So we all hate at least parts of the WebADF but complaining about it won’t do anything. Dave says it is time for us to do something about it. I agree, bitching about software is therapeutic, but it doesn’t help any of us get our work done. Dave, Doron and Matt have all blogged about where we should be thinking of going on this.

Dave thinks we can create our own REST API before ESRI gets around to releasing their own API (sorry Sean, I have to use API here given the context).

There’s not really a whole lot to it if it’s designed correctly. Heck if nothing else we can use what has been done on FeatureServer.org as a road map. Suppose we cook up a server object extension (SOE) that can do all the low-level stuff in raw ArcObjects. Then we write a httphandler that can take the requests, parse the Urls and make calls back to the SOE. If we but the JSON/GEORSS/KML/whatever conversion in the SOE, we’re very light-weight on the DCOM stuff, and can get away with little to no ADF. And if we run this all directly on the ArcGIS Server box, we’re good in terms of licensing.

I like the simplicity of this. Use existing work such as FeatureServer and add back into that community and grow our own ArcGIS Server community. Matt goes one step further and outlines what this RESTful interface would look like.

So what is the next step. We can wait until the DevSummit to see what ESRI has cooked up with their RESTful attempt but I know many people are so frustrated waiting at least this long for even a peak at it we might as we create our own. It backs into where I was talking about before, long lead times with ESRI Server software puts implementors in bad spots. Still I think we should wait the month and a half to see what they’ve come up with and it makes sense to have a meetup at the DevSummit to talk about what we want to do moving forward. We can also have an IRC channel running for those who want to take part in the discussion, but can’t make it to Palm Springs. I just want to develop ArcGIS Server applications using Javascript, don’t you?

Sound like a plan?

UPDATE : Matt says that I should know that ESRI will fail and we should forge ahead ourselves. Frankly I’ve not seen a thing about the ESRI REST API so I guess he is probably right. They can’t even give us a taste of the thing so as far as we should be concerned it doesn’t exist. He’s got no argument from me. Lets move forward on this then. Anyone game other than Dave, Matt, Doron and me want to step up?