2006 ESRI Developer's SummitDay two was even more crowded than day one. I’m not sure if more people registered or not, but it appeared to me that they did. Anyway, I missed the first part of the Keynote because I was watching Brian Flood and Jithen Singh play around on the 9.2 workstations. By the time I had gotten to the keynote, Microsoft was already up and explaining how their vision of web 2.0 will work. I hate to admit it, but I left after a while as the talk was a little too light on development and focused more on things I already knew. If you want to get a detailed look at the Devloper Summit, check out Cory Eicher’s blog. He has some great bullet points of his experiences at the summit.

I did get to sit down with the ArcWeb Services team and they showed me the new SVG viewer and more great examples of the Flash ArcWeb Explorer. The API is almost out for ArcWeb Explorer and the API help and examples are truly wonderful. Even if you’ve never used ArcWeb (or even Google Maps API), you’ll be able to copy and paste code to make your own mashups using the new ArcWeb Explorer API. The SVG viewer is really great too, but its further behind in development. It sounded like the ArcWeb Explorer API will be released in the next few weeks and then the team will focus on the SVG viewer.

I didn’t attend the ArcGIS Explorer session, but apparently the next revision of Beta 1 will be out really soon and apparently its quite a jump from the current one we are using. I’ve also heard that the imagery will be greatly improved (10 fold improvement), but I haven’t seen it first hand so I can’t really comment on it (well the fact that we can’t talk about the 9.2 beta).

At the closing session, Brian Goldin went over the some of the concerns that attendees had from the 2 day Developer Summit and it sounds like that ESRI is listening and wants feedback on how to change the event for the better next year. Generally people wanted an extra day, more technical talk and less marketing (Q&A sessions should be longer) and keeping the summit separate from both the Business Partner Conference and the User Conference. Quite a few people have said that they won’t attend the UC this year because the Developer Summit was so much more valuable to them. In fact ESRI is looking at allowing ESRI customers with complimentary passes to the User Conference; apply those to the Developer Summit.

So what did I think about the Summit? It was well worth the trip. Sitting down with the develop teams and being able to talk about low level issues is something that I’ve not been able to do at the UC. Also everyone around you is able to speak the same developer language. None of the “When will ArcGIS Desktop be available on Linux” questions were asked because the attendees here understand the realities of the marketplace so one doesn’t have to sit through the silliness that happens on the floor of the ESRI islands at the UC. The ability of developers to sit down and talk with the ESRI developer team and talk about our issues made this event so valuable to us. The ESRI developer team was completely honest about problems they have had in the past year with 9.2 and how some things with supporting existing 9.1 developers haven’t gone as well as anyone would have liked. That is all developers are asking for, honest dialog and access. I think in general people received that at the Dev Summit. Was it perfect? No, but for the first one it at least to me came of better than anyone could have anticipated.

I had a great time meeting everyone and thanks to all that introduced themselves to me. I appreciated knowing people read this blog and get value from it. I started it so help me understand more about the GIS marketplace, ESRI, open source and general geospatial technology; but the fact that others are able to learn from it too makes it worth the effort. I’ll still be around for the Business Partner Conference so I’m always up for a cold beer. :)