with each other for historical reasons. GIS software has developed in niches, predominantly through monolithic and proprietary systems. The growing need to expose geodata on the web, e.g. sparked through open data policies, leaves developers with a range of options. Clients may request server-side solutions such as OGC services such as Web Map Service, Web Feature Service and the likes. These solutions require a map server. Another option for instance is a direct database query that requests relational data through PHP. Since almost all big database management systems are spatially enabled today (Oracle Spatial, MS SQL Server, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, MySQL) there is per se no need to implement a map server at all. A third option is to use web clients’ native data formats such as JSON/GEOJSON. This may either be requested by a REST API, a JSON-capable DB (e.g. MongoDB) or through flat files. Which of these options serves my purposes best? This very much depends on the advantages of each of these choices and what your infrastructure is trying to achieve.