Technology Q&A: The evolution of Geocortex and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS - Geocortex

Technology Q&A: The evolution of Geocortex and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS

Matt Vaillant
Matt Vaillant
Digital Marketing Lead
May 15, 2018

If you’ve been following our blog, social channels, or have chatted with us in recent months, you’ve probably heard us talk a lot about our Geocortex Essentials 5-Series. Geocortex Workflow 5 was the first product in the series, and for the first time, Geocortex was able to be used inside (not just alongside) Esri applications.

This represents a major shift in Geocortex technology, with a commitment to continuing to offer products that can be used by a broader Esri audience. We sat down with Drew Millen, Director of Products at Latitude Geographics, to learn more about the Geocortex Essentials 5-Series, and what it means for Geocortex and Esri customers.

Latitude released Geocortex Workflow 5 in 2017. Can you tell us a little bit about this product?

Drew Millen [DM]: Geocortex Workflow 5 is the first standalone product in the Geocortex Essentials 5-Series: a next-generation suite of products inspired by popular capabilities in Geocortex Essentials 4. Workflows help organizations turn even the most sophisticated business processes into a set of simple, guided end-user interactions.

Not only does Geocortex Workflow 5 transform how organizations approach process automation inside their GIS, it helps organizations avoid re-writing applications for new versions of Esri technology. We worry about compatibility with upcoming versions, so you can stay focused on what you need to get done.

As you alluded to, a major evolution in Geocortex Workflow 5 when compared to previous Geocortex products is that organizations can choose to deploy workflows in multiple viewer frameworks. Workflows can be deployed to both your Geocortex and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS® applications.

What’s been the reaction from customers so far?

[DM]: It’s been great! Since our beta launch in August 2017, we’ve seen nearly 1,500 unique users sign into the Geocortex Workflow Designer, which represents nearly as many unique organizations. More than 25% of those users have been power users, logging in more than 10 times. These are great signs for a product that’s still in its infancy – we can’t wait to see the workflows they’re building!

We recently conducted a survey of Geocortex Workflow 5 users and found that most are using the product to simplify the user interface in their applications. This is achieved by providing step-by-step interactions to your end-users, instead of presenting them with complex interfaces containing unnecessary tools.

It’s also great to see that customers are deploying workflows in Geocortex and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS apps.

Can you tell us about the decision to offer products that can be run inside Esri applications?

[DM]: Over time, the Geocortex brand has become largely associated with our viewer technology, and for good reason: we offer world class viewers that leverage the latest Esri technology. But our customers know that Geocortex also provides a rich array of capabilities that add power and functionality to those viewers.

While Geocortex viewers are ideal for many applications (especially those that require sophisticated functionality or need to be maintained for a long duration), we recognize that Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS is a popular, lightweight framework that’s ideal for many types of applications.

Our guiding principle has always been about enabling organizations to get even more out of their ArcGIS investment, and by providing powerful capabilities that extend Web AppBuilder we’re able to do that for more customers and more application types.

We saw an excellent opportunity to provide the powerful functionality Geocortex customers know and love to the broader Esri community, without requiring the substantial investment required to adopt a new viewer framework.

What does Geocortex Workflow 5 allow Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS users to do?

[DM]: Geocortex Workflow 5 is focused on helping organizations improve efficiency and end-user success. Our experience shows that when organizations reach the limits of Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, they typically start building custom widgets.

With Geocortex Workflow 5, instead of writing code to build widgets that satisfy complex application requirements, you can choose from 175 pre-built activities that chain together to automate virtually any task. The library of pre-built activities even includes specific activities for working with Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, such as activating and passing data between widgets, and working with Arcade, map layers, and other elements of your apps.

Geocortex Workflow 5 also offers dynamic forms that allow you to deliver a better experience for the users of your applications. Forms don’t just capture user inputs; often certain elements must hide or appear based on user interactions. Cascading dropdowns and an advanced event-based system make it easy to deliver forms that engage your users with extraordinary flexibility.

If I’m a Web AppBuilder user, why would I choose Geocortex Workflow 5 instead of building my own custom widgets?

[DM]: One way to think about Geocortex Workflow 5 is as a “widget builder”. It provides GIS administrators a way to build widgets without any programming, and without deploying code onto the server. Workflows make it simple to rapidly prototype, iterate, and test functionality in your Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS applications.

One of the benefits our customers enjoy with Geocortex Workflow 5 is that once a workflow is authored, it becomes a self-documenting, visual representation of the task or business process being automated. This makes it easy for others to understand and work with your workflows.

A key consideration when we were building Geocortex Workflow 5 was ensuring it would help customers “future-proof” their applications. More specifically, we built Geocortex Workflow 5 to work with both of Esri’s existing JavaScript APIs (ArcGIS API for JavaScript 3.x and 4.x). So, when Web AppBuilder is released using the 4.x API, custom widgets will need to be re-written, but workflows will continue to function seamlessly.

Ultimately, when you compare building workflows to developing custom widgets and functionality, it’s about saving time and resources. Organizations that leverage workflows to deliver custom functionality save a ton of time during development and ongoing application maintenance.

Does Latitude have plans to offer more products for Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS users? What’s next from Geocortex?

[DM]: Yes, we have big plans – Geocortex Workflow 5 is just the first link in the chain. In July 2018, we’ll release Geocortex Reporting 5, which enables Geocortex and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS users to design and deploy production-ready, printable reports inside their applications. It simplifies the often-manual process of gathering, organizing, and sharing important GIS data in reports.

Application administrators can add the Geocortex Reporting 5 widget to apps built with Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS and allow their users to generate reports from ready-made templates they’ve designed in the web-based report designer.

In our experience, reports that organizations need come in all shapes and sizes – from basic mailing label reports to inspection compliance reports for governing bodies like FEMA – and they can range substantially in terms of complexity. It’s typically difficult to design reports for every need in an organization, expose them inside your apps, and allow them to be populated with data dynamically. Geocortex Reporting 5 makes this task incredibly easy.

We’ll also be unveiling Geocortex Printing 5 in early 2019, which offers a high-quality, easy-to-design map printing solution for Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. The focus will be on enabling large format, high-resolution — and overall great-looking — print outputs.

Geocortex Essentials customers have benefitted from these capabilities for years, and we’re excited for Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS users to discover their power. To make things easy, we’re introducing an edition of Geocortex Essentials specifically for Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS that will allow organizations to purchase Geocortex Workflow 5, Geocortex Reporting 5, and Geocortex Printing 5 under one affordable license.

Do you envision offering Geocortex products that run in other ArcGIS products, such as ArcGIS Pro?

[DM]: One day. Our current focus is on building great products for Geocortex viewers and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, but at the same time we’re engineering the underlying APIs to be portable for use in environments like ArcGIS Pro in the future.

We’re currently exploring the types of markets and customers that would benefit from these capabilities in other ArcGIS apps.

What does the introduction of capability-based, 5-series products mean for Geocortex Essentials customers in the near future?

[DM]: We believe It means great things for existing Geocortex Essentials customers. First, we’re committed to continuing our investment in existing Geocortex Essentials components, such as Geocortex Essentials 4.x and Geocortex Viewer for HTML5.

Second, customers of Geocortex Essentials will be entitled to use Geocortex Workflow 5, Geocortex Reporting 5, and Geocortex Printing 5 in their Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 apps. They’ll also receive an entitlement to our new Geocortex Web Viewer, which will be released later this year and is built from the ground up on top of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.x, enabling extremely fast, light-weight apps and 3D scene viewing capabilities.

These “entitlements” mean that Geocortex Essentials effectively becomes a collection of the standalone capabilities, and organizations can license the collection based on how they plan to use it: in Geocortex viewers, in Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, or in both.

Before we finish up, where can people go to learn more?

[DM]: There’s a ton of places you can go. A good starting point is geocortex.com, where you’ll find details about all of our products, solutions, services, and customers.

Beyond that, our blog is always being updated with relevant information, our YouTube channel is continually showcasing new Tech Tip videos and webinars, and we attend lots of events around the world that can be found on our events page.


Categories:
Archive
Open: 2019
2019
April 17, 2019

Customer Spotlight: Geocortex Reporting

April 12, 2019

Using Geocortex Go to preview app configurations [Geocortex Tech Tip]

April 10, 2019

How to Address Complex Form Navigation Using Geocortex Workflow

April 5, 2019

Building native, offline IOS, Android and Windows apps with Geocortex Mobile Viewer [Geocortex Tech Tip]

April 3, 2019

Streamlining mobile operations with Geocortex Mobile Viewer [Webinar]

March 29, 2019

A better way to run geoprocessing tasks in Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 28, 2019

Extend the reach and capabilities of your applications with integrations [eBook]

March 22, 2019

Displaying data from SQL Database when you select features [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 20, 2019

How Geocortex users are enriching the communities they serve

March 15, 2019

How to Configure a Geocortex Essentials layer report with Geocortex Reporting 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 14, 2019

Region of Waterloo: How GIS & Geocortex technology helped meet local Source Protection Plan requirements

March 6, 2019

Integrating Business Intelligence and Data Sources with Geocortex Essentials [Webinar]

March 1, 2019

How to quickly add attachments to new features when editing [Geocortex Tech Tip]

February 22, 2019

Generating a report with sub reports from external data sources [Geocortex Tech Tip]

February 20, 2019

Geocortex Essentials 4.11: Saving Time & Increasing Efficiency

February 15, 2019

Accessing Samples and Building your First Workflow [Geocortex Tech Tip]

February 12, 2019

Open Beta of Geocortex Printing 5 Has Begun

February 8, 2019

Different Ways of Creating Selections of Features in Geocortex Viewer for HTML 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

February 6, 2019

4 Best Practices to Follow When Using Geocortex Workflow 5

February 1, 2019

Creating a Report that Displays a Screenshot of the Map [Geocortex Tech Tip]

January 28, 2019

Diving Into Geocortex Reporting 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

January 24, 2019

How Geocortex is Advancing Water Management Solutions

January 16, 2019

Creating Custom User Experiences with Geocortex Workflow 5 [Webinar]

January 11, 2019

Showing the search results using the item picker in Geocortex Workflow 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

January 9, 2019

City of Troy: Using GIS and asset management technologies to manage legislative requirements

January 4, 2019

Using scripting to put attachments in reports in Geocortex Reporting 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

Open: 2018
2018
December 21, 2018

Integrating Pictometry, Bing and other 3rd party maps within your Geocortex applications

December 19, 2018

Recapping the Texas Geocortex Regional User Group

December 14, 2018

How to use Geocortex Workflow 5 to populate the Attribute Table in Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS [Geocortex Tech Tip]

December 12, 2018

Finding yourself: Using geolocation in mobile and web applications [Webinar]

December 7, 2018

Enabling real-time user-to-user map collaboration within Geocortex Essentials

December 5, 2018

Reflecting on 2018

November 30, 2018

Creating mailing labels with reports with Geocortex Reporting 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

November 29, 2018

Alberta Energy Regulator: Supporting safe and responsible energy resource operations

November 26, 2018

Important update for ArcGIS and Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Support!

November 23, 2018

Using fine-grained security to control access to layers, features, attributes and application functionality [Geocortex Tech Tip]

November 21, 2018

Enhancing Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS® with Geocortex Reporting [Webinar]

November 16, 2018

Using Geocortex Workflow 5 to automatically display a form for editing layer attributes [Geocortex Tech Tip]

November 15, 2018

Geocortex Achieves Esri’s “Release Ready Specialty” Designation

November 14, 2018

Celebrating GIS Day with York Regional Police: How GIS Data Has Mitigated Risk & Increased Efficiency in Crime Prevention

November 9, 2018

How to access a SQL database from a workflow using Geocortex Workflow 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

November 2, 2018

How to send an email from a workflow using Geocortex Workflow 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

October 26, 2018

How to add and configure charts inside reports with Geocortex Reporting 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

October 24, 2018

Geocortex Water Webinar Series

October 19, 2018

Integrating Geocortex Essentials with ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise portal [Geocortex Tech Tip]

October 17, 2018

Cross-Platform Development with Xamarin [Webinar]

October 12, 2018

City of Fort Collins: Dynamic flood maps for public awareness, and flood insurance rate saving

October 2, 2018

Technology Q&A: Geocortex Workflow 5 “Behind the Firewall”

June 27, 2018

Geocortex Essentials 4.10 is here!

June 12, 2018

Geocortex and the GDPR

June 6, 2018

Geocortex at the 2018 Esri User Conference

May 15, 2018

Technology Q&A: The evolution of Geocortex and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS

April 25, 2018

How to manage data collected from Geocortex Workflow 5 forms [Geocortex Tech Tip]

April 18, 2018

Delivering accessible mapping applications for everyone [Geocortex Tech Tip]

April 11, 2018

How to search for data in a non-spatial database [Geocortex Tech Tip]

April 5, 2018

Configuring Geocortex Analytics to monitor a new Portal for ArcGIS instance [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 27, 2018

Getting started with forms in Geocortex Workflow 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 21, 2018

Using Geocortex Workflow with Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 15, 2018

Understanding tool usage in your GIS applications [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 7, 2018

Running Geocortex Essentials workflows from an identify operation [Geocortex Tech Tip]

March 2, 2018

GIS Health Assessment: A new way to think about your system

February 28, 2018

Using the in-app help system in Geocortex Workflow 5 [Geocortex Tech Tip]

February 21, 2018

How to configure a personalized dashboard in Geocortex Analytics [Geocortex Tech Tip]

January 25, 2018

GIS is shifting to SaaS, and it’s a win for everyone


Categories

Popular Tags
Accessibility Active Operating Picture ArcGIS ArcGIS Online Customer Story Data Models Energy Esri Geocortex Geocortex 5-Series Geocortex Analytics Geocortex Essentials geocortex integrations Geocortex Mobile Viewer Geocortex Printing 5 Geocortex Reporting Geocortex Reporting 5 geocortex tech tip Geocortex Tech Tips Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 Geocortex Web Viewer Geocortex Workflow Geocortex Workflow 5 GIS GIS Day GIS Health gis integrations Integrations Oil & Gas Pipelines Portal for ArcGIS SaaS Tech Tip Tech Tips Transportation Water Industry Web AppBuilder Web GIS Xamarin

Contributors