The best time of the year is when baseball starts up again.
Recommended reading: Baseball Hacks
Honestly I would just like them to make up their minds. MapInfo has a huge meaning to most of us in the professional GIS world even if we don’t currently or ever used the software, but you can bet my 98 year old Grandmother knows Pitney Bowes.
Hey, don’t take chances, take Pitney Bowes.
For all those who can’t resist installing the latest service pack for ArcGIS, here it is:
case you can’t remember if you care or not, check out the Service Pack 5 announcement.
Robert Burkhardt, director of the Engineer Research and Development Center’s Topographic Engineering Center, was recently appointed as the Army’s first Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) by Headquarters, Department of the Army’s Geospatial-Enterprise Governance Board. As GIO, Mr. Burkhardt serves as the Army’s central manager responsible for coordination, assessment, and synchronization of all Army policies and standardization requirements for the geospatial information enterprise, which will help enable interoperability across battle command systems, bringing the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines closer to the realization of a unified common operational picture (COP). This COP allows the Department of Defense to deploy assets efficiently and effectively by providing the warfighter with the integrated capability to receive, correlate, and display a common tactical picture, including planning applications that may include location of friendly, hostile, and neutral units, assets, and reference points.
While I think many joke about the title of GIO, this is a huge deal for anyone involved with Army or DoD work as the integration of these autonomous systems that both warfighters and support staff use with geospatial information is critical to the mission. While I’m sure things won’t change overnight, the significance of the Army creating such a position cannot go unnoticed by others.
The original press release is here for those who like such reading
I don’t think there is anything wrong swinging by the office on the way home from the Developer Summit to pick up the 9.3 Beta disks to install tonight while I watch UCLA destroy Mississippi Valley State. My wife just doesn’t understand me but I’m happy with who I am.
Lets see, I have my .NET Sombrero beer hat and cigar. I’m ready to install the ArcGIS Beta
Well I think most would agree, the 2008 DevSummit was one of the best. There was tons of new stuff to learn about, much more attendees, more ESRI staff, better layout of the conference (the Community Center was particularly good) and better session (and more of them). So what did I take away from the conference?
So underneath it all, what has changed. Well first ESRI has really focused on bug fixes. I know we’ve all heard this before, but I think the new crash reporting dialog will give better feedback to ESRI and internally they’ve caught many bugs that might not have been caught without the crash reporter. In addition ESRI is using Coverity to help uncover hidden bugs in the code (read some of these case studies, very interesting stuff). I was told that they found stuff that has been hidden for years in the code that would have caused problems, but for one reason or another never was discovered. I think it is safe to say the 9.3 code base will be as bug free as anything they’ve ever released (hold for joke) and given how short this beta period is I think they are confident that they’ve delivered on this.
The focus at 9.3 is stability, performance and security. Those are 3 areas I know have been a great concern for most ESRI users/developers and the examples that we were given between 9.2 and 9.3 showed great performance increases (I can’t comment on stability until I’ve worked with 9.3 for a while). The new security improvements aren’t revolutionary, but address the specific concerns users have had with the product (specifically check out the security presentation on EDN from the DevSummit for the details).
I’ve already posted on the new features in the 480 release due in May and the 600/700 release due by the end of the year in my Plenary session post, but I’ll list some of the new features in Explorer that caught my eye. First off 480 will increase performance (multi-threaded), direct connect to SDE, GPX support, GeoRSS support and improved task frameworks and popups (the bubbles). Build 600 has the new Microsoft “ribbon” interface and looks great. From a usability standpoint, the information you are working with gets presented right to you and not hidden by interfaces. You will also be able to finally view the maps in 2D mode. I think this will be a boon to organizations who are using AGX as a decision making tool. Ease of use goes a long way. The “enhanced” ArcGIS Explorer SDK will allow you to embed AGX inside your applications. I asked how ESRI would charge for this SDK and they are still thinking about it (will the SDK be free and the deployments cost, will the SDK cost and deployments be free, or will everything be free).
ESRI Resource Centers
New at 9.3 is the ESRI Resource Centers. You’ve already been looking at the first one for quite some time (the ArcGIS Explorer Resource Center) and the ones for ArcGIS Server, Desktop, Engine, Image Server, Mobile, IMS and Geodatabase are currently available for those in the 9.3 beta program. These are help centers where you can get support, online help, code samples, interactive SDKs and other resources that you can use with developing (or even using) the ArcGIS Platform. The forums are due to be re-launched based on the Beta forums (which means you’ll be able to subscribe to a forum topic via RSS). There will be many new blogs available from teams that haven’t blogged yet and there might be community aspects introduced as well. How this all interacts with the EDN site I have no idea.
So go get on the 9.3 beta, but you’ve got to hurry as 9.3 RTM could happen as early as “June”.
I’ve been telling folks I’ve got serious reservations about using any development environment created by “Adobe”, but this Flex API stuff is really compelling and worth a look.
ArcGIS Chefs have another service to cook with
Yikes – I just saw this draft from yesterday that I didn’t get posted so pardon the untimeliness of it.
The closing Q&A session was over lunch and was pretty calm. A couple issues were raised that I thought I would mention.
VB6 will not be supported at ArcGIS 9.4 and you should really move to .NET.
The File Geodatabase SDK (or whatever it will be called) has been sidelined and they still need to figure out what it will be. The simple solution everyone would like is for them to just work with the GDAL team and get something written into GDAL/OGR (they did at least mention GDAL on stage). I’m just not sure what the problem is on this and why they don’t want greater use of the File Geodatabase (could be why I’m a consultant and they make money selling software).
Dave Bouwman asked them to stop overselling ArcGIS Server. His comment was well received by everyone out there and those on stage all agreed they need to do a better job giving a realistic picture of what it can do and how quickly you can deploy applications.
It was the last chance to enjoy an ESRI Squishee
My laptop seems to have died and I can’t get it to boot up at all. I’ll try and get my notes figured out when I get back to the office, but you can read some blog posts from Day 2 of the Developer Summit. I’m sure we’ll see more come online tomorrow when the bloggers recover from a late night out in Palm Springs. Some reaction to the Dev Summit from other bloggers is below:
Mmmm’ Kooool-Aid! DevSummit With the Goggles On
[ArcGIS Code Challenge… Thanks Everyone! (or where everyone who meets Dave now knows that they can ask him to buy them a beer)
Jim McKinney opened the Plenary by introducing Jack Dangermond to welcome everyone to the DevSummit. The DevSummit has gotten much bigger over the last 3 years. It had more than doubled since the first DevSummit. The conference has changed from previous years. It is a longer a conference than before (pre-conference seminars). More sessions than before, presentations will be recorded and put up on EDN, larger community center and ESRI showcase (the server island was described as a continent). ESRI has also added the demo theaters to the showcase to augment the tech sessions. It definitely feels much larger than before. On top of it all, the plenary is much shorter (only 2 hours) than before so everyone can get right into tech sessions.
ESRI has committed to releasing service packs every quarter for 9.2. The future includes SP5 for 9.2 out soon and 9.3 in “June” (or before the User Conference) and 9.4 should arrive in “early” 2009.
Web ADFs (.NET and Java)
Rex Hansen demonstrated how you can quickly take code samples out of the Resource Center and create WebADF and ASP.NET AJAX applications quickly and easily. The sample Rex demonstrated was simple and valuable which is definitely something that has been missing on ESRI samples from before. Rex showed how you can quickly take the ESRI sample and create a Sharepoint Web part using your own data. Hopefully this will improve usability of creating quick WebADF applications that leverage Microsoft development tools.
Rex apparently lost his mind and started talking about Java and AGS 9.3. The Java example was very similar in the sense that the code was simple and any Java developer should be able to customize it to work with their own data and projects. Rex looked pretty familiar with Eclipse so maybe he’s been cheating on us .NET folks.
Developers I’ve talked with this week have really been interested in what ESRI has been doing with ESRI Mobile solutions. What is interesting at 9.3 is that ESRI includes ArcSDE SQL Express with ArcGIS Engine. You can do both one and two way replication with ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS Mobile integrates deeply with Visual Studio and enables quick development and deployment. Being able to develop a mobile application on Windows Mobile and Smartphone with a couple lines of code should increase Mobile usage among ESRI Developers.
Euan Cameron talked about changes to ArcGIS Engine 9.3. The biggest news I think was the ability to include SQL Server Express Support with deployments. At 9.3 ESRI increased the amount of documentation and code. Desktop now allows the ability to have “Z Aware” editing, HTML popup windows (like what you are seeing with ArcGIS Explorer), more online support content and VBA 6.5 (thus Vista and Office integration).
Bernie Szukalski started to demo some 9.3 enhancements (the new “left hand tool”), and ArcGIS Desktop 9.3 crashed. We got to see the error detection and debugging tools. Crash dumps created automatically and ESRI will use these to help track down crashes. This should result in Service Packs addressing problems quicker than before.
Now the real reason that Bernie Szukalski was up on stage (no he wasn’t there to crash ArcGIS Desktop) was to demonstrated ArcGIS Explorer The future releases of ArcGIS Explorer include 480 will be released in May and followed by releases 600 and 700 by the end of th year. Bernie was demonstrating how you can include ArcGIS Server Globe Services, ArcIMS Services, WMS Services, local imagery, file geodatabases and KML. The new icon symbols really look great and very sharp (and will be available with ArcGIS 9.3 Desktop for use in any ArcMap or ArcGIS Server production). Bernie even when to the Google 3D Warehouse to grab a KMZ of a 3D building. Bernie also demonstrated how you can even embed YouTube videos right into the info bubbles. Any HTML content can be used, there is no limits so you can put any web content into ArcGIS Explorer.
ArcGIS Explorer 480 will increase performance (multi-threaded), Direct Connect to SDE!!!!!, GPX support, GeoRSS, improved task framework and popups and ability to load AGX in your web browser. The future moving forward includes a new user interface, integrated 2D and 3D display, markup and collaboration and a Map Control to embed Explorer objects. You’ll be able to take the map display and use it in your applications.
ESRI demonstrated build 600 (which isn’t the next version) and it has the new “ribbon” interface that you’ll recognize from Microsoft Office. Now tasks aren’t hidden in the table of contents, but available quickly and easily. It really does look like a Microsoft Office application which should help with its adoption. The usability of build 600 is really striking compared to the existing ArcGIS Explorer builds and even Google Earth. Another key feature of build 600 is the ability to view maps in 2D. The enhanced Explorer SDK which will be available with either build 600 or 700. Embedding AGX inside your applications will be big for many developers.
Lastly Scott Morehouse discussed where the ArcGIS Platform is going. ESRI is at the “envisioning” stage with 9.4 so the User Conference will be where we’ll see what will be part of the release. It will build upon what happened in 9.2 and 9.3 so it shouldn’t rock the boat and will probably be a nice stable release. The release schedule of ArcGIS Explorer will be adopted by the Server and Desktop teams so we’ll be seeing more and quicker releases of software, rather than these big Service Packs and large jumps in technology we have been getting. There will be more support for standards, much improved Linux support, faster services in ArcGIS Server and more stability. 9.4 will also see Flex and Silverlight be part of the Server platform. Desktop will continue to be improved with stability/performance and new editing tools showing up. ArcGIS Online is now an integral part of ArcGIS and is not a separate product. More online documentation, best practices and code galleries will also begin to show up with 9.3 and on to 9.4.
Jim Barry described where EDN was heading including more blogs coming online in the next few months (Desktop Developer and Engine) as well as highlighting some of the improved online support tools at 9.3. Also the forums are being updated as part of the 9.3 beta program and when 9.3 is released, will replace the old forums that have existed for years.
That ended the plenary and we will move on to the “super sessions”.