Although our viewers are only one aspect of Geocortex Essentials, they are undoubtedly the public face of the product. This post explains our planned approach for the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 in the context of Esri’s recently announced JavaScript viewer roadmap.

Esri first publicly previewed their upcoming ArcGIS WebApp Builder in the last few weeks, ending months of community speculation. Though we haven't been able to talk about it, Latitude Geographics has had visibility on this project for some time now. Advance information makes a real difference for our planning, and we’re grateful for the early access we've received from Esri as part of our close ongoing partnership.

We see the ArcGIS WebApp Builder (which we expect will be discussed in-depth at the Dev Summit in Palm Springs next week) as a necessary and very positive development for the Esri community, and we’re confident that the opportunity for Latitude Geographics to add compelling value to the viewer equation remains fundamentally unchanged.

Latitude Geographics first released the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 two years ago (April 2012) with the full expectation that Esri would eventually build an HTML5/JavaScript viewer to replace their Flex and Silverlight viewers.  Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 is mature, feature rich, and has many established implementations; we envision it serving as a parallel viewer to the ArcGIS WebApp Builder while Esri’s new offering develops and matures.

Consistent with the approach we’ve always taken, we are not planning a competitive roadmap. Factoring in market uptake and solution maturity, our plan is to integrate our existing HTML5/JavaScript capabilities and features with the ArcGIS WebApp Builder to help Esri customers maximize the potential of this platform while receiving the benefits associated with Geocortex and our overarching approach. Our goals will be to deliver an outcome greater than the sum of the parts, while ensuring no loss of functionality to existing users.

For us, being complementary (and not competitive) is key. However, that’s not to say there isn’t going to be some overlap. When we first architected our HTML5 viewer more than two years ago, we made decisions to separate the structure and plumbing of the viewer from the reusable components (modules/widgets) that live within it. This “framework design” is a common way of building software systems, and Esri is taking a similar approach with the ArcGIS WebApp Builder. So while there is some overlap in the underlying viewer frameworks, there’s also exciting potential to pick and choose reusable components from either viewer to best suit project requirements.

As always, our strategy is to help customers get even more done today, while keeping customers closely aligned with core Esri technology. We’re excited about Esri’s ArcGIS WebApp Builder. Our planned integration will open up a large new market of potential customers, avoid redundant development over time, and maximize alignment.

If you’re looking for something more specific or definitive right now in terms of scope and timelines, we can’t provide that just yet. The reality is that our work can’t get ahead of the realities of how (and when) real-world technology develops. The future has yet to unfold, but rest assured we're watching closely and we'll be there to help you make the most of it.