Saturday, March 28, 2009

2009 ESRI Developer Summit

ArcGIS 9.3.1 Server (ships after U.C.)
- New Optimized Map Service that is as fast as ArcIMS or sometimes faster.

- New Map publish toolbar in ArcMap that helps optimize mxds and rendering speeds, using the analyze tool. The analyze tool produces errors, warnings and messages to help you see what's slowing down your map service. It also creates a new optimized mxd file with a .msd extension, that is used for the new Optimized Map Service. During one of the sessions it took a map that rendered in 12sec and optimized it to .8 secs.

- New Silverlight API beta is released with some custom controls like automatic point clustering and rendering. The demos were really slick and fast. At one of the sessions someone asked what the limitations of the Silverlight API was. Art Haddad said he tested rendering 10,000 points with no problem. He says your bandwidth is now your bottleneck. For you JavaScript API folks out there, you know the pain and limitation of only showing 100 points before it brings your browser to a crawl. Also map rotation will be supported. I believe this will be ESRI's default web client.

ArcGIS 9.4 Desktop (ships late fall or early next year)
- New UI with dock able controls like Visual Studio

- Catalog has been added right into ArcMap

- Asynchronous geoprocessing (basically when running a toolbox tool it will not lock up your whole ArcMap session anymore)

- Side by side deployment (9.3.1 & 9.4 versions will be able to run on the same machine)

- High performance graphics

- Full python integration with script console

- Enhanced editing in 2D & 3D

- No support for IE6, VB6, VS2005, Oracle 9i, SQL2000, Win2000 & Win Server 2000

- VBA only available for legacy

- Python is now the default custom tool language

- New layers tab in ArcMap that groups the layers by there state. Groupings like Visible, Out of Scale Range, Hidden layers, and Selectable layers.

- New editing tools for ArcEngine that match the tools in ArcMap

- Search integration in all products

- New layer type called "Query layers" that limits displayed features using SQL syntax.

ArcGIS 9.4 Server (ships late fall or early next year)
- Web editing service provided in all web APIs.

- Support for native SQL, no ArcSDE required.

- Faster map tile retrieval.

- Query Layer support

- Access to standalone tables

- Improve map cache update workflow

- Full support for domains

- Support for native SQL

ArcGIS Explorer 900
- New feature lets you create presentations with fly over animations using your data. It also lets you import you PowerPoint slides.

- Virtual Earth data will be available.

- New ribbon interface and a custom settings file can be created to limit what tools are shown for custom user installs.

Other random items
ArcGIS Online (ships after 9.3.1) - Using your global account you can log in and share your data by uploading it. You can even create groups and secure them so that only certain people have access to the data. You can even create hosted maps from your uploaded data. No mention was said if this would be a free site or some type of paid service.

Layer Packages - These are basically compressed files that will include the layer symbology and data in one file. This will be used to upload data to the new ArcGIS Online.

Using Open Layers with the REST API - James Fee gave an interesting user session about modifying the open source project Open Layers to use the ArcGIS Server REST API. Right now it supports a subset of the REST API features but will support all functions possibly by Fall of '09.

ArcGIS Mobile 9.4 - Mobile will be supported on tablets and the SDK has been made easier for task based programs. The same program should work on handheld and tablet with no modification.

This year I would say the key jargon phrases for the summit are "Web Maps" and "Story". "Story" is taken from Microsoft and basically its a way to assign emotion to a product. It also describes the user experience. It was used in almost every session I went too. "Web Maps" is ESRIs way of saying "stop creating sites that mimic ArcMap on the web" and create more focused web map applications with the least amount of layers. I'm not really sure this is cost effective. Since most clients want to get the most bang for there buck and don't really want to pay you to create 5 focused sites when 1 light web gis viewer could do the same thing. I understand there shooting for the Google simple map app, but I don't believe in these financially
sensitive times that this makes sense.

Overall I think the Dev Summit was good and I'm really looking forward to playing with the Silverlight API and the Optimized Services.