Showing 10 result(s) for category: Esri

Esri's 2017 Partner Conference and DevSummit

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of checking out Esri’s Partner Conference (EPC) and DevSummit in Palm Springs, where Esri shares their plans and technology direction for the year ahead. Latitude Geographics has attended the EPC and DevSummit for the past 13 years; although I have been with Latitude for 16 years, this was the first time I took part. As the lead Business Analyst on our ArcGIS Implementation Services team, it was a particularly great year for me to be there and take in all of the information Esri had to offer.

I took some time to go through my notes from this year’s event, and wanted to share with the Geocortex community what I saw as 2017’s main themes.

 

Unification of the ArcGIS message

One thing that stood out immediately to me was that the ArcGIS message has consolidated under the umbrella of the new ArcGIS Enterprise terminology (introduced at ArcGIS 10.5). In recent years, I’d heard about individual components of the ArcGIS platform – Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS for Server, and the rest of the individual stack components; while all the individual components are still there and still very powerful, the updated messaging around ArcGIS Enterprise has simplified things and brought everything together. Each “piece” feels much more like contributing technologies to a cohesive whole, rather than individual software components.

Maturity of the ArcGIS platform

Related to the unification theme above, there is a noticeable increase in maturity of the complete ArcGIS platform. Some exciting capabilities have started to come into their own over the past year (e.g. ArcGIS Insights and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server), and this maturity makes the ArcGIS platform an even more compelling, comprehensive GIS solution. Single-user, high-power desktop GIS isn’t exactly what I’d call a dinosaur just yet, but it’s sure looking grey compared to the new distributed and connected GIS computing paradigm Esri has introduced.

On-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise

During the DevSummit this year, it seemed to me that there was a heavy focus on on-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS Online was still a focus, but I expect that the attention towards on-premises installation, configuration, tuning and management is reflective of the number of organizations that simply need to host their GIS infrastructure themselves. I probably shouldn’t use the term ‘on-premises’ -- quite often ArcGIS Enterprise is best implemented inside Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure – ‘self-hosted’ is perhaps better terminology.

Discovering useful tools and tactics

Finally, I must say that so much of the value for me at this year’s Partner Conference and DevSummit was all the bits of information I picked up related to many different areas of the Esri ecosystem. From learning about tools that I wasn’t aware of (like Koop), to valuable brainstorming and UX wireframing techniques, to tips and tricks for working with Geodatabases (hello extracting coded value domains!), this year’s event was a treasure chest of useful nuggets of information.

I can’t wait to see what else Esri has in store for us, and I look forward to working with our customers on more successful ArcGIS and Geocortex implementations as the year continues to unfold!


Start the New Year with ArcGIS 10.5 and Geocortex

Esri’s ArcGIS 10.5 is now available and we’re excited for what it has to offer Geocortex customers. This major release not only includes stability enhancements and improved functionality; it represents a big leap forward for Esri’s emerging Web GIS pattern, and makes it significantly easier for organizations to begin taking advantage of the modern pattern’s powerful capabilities.

 

 ArcGIS Enterprise: A Major Advancement in the Server Platform

ArcGIS Server is being renamed to ArcGIS Enterprise. Beginning at 10.5, ArcGIS Enterprise licensees will be able to take advantage of the ArcGIS Server, Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Web Adaptor, and ArcGIS Data Store components under one license. The transition to ArcGIS Enterprise is straightforward and will continue to provide customers with deployment flexibility; you will now be able to deploy a complete web GIS in your own infrastructure.   

New ArcGIS Membership Levels

Another important advancement in 10.5 is the introduction of new membership levels. Level 1 membership is for users who only require viewing privileges for maps and apps that have been shared with them through the organization. Level 2 membership is for members who require the ability to view, edit, create and share content.

The new membership levels make web GIS more cost-effective and allow you to better tailor your deployments. You can learn more about the new membership levels here.

Geocortex & ArcGIS 10.5

Our product development and QA teams have been testing ArcGIS 10.5 pre-release software extensively over the past couple months, and we are very pleased to announce that the Geocortex product suite is completely compatible with 10.5.

"Portal for ArcGIS is central to our modern Geocortex product strategy."

Geocortex Essentials provides seamless integration with Portal for ArcGIS, and can leverage both web maps and map services (secured and anonymous) stored in Portal for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online. One of the most powerful implications is that if a protected web map is used to build a Geocortex viewer application, the application will honor the security and prompt users to log-in with their ArcGIS identities.

Let us Help

We think that there has never been a better time to consider making the move to a modern web GIS. Geocortex will increasingly include tie-ins, dependencies, and value adds to Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online; the release of ArcGIS 10.5 makes it much easier for you to take advantage of the new pattern.

Many organizations may not be fully equipped to deploy modern Geocortex and Esri technology. Our ArcGIS Implementation Services team can help you navigate the transition, and fast-track effective deployments of Portal for ArcGIS and related technologies.

To learn more about how we can help you take advantage of web GIS in 2017, get in touch with us at arcgis-services@latitudegeo.com.

 


Latitude’s Take on Esri’s Web GIS… and Named Users

When presenting to user groups or talking with folks this autumn, I’d say the number one question I get asked is some variation on “what’s Latitude’s take on Esri’s push to named users?”

I usually give a quick answer and then refer them to the part the 2016 Geocortex User Conference plenary presentation last May when I addressed this topic in detail. However, given conference recordings are only available to people with Geocortex Support Center access, we figured we’d just post the entire transcript (see below) and accompanying slides here on the Geocortex Blog for people to refer to.

That said, given the hassle of matching the transcript with slide transitions, we figured it makes sense to also post an actual video recording of the sections covered by the following transcript and slides.

Why read when you can watch? (16 min video)

TL; DR… I think it’s not about named users. Esri is transitioning their approach to a superior way of delivering geographic insight to people. Web GIS is fundamentally about modern computing patterns. The concept of identity (i.e. the named user) is important within modern computing patterns because knowing who a given user isenables high-value capabilities that would be impossible without this information.

Anyway, it’s a fairly long read, but might be of interest to some:

 

Presentation: 2016 Geocortex User Conference Plenary session

Sections: The World Around Us; Esri’s Web GIS  (Download supporting slides)

Presenter: Steven Myhill-Jones


(Section II: The World Around Us)

I want to talk about progress.

I wish you were all here with me today. Because I want to see a show of hands. I want to know how many people use Google Drive, or OneDrive, or iCloud or Box or Dropbox to store most or all of your personal stuff. And I don’t mean like a memory stick for just a few things! I mean you use it as your main storage for documents, photos and other stuff. Either way, it’s fine… I’m just curious where everyone is at.

I have more calibration questions. Are your browser bookmarks spread across different machines or are they all unified across your devices? Do you use a password manager like 1Pass or Dashlane? Do you own your music collection, or are you subscribed to a service that gives you everything? When collaborating with others, do you email Word docs and spreadsheets or prefer to collaborate directly in Google Docs or Office365?

I’ve always figured I’m reasonably progressive. For example, I’ve used Dropbox and a cloud-based back-up service for a long time now. So I tick off a few boxes, for sure. But while I’ve heard about popular new services like Trello and Asana, the truth is I feel like there are so many of them and I’m a busy guy.

I tend to gravitate to what I know, and patterns of computing I’ve established in my life.

Honestly, I haven’t been a big experimenter with new services.

I had an epiphany not long ago when I was in the process of planning out computers and networking for the house my wife and I have been renovating.

Now this kind of stuff is bit outside my wheelhouse, to be sure. But as I was chatting about my thinking over lunch with Alex McKeachie, who is our Information Systems manager, I noticed he at first developed a slightly panicked, and then despondent, look in his eyes.

It was as if he was staring at a dinosaur or something. And I suppose he was. By the way, this is the dinosaur image that we thought best captured my nose.

Anyway, over a few weeks, Alex took me through all a bunch of modern technologies and approaches that are vastly superior to approaches that I’ve been taking for many years. It finally soaked in that I was creating hours and hours of work for myself instead of paying a few bucks a month. So I made changes in a number of areas.

For example, I transitioned to Google Photos, which saves me from spending a few hours swearing at my home PC as I try to wrestle recent photos off my go-to camera–my iPhone–and shuffle them into the old directory structure I developed years ago to organize and find stuff later and back up to my external hard drive system.

Many of these new offerings are cloud-based, and they cost about the same. Sometimes less, sometimes a bit more. Yes I pay $100/year for a couple things now, but I don’t have to buy hardware anymore or worry about set-up or maintenance or physical security of it all.

But I’m not here to evangelize the cloud. All this goes way beyond offloading storage and computing resources via the cloud… or maybe some on-premises version of it.

You see, a big benefit has come through connecting my computing resources. Rather than my previous approach on each device… connected together but not unified… I’ve moved to a model where it doesn’t matter what device I’m on, my work is just there.

I used to kind of roll my eyes at this, and think: Well, I don’t really need that. I don’t need to edit PPTs on my iPhone. And I don’t. But I move between a few different computers, and a couple mobile devices. And I need to do different things in different places. I’ll take a photo on my phone, which I later need to access or make use of on some other device. That’s now solved properly.

Ubiquitous access is possible via these modern technologies knowing who you are—based your identity. With Dashlane, a cloud-based password management utility, my identity gives me secure access to my passwords and information across all my devices, updated and ready to go. I only have to remember one password, and I can easily share a subset of my passwords with my wife, and even a few with my kids.

Taking a step back, it’s clear there are recurring themes in common with almost all these modern offerings like Salesforce:

  1. Identity – What you’re using is predicated on who you are
  2. Ubiquitous access – Consistent access on any device, anywhere, anytime
  3. Sharing and collaboration – Identities allow you to do things in conjunction with others
  4. Common currencies –the file formats, standards, et cetera that are the basis from which all this can happen. Often this enables third-party ties ins and supporting solutions.
  5. Services based – They default to web based services and computation wherever possible

These themes aren’t afterthoughts. They’re baked into every aspect of most of these platforms. These factors on their own provide high value, but put together, the outcome can be far greater than the sum of their parts.

And it’s why they’re shifting the landscape of computing and how people get things done, and will even more as things mature and users that aren’t actively searching for these offerings discover the leap-forward productivity benefits they deliver.

The world is changing, not for the sake of change or grabbing what’s shiny and new, but because there are new approaches that can deliver profound new benefits. We owe it to ourselves– and especially our organizations and those we serve to expand our thinking if we’re not already or if we’ve fallen a bit behind what’s afoot.
We need to be realistic and pragmatic, but also keep our predilections and biases in check.

Within Latitude, I soon noticed that Alex and his information systems team had rolled out many of these types of modern offerings at our office, but in many cases I wasn’t using them properly.

In many cases, I was trying to make these new offerings conform to my old workflows and habits.

A key insight I want to share is this: I thought I got the power of identity and modern approaches—indeed I think about it all the time for GIS–until I was confronted by the reality of many of my personal workflows outside my professional sphere. I realized I was missing out on all kinds of far superior ways of doing things, even when I was signed up for some of these services, because aspects of my thinking was out of date.

Now many of you are not like I was, and you totally get modern patterns and always have. But I’ll bet a few of you have something in common with me.

Here’s the thing:

 There are some things in life most of us can’t truly get, until we experience the benefits for ourselves. And to be open to receiving the full experience, we sometimes have to deliberately put aside our existing assumptions and habits. We have to open our minds.

In life, you stay relevant by being open to new things. You were relevant because you stopped. (John Maeda)

If we’re evaluating something new and disruptive from the perspective of our old mental framework, there’s probably a good chance we don’t give it a fair evaluation in the first pass or two.

So instead of assessing something and concluding “I don’t like it” or “I don’t want it”, I’m trying to always add the word “yet” in the back of my mind. And I encourage you to do the same.

For a few years now, I’ve been very much on board with Esri’s vision… I get the value of making geographic information products more available across organizations and in the hands of more people.

But for a while, I’ll admit I didn’t truly and deeply get the power of identity and what it enables. I mean, it’s not like anyone typically leaves their work PC and then continues doing some dynamic segmentation in the grocery store lineup on their smartphone, right? But beyond connecting devicesunifying them through identity can open up all kinds of doors in terms of possibilities.

You have your information and your workflows at your fingertips, and not a bunch of other stuff. This is really important for non-GIS type users. It stops being about the technology, and instead shifts to being about the things they’re trying to do. And with that, friction and inefficiencies get reduced. Collaboration is streamlined.

"Efficiency and usefulness are magnetic."

At first, it’s often hard to put your finger on the coming benefits of a major technology change in the world, and hard to describe specific examples ahead of time, but over time, you realize you wouldn’t ever want to go back.

Look… who needs internet on their mobile phone? Hey, people seriously said that less than ten years ago! If you find yourself saying “Things are fine the way they are”, you might be right. You might also be a future punchline.

And this, friends, is why getting into Esri’s new web-GIS pattern matters. Until we do things differently, and discover things we couldn’t do before, it’s hard to really ‘get it’. When our reference point is the past, we don’t need these new approaches, but when we have them, we start to leverage the meaningful ones powerfully and they become indispensable.

I’ve shared my own story; maybe you have your own version of it. But whatever the case, I ask you to go with me into this next section with your mind wide open.

(Section III: Esri’s Web GIS Pattern)

I now want to talk about Esri’s modern web-GIS pattern, because this topic is really important, it’s really timely, and lots of folks don’t fully understand what’s unfolding right now. I’ve been at this for 17 years, and this is a watershed moment. It’s bigger than the shift from ArcIMS to ArcGIS Server. It’s at least on par with the significance of introducing web-based mapping to a desktop only world back in 2000.

I’m a real believer in Esri’s vision for a modern web GIS pattern. Let’s talk about what “modern web GIS pattern” means. It means that the system knows who you are, so it can deliver the data and capabilities that are important to the work you do. It can deliver the things you’re doing or need to do when you need them, instead of inundating you with a bunch of irrelevant stuff. Beyond the user, Portal or ArcGIS Online are the unifying organizational structure… the entry point to information and tools so you can discover, access, and work with the stuff you need.

Tasks that used to require ten steps and focus, become three steps and easy. Things become so much easier and more accessible, a bunch more people—people who don’t get excited in the least about maps—are able to start leveraging geographic information in their work because it provides value and it’s no big deal.

That is web GIS. Beyond just an organizational system of record, it all becomes a system of engagement.

Let’s zoom out for a moment, and relate the noteworthy themes of Web GIS to what I described earlier… the key themes or elements of these modern platforms and offerings. Let’s take a look.

  1. Identity – Users sign in so the system knows who they are and what they have access to.
  2. Ubiquitous access– Readily accessible, usable apps available across all major platforms… that offer a consistent, familiar experience.
  3. Sharing and collaboration – Portal or ArcGIS Online enable sharing and collaboration that’s unified, and is managed centrally.
  4. Common currencies – the ArcGIS Information model… Web Layers, Web Maps, Web Scenes, Feature layers… these embody the underlying connective tissue that enables all this.
  5. Services based – Notwithstanding offline use cases, Web Services are the go-to approach for processing and computation.

Where possible, ArcGIS Server and related servers like GeoEvent deliver the capabilities that apps and the software we deliver access.

Web GIS is not named users. It’s not moving everything to ArcGIS Online, or buying more. It’s about getting more done, more easily, more efficiently. It’s about your investment in GIS delivering more value to your organization.

Here’s the thing: Web GIS isn’t about technology. It’s about how people access and use maps and GIS.

Look, I might be able to quibble with an aspect or two of what Esri’s done so far on the execution side of things, but its complex and Esri is working hard to figure all this out.

Right now, most objections and concerns we hear about Esri’s new pattern boil down to two areas.

Maturity and cost. And I think these objections are going to fade in a big way over the next twelve months.

As far as maturity goes, at Latitude, we’re conservative about recommending things prematurely because moving too early can be expensive and challenging. However, I think we have reached or are about to reach a tipping point. Now, I think we’re in an era where not moving—deliberately or not, investing in the past—will ultimately prove more costly than any wrinkles left to iron out. Remember, for many newer Esri customers, the Web GIS pattern is the only pattern they know! I think Portal, for example, will evolve rapidly in the next twelve months.

In terms of cost, I have yet to see a situation in 2016 where we’ve not been able to work with Esri to ensure an acceptable pricing model if someone doesn’t quite fit the current structure. Especially with ELAs, Esri is working with folks to figure out a path that delivers comparable deployment magnitude for similar cost; a challenge is a new licensing model that can sometimes be too big or too small depending on patterns of use. I’m really happy with how key Esri folks have been willing to work with us to figure out a way to move forward and make things happen.

So I actually think this is a phenomenally good time to have that conversation with Esri, strategically speaking… and we’re happy to help facilitate, working on your behalf. I’ll say this: we might be an Esri Platinum Partner, but we–and our resellers–work for you.

I’m not telling you to throw out the past, or introduce radical change overnight. Many of you have large, complex implementations. What I am recommending is, especially if rolling out change takes time at your organization, that you start working on the assumption that Web GIS is coming and that embracing it is vital. I’m suggesting you roll out web GIS not because some vendor might be telling you to, but because doing so entirely aligned with the mandate that we all have to maximize the potential value of geographic information at our organizations.

I am convinced Web GIS is not a flash in the pan or some approach that’ll get dropped or morph in a year or two. In our assessment, Web GIS reflects authentic cross-industry information technology change.

"Web GIS reflects authentic cross-industry information technology change."

It’s the real thing, and we believe it’s very close to setting off on the path of ubiquity, like what we’re seeing in other industries. My hunch is we’re going to hear some big announcements from Esri before long that’ll provide compelling reasons to leave past patterns behind.

So… we recommend active, front-burner initiatives… if you’re not already doing so, to start deploying new offerings under the Web GIS model in earnest. Beyond dabbling in what’s next to satisfy those asking, look for opportunities to roll it out sufficiently to explore and discover the benefits it can enable.

If you don’t, I think the reality is you’ll increasingly miss out on capabilities that are only available under the new model because they’re only possible to deliver using the new model. You’ll fall behind.

A great example with our technology is offline search and other great new capabilities in Geocortex Mobile App Framework 2.0. Only Esri’s Web GIS offerings could enable these capabilities, and so version 2.0 is based on an ArcGIS identity and requires it.

In fact, this is a great segue to our next topic.

(Section IV: Where does Geocortex fit into all this?)

Well, it’s very much a corresponding and connected vision, so let’s explore…

—- End of transcript—-

From there, my presentation continues to discuss and demonstrate all the work my colleagues at Latitude are doing to help clients maximize the possibilities of their Esri Web GIS technology, especially through our complementary and ever-evolving supporting technologies like Geocortex Essentials and Geocortex Analytics.

 


The 2008 ESRI Southwest Users Group Conference

Laramie, WY October 22-24, 2008

For the last six years, Latitude Geographics has attended every Southwest Users Group (SWUG) conference. From Jackson Hole in 2003 through to Laramie in 2008, the SWUG conference brings together GIS users from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. This year’s high plains geospatial roundup offered up blowing snow and chilly temperatures – a big departure for a guy like me accustomed to Victoria’s moderate climate. But the warmth of the SWUG organizers (kudos to the entire organizing committee for an awesome job!) allowed the attendees to quickly forget about the cold temperatures, and settle into a dose (actually, many, many doses) of Wyoming hospitality!

geo_cortex_Rodeo_v1The SWUG event is not your regular, regional GIS conference. John Calkins, ESRI’s “Corporate Technical Evangelist” kicked things off with an interactive keynote session that engaged the group in a geographic approach to problem solving. Plenty of great user and vendor presentations followed, topped off with an evening keynote by Wyoming historian Bruce Blevins. Aside from all the interesting work-related stuff, I’d have to say that the highlight of the conference was the BBQ, Bluegrass, and Broncs event (disclosure: we were also a sponsor). This was not my first rodeo - but it was undoubtedly one of the most unique I’ve seen. The University of Wyoming Rodeo Team put on a presentation just for us, and we got to enjoy steer wrestling, calf roping, barrel racing and bull-riding. Yee-Haw! Later in the evening, we two-stepped to music served up by the Zarks, a local country-western band. I reckon the user sessions were a little subdued the next morning, but attendees (AKA SWUG-uhs) seemed to be wearing a collective grin.

It’s events like these that make me appreciate the industry we work in, given its great mix of knowledge sharing, professionalism, and appreciation for local cultural activities!


Geocortex Essentials 2.0 and ESRI’s Developer APIs

UPDATE: This message was originally posted for our customers on the Geocortex Support Center on October 6, 2008 and is posted here for folks who don't have access to the Geocortex Support Center. Also, here's the link to the Geocortex Essentials: The Road Ahead webinar.

I’m posting to provide some insight into current and upcoming Geocortex Essentials development, as it relates to ESRI’s new and emerging developer APIs.

It is clear to us that these APIs will have an integral role to play (alongside Web ADF) for many customers in the years to come and so we are actively engineering Geocortex Essentials 2.0 to encompass these developer technologies.

Agnostic support and integration for various ESRI developer technologies (as they come into existence) has always been part of the long-term vision for Geocortex Essentials and so our work has always been designed to be exposed in an agnostic way at some point in the future. With the intense demand for Web ADF features and the absence of other APIs, Geocortex Essentials development has been focused on the Web ADF realm for the 1.x product generation, while ensuring we we could make the core elements generic once warranted. And that’s what we’re doing right now.

We’re currently working on a Geocortex Essentials REST API to initially expose search, reporting, data linking and printing via a RESTful interface. This functionality can then be leveraged by either Javascript or Flex API applications—or any other application that connects RESTfully to our API. We decided to expose these particular core elements because they’re needed at the heart of many real-world ArcGIS Server implementations. Let us know if other features are a priority to your organization.

Before long, we’ll also get behind one or more lightweight viewer APIs by developing software to streamline and enhance the development and management of applications built on them. While we’re working with each and may provide sample Javascript and Flex API template applications on which to base development, we have yet to “pick a pony” regarding technological emphasis on the lightweight viewer/application development side. We don’t think all the information is available yet to ensure the correct decision, and we’re confident our customers won’t want us to risk going down the wrong path by making a premature choice.

We’re anticipating a Q1 2009 release of version 2.0. Finally, because Geocortex Essentials is about success with ArcGIS Server, everything we’re talking about here will be delivered to you as part of regular product updates.


Group Layers in Cached ArcGIS Server Map Services

Christian passed along a tip for when creating cached ArcGIS server map services that he picked up at this year’s ESRI International User Conference. When creating a cached map service, create an ArcMap “group layer” containing all the layers for each specific scale level.

By grouping layers by scale, you can quickly turn off and on the groups to define symbology and labels for each without concerning yourself with the other scale levels. You can also tell at a quick glance what information is available at each scale level.


Post-San Diego Commentary

I intended to blog once or twice during the ESRI International User Conference, but found my conference schedule and meetings all-consuming. This was our seventh time exhibiting at the conference, and I think it was the best one yet. ArcGIS Server 9.3 is what we hoped it would be, the new/emerging developer APIs are valuable, and I generally think ESRI is on the right track. I’m excited about the coming year.

Since it was first released, I’ve been very candid about my perspective on ArcGIS Server 9.2 (that it was the future but not quite ready for prime-time). This has caused consternation among some, but I always defended my position because our customers count on us for advice about technology and timing.

I’ve always contended that, regardless of new capabilities, the majority of ESRI customers will be reluctant to move from ArcIMS to ArcGIS Server until the shift doesn’t involve any significant steps backward from ArcIMS. There have been two main aspects to this; comparable performance and comparable functionality.

I think I can now see the tipping point. Aside from the general improvements in 9.3, during the plenary on Monday afternoon, ESRI announced that the new rendering engine for ArcGIS Server (which everyone was expecting as part of 9.4) would ship as part of ArcGIS Server 9.3 Service Pack 2 in January or February 2009. Even though you can actually do lots to improve performance (Mapservice/application tweaking and pre-rendering), this is big news for organizations that have been awaiting improved performance that doesn’t require much rearranging of the furniture.

As for the latter aspect (functional parity), the complementary use of Web ADF and the new developer API’s allow/will allow functionality, ease-of-development, and ease-of-use to be taken to the next level. We’ve been working hard over the last twenty months to be prepared with comparable and/or superior functionality (relative to ArcIMS-gen technology) in time for ESRI’s release of comparable performance. And we’re nearly there.

Bottom line… things are falling into place. Last year, we talked mostly with people who wanted to learn more about ArcGIS Server. This year, we talked mostly with people serious about getting going with ArcGIS Server. I predict 2009 will be remembered as being a significant year in the widespread transition from ArcIMS to ArcGIS Server.


ArcGIS Server 9.3 APIs Part 1

With the release of ArcGIS Server 9.3, you'll have the following APIs available for building web applications with ESRI software:

  • Web ADF (.NET and Java)
  • REST (.NET and Java)
  • JavaScript
  • Google Maps Extender
  • Virtual Earth Extender

In addition to these APIs, ESRI is also working on a Flex API and Silverlight API that will be released post 9.3. No matter what the technical requirements are for your project, at least one of these APIs should help you get the job done. But which one? With choice comes confusion. There's obvious strengths and weaknesses of choosing one over the other, as well as overlap in the functionalities they offer. Sometimes the choice is clear based on the technology stack and features you're targeting. For example, if you require a secure solution and are standardized on .NET Framework then the .NET Web ADF is likely the best choice. Over the next few weeks I'll discuss and compare these APIs in hopes of making your decision a little bit clearer, as well as share our experiences with them to date.


ESRI Business Partner Conference and Dev Summit Recap

Wow, what a conference! I spent the last week in Palm Springs with various Latitude co-workers at the ESRI Business Partner Conference followed by the Developer Summit. Steve and the account management team were busy from Saturday to Tuesday meeting with existing and potential partners from around the world. I played mainly technical support for the first couple days, assisting where I could. Ryan Cooney flew down on Monday and we spent the rest of the week at the Developer Summit, which was the main reason I was there.

So, what did we learn? On the business side, there's a real buzz about Geocortex Essentials and the work we've been up to, as Steve alluded to earlier. On the technical side, there's a few points of particular interest:

  • The .NET Web ADF at 9.3 has a number of quality and performance improvements. A lot of work has been done to support a "hybrid" model of web application develoment where you get the ease of development using client-side (JavaScript) focused technologies coupled with the power of a server-side object model.
  • It will be relatively easy to port web applications built on 9.2 to 9.3. Of course, this applies directly to Geocortex Essentials which we plan to support on 9.3 out of the gates.
  • The .NET Web ADF at 9.3 supports the .NET Framework 3.5.
  • Significant documentation improvements.
  • The new ArcGIS Server JavaScript, REST, and connector APIs make ArcGIS Server a real contender in the consumer maps arena. Although, I predict a lot of confusion around which APIs to get started with, which I plan to address in the coming weeks.

Dave Bouwman did a great job of capturing the details of the .NET ADF session as well as the others he attended, as did James Fee in his conference recap. Bottom line on ArcGIS Server 9.3 is that it looks like a great upgrade that I'm looking forward to building on with Geocortex Essentials. Finally, the two conferences were a great time and I'm already looking forward to attending next year.


The Internet will never take off because my 14.4 modem ties up my phone line

I’m an avid reader of James Fee’s popular GIS blog, and I’m sometimes tempted to weigh in with a comment, but then I wonder if instead it is best left to people wanting to vent. There have been some good discussions lately, so I decided to comment.

This is all reminiscent of everyone kvetching about ArcIMS 3.0 in the summer of 2001, before ArcIMS went on to be such a phenomenal success (overwhelming its flaws). Technology improves over time, yet so many people are ready to pass judgment before a given technology comes into its own. Or maybe we all just need a place to vent with our buddies, then get back to it.