Every year before the huge Esri International User Conference in San Diego, Esri releases a comprehensive UC Q&A. It’s a great source of information and often an advance source of new messaging and major product announcements. This year is no exception.

Different sections will be of more or less interest to different folks; however, I’ve compiled a list of the ones that I think are particularly interesting (to Latitude and our customers, anyway).

Click on the question to go directly to the Esri response (the most interesting part).

Category: Esri

Is Esri evolving from being a software provider to a content company?

Commentary: Obviously Esri is going to continue to be a software provider, but I find it interesting how much content is becoming an integral aspect of their strategy.

Category: ArcGIS for Desktop

Will more ArcGIS for Desktop functionality be pushed to the web?

Commentary: At Latitude we’re always watching this space with keen interest. It’s interesting to see how feature-rich ArcGIS Online has become and the types of analyses you can do on the web. Having said that, Esri’s answer confirms there’s definitely a continued emphasis on GIS professionals using desktop tools for the foreseeable future.

Category: ArcGIS for Server and Portal for ArcGIS

What is new in ArcGIS 10.3 for Server?

Commentary: Wait a minute, isn’t this just a list of features that are part of Portal for ArcGIS? Oh, there it is – last paragraph. Portal for ArcGIS is now a part of ArcGIS for Server.

This is major news, and something we’ve anticipated since earlier this year (and have been counting on). We’re excited that most of our customers (any with active maintenance with ArcGIS for Server Standard Edition) will have access to Portal and all of the benefits that come with it. That’s a major reason why we’ve been engineering Geocortex Essentials to work so closely with ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS over the last couple of years.

Do I still need ArcGIS for Server now that ArcGIS Online is available?

Commentary:  This is a good roll-up of capabilities offered by ArcGIS for Server that aren’t yet available in ArcGIS Online. It appears Esri is reinforcing the message that ArcGIS for Server remains integral to the ArcGIS platform strategy and won’t be replaced by ArcGIS Online (any time soon, anyway).

What is the future of the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex and ArcGIS Viewer for Silverlight?

Commentary:  Not new information, but still noteworthy if you aren’t already aware of Esri’s messaging from around the time of the Partner Conference & Dev Summit.

Will Portal for ArcGIS be included with ArcGIS for Server Standard with the ArcGIS 10.3 release?

Commentary:  This solidifies, and further explains the details of how Portal for ArcGIS will ship with ArcGIS for Server. Again, this is major and really exciting.

Is it true that Portal for ArcGIS is always behind ArcGIS Online?

Commentary:  I wouldn’t expect that Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online would have synchronous releases, or for them to have exact feature parity. Here, Esri explains the differences we might expect in plain text. Since its release, Portal has been catching up to ArcGIS Online. What caught my attention here is that Esri also anticipates some features rolling into Portal in advance of ArcGIS Online.

Are there any plans to release an HTML viewer for ArcGIS for Server to replace the Flex and Silverlight viewers?

Commentary: I could be wrong, but this might be the first time Esri has positioned the Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS as a “replacement” for the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex and ArcGIS Viewer for Silverlight. Which makes sense, since it’s included with Portal, and until now Portal wasn’t included with ArcGIS for Server Standard. Now that it comes with ArcGIS for Server Standard it can be safely described as a replacement.

Also of note, Esri’s renamed their HTML5 builder from ArcGIS WebApp Builder to Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. Time to reprint some marketing materials. Whatever the case, we’ve been working with this for several months and we’re excited to see how compatible it is with our technology. Specifically, our Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 modules can be used as widgets inside Web AppBuilder and widgets built for Web AppBuilder can be used inside the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5.

Category: ArcGIS Online

What is the use pattern of credits across the Esri customer base?

and...

Can I manage the credit usage of users in my organization?

Commentary:  A common objection some organizations have around ArcGIS Online is perceived risk around variable costs associated with credit consumption. Beyond highlighting organizations tend to way overestimate the credits they’ll use and price surprises are a rare occurrence, Esri has made great strides in terms of reducing costs by passing along cloud computing savings in the form of lower transaction costs for many categories, providing more credits to as part of packages to reduce the risk of exceeding allotments, and providing management tools for organizations to monitor and control their credit consumption.

Category: Developers

I have developed an app with one of the ArcGIS Runtime SDKs. How do I make sure I’m compliant with licensing and deployment of the app?

Commentary:  I included this one since I’ve always been a bit confused about how the Runtime SDKs are licensed (and the licensing patterns have varied and changed in recent months). This is a relatively straightforward explanation of how it all works.

Category: Mobile and Apps

When will Esri support navigation in its mobile applications?

Commentary:  Wow! This seems like a pretty major announcement, almost hidden amongst dozens of questions. I’m very interested to learn more about this.

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There are my highlights, but I recommend reading the entire UC Q&A if you have time. For those of you going in San Diego next week, we’ve got a big 20’x20’ exhibit this year so be sure to stop by and say hello.