Before the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, Redlands posts a Q&A that is filled with insight on ESRI’s messaging, strategic direction, and lots of specific product/technology information. If I could only get one communication per year from ESRI, this would be it.

This year didn’t fail to disappoint, and there were a few very noteworthy announcements like this.

“The Web ADFs will be deprecated in the next release after ArcGIS Server 10.”

I like how it’s tacked on the end. Answer, answer, context, then… POW.

Though the writing has been on the wall for some time (it was actually a key theme during our recent Geocortex User Conference), this is nonetheless a significant announcement for many organizations now that it’s official. Note that my interpretation is that ArcGIS Server 10.1 will be the final release of ArcGIS Server containing Web ADF. But of course, there is the following:

“The next release of ArcGIS Server after 10 will run entirely as a 64-bit application.”

From this we infer no ArcObjects (based on our current assessment, anyway), and therefore no ArcGIS Server local connections via Web ADF as of 10.1. If we’re correct, though it appears Web ADF will be deprecated following 10.1, limitations will appear as of 10.1.

It’s for these reasons that we’ve been so aggressively developing REST technology, and encouraging people to deploy using REST whenever possible. We’ve been preparing for this announcement for the last eighteen months, and have been getting migration strategies in place.

From a development and technology perspective, we see REST emphasis as a step forward and we’re excited about it. We’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours building on both Web ADF and REST, and we welcome this shift; it will ultimately reduce development complexity and increase effectiveness of apps. We have some concerns around ESRI’s deprecation timelines, and we envision this prompting otherwise unnecessary migrations for folks that have invested in Web ADF and for whom it is a good fit and working well. That said, we recognize there are bigger issues at play; we’ll do everything we can to minimize impact for customers to ensure smooth transitions over time.

Be sure to check out their summary of pros and cons of various API choices. We have some additions/refinements to their points, but it’s nonetheless a good overview.

It’s great to see work happening on emerging technologies like HTML5:

“We plan on incorporating specific HTML5 functionality within the ArcGIS API for JavaScript this year.”

HTML5 is still a ways off, but it’ll have a big impact long-term. We can’t wait to start working with it.

What else? Because I just can’t get enough of human-like robots, the following jumped out at me:

“We plan to release both an API and an application for the Android operating system around the end of this year.”

Also, as if we don’t spend enough time already fidgeting with our iPhones and their ilk already, check this out:

“ArcGIS for iOS is the latest ESRI mobile product available at the ArcGIS 10 release that extends GIS to the popular Apple iOS platform. It includes a ready to deploy application which will be downloadable from the Apple App Store, and a native Objective C API that developers can use to build GIS applications that meet their business needs. By making ArcGIS available for iOS, existing customers can extend the reach of their GIS to a wider market.”

Definitely check out the Q&A section on the cloud as I expect it’ll be a major focus at the conference this year.

Anyway, loads more to discover in the Q&A, but I thought I’d roll-up a few items that jumped out at us right away.