HTML5 and ArcGIS Server
Latitude Geographics' HTML5 Strategy
The following is an excerpt from the Fall 2011 Geocortex Newsletter. This is an interview with David Stevenson, Chief Technology Officer at Latitude Geographics where he discusses Latitude's HTML5 strategy.
HTML5 is quickly emerging. What's Latitude's HTML5 strategy for 2012?
- Although full maturity of HTML5 is probably still years away, it's clear to us that HTML5 frameworks and viewers can play a valuable role right now. HTML5 is quickly becoming the go-to technology for building mobile web applications and browser plug-in based offerings simply aren't an option on platforms like iOS.
So what is Latitude actually doing with HTML5?
- HTML is at the heart of our mobile strategy, and we've been working for months to develop our new Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 to support that. In fact, a handful of real-world implementations are already underway to enhance and iterate this product development.
When will the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 be released to licensees?
- Although the release schedule for the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 is independent of any other Geocortex product, we're targeting a similar release timeline to Geocortex Essentials 3.7 and the Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 1.4. That means sometime in early 2012.
What's the scope of initial release?
Our development focus has been around three key objectives:
- Ensure that Geocortex Workflow and Forms technology are fully integrated and feature rich, and
- Provide ample templates and samples to get real world projects up and going.
You mentioned mobile apps. Can you elaborate?
- We see our Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 being the go-to technology for extending the Geocortex SAI to mobile devices, specifically with purpose-specific, workflow driven applications. HTML5 is becoming the standard for deploying mobile handheld and tablet based solutions. Adobe is the latest to get in on this trend by announcing it is discontinuing the Flash plugin on mobile devices. Most of the project specific work we're doing with our HTML5 Viewer right now is geared towards mobile devices running iOS and Android, with the expectation it'll be increasingly embraced to deliver apps to desktop browsers as well, sometime in the future.
What is your advice around choosing Silverlight versus HTML5?
- My first piece of advice is approach your application development using our SAI strategy; the specific client technology is less important and it becomes relatively easy to use both, which is the way we envision most customers rolling out a viewer strategy. Next, choose the technology that makes the most sense now for the specific application. Be pragmatic, don't hesitate to mix and match as to which technology best suits to solving a need or business problem. For example, a desktop based Silverlight viewer that includes powerful analytical tools can be complemented with a mobile HTML5 solution targeting handhelds and tablets with both viewers consuming the same workflows and forms. That's the power of the SAI.
What can you share about how it has been engineered?
- Anyone familiar with the underlying framework of the Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight should have an easy time understanding the approach to our HTML5 technology-we ported many of the fundamental engineering concepts over. Most of the core concepts transfer right across; things like modules, views, regions, shells, commands, and events, as well as the configuration model with inheritance.
Do clients have to buy an upgrade to use the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5?
- No. All Geocortex Essentials licensees current with maintenance automatically receive it at no additional cost. But you can send me a bag of jelly beans if you want.