2009 ESRI Developer Summit Plenary Session

The wireless connection here is less that ideal, but I’m going to try and live blog the DevSummit Plenary. Just refresh the page for updates (but keep in mind I’m not the fastest typer in the world). You can also follow some discussion at my twitter account:

**8:32 AM: ** Video starts showing the languages ESRI supports. Keeping my eye out for Avenue. Nope looks like Avenue gets no love.

8:33 AM: Jack opens the DevSummit with a welcome.

8:37 AM: Jim McKinney takes over and explains the purpose of the Developer Summit and why everyone is here. There are over 1,100 developers at the DevSummit this year from 41 countries (much larger than the BPC). Tech Sessions will be recorded and placed on the ESRI Resource Centers.

8:43 AM: Jim talks about the road from 9.3 to 9.4. 9.3.1 ships “May”. 9.4 will go beta around the 2009 UC.

8:45 AM: Scott Morehouse takes the stage and talks about the philosophy behind ArcGIS. Very high level stuff.

9:05 AM: Jim gets back on stage and the demos are about to begin.

**9:07 AM: **Demo on how 9.3.1 adds functionality to tune map services automatically. No longer do you have to figure out what layers are slowing down your maps. Run the analyze tool and get errors and warnings to show what is slowing your services down. The results lists tells you what you have to do to fix the service, some as easy as right clicking and saying fixing. After you fix the errors, you get can preview the service inside ArcMap and get see the speed of the service after fixing. Thus you no longer have to author in ArcMap and publish in ArcCatalog. You can do this directly in ArcMap. In fact the tool can be used in just desktop applications to improve map display performance. All very slick and will be well received.

9:14 AM: Next demo is for the Flex API. Amazing that 1 year ago it was barely featured at the DevSummit and now it is probably the default API for ESRI. We drop into some Flex Developer IDE demo and code. Seems all simple, but I’m no Flex developer. Demo shows importing data (xls file) directly into the client side application. I think this gets into unhooking these APIs from ArcGIS Server. Adobe is here at the DevSummit and is having a get together. Quite a change from the past.

9:20 AM: Oh my, an actual Java demo. Talk about Java and excitement at ESRI. I used to understand how Java Devs worked, but this demo is just way over my head. Lets just say that ESRI continues to support Java and leave it at that.

9:33 AM: ArcGIS Online is next up. ESRI seems to refer to this as the cloud so if you here that mentioned here, think ArcGIS Online. Sud and Jeremy are showing the ArcGIS Online 9.3.1 demo. Remember now you can upload those Layer Package files (zipped layer files and data). It seems that ESRI wants you to package your data using the layer package format and then upload it to their system. I can’t but help think of the Geography Network when I see this, but maybe users are willing to use this much simpler interface. One thing that it does do is you can limit your content to certain users, rather than the whole cloud Internet. These users are members of groups so collaboration can occur on ArcGIS Online. I can’t figure out the business model here for ESRI, but I suppose it ties back into Desktop and Explorer. Not only can you add data to ArcGIS Online, but you can create hosted maps from your uploaded data. Reading between the lines here, we see ESRI uncoupling ArcGIS Server from workflows. You can share data and maps with the world without having to purchase an ArcGIS Server license. The demo showed the JavaScript API, but I’m sure any ESRI REST API SDKs can be used with ArcGIS Online and without an ESRI ArcGIS Server license. ArcGIS Online goes public beta after ArcGIS 9.3.1 arrives in May.

9:47 AM: Break

10:17 AM: Back and video showing ESRI mapping implementations

10:18 AM: Jim starts off with the ESRI Resource Centers. Jim Barry takes the stage to talk about ESRI’s community efforts. The Resource Centers were updated a couple months ago so most of this stuff on stage is old hat. The story is that unlike the old EDN pages is ESRI is investing time and effort into the website. Still no mention of a true Wiki, but maybe one day. The new template galleries are interesting and hopefully they’ll do much better than the Geoprocessing and Data Model pages on the support site.

10:29 AM: Art Haddad introduces ArcGIS Silverlight API for Microsoft Silverlight/WPF. Art turns the stage sliver (get it Silverlight ). He demos the ArcGIS Resource Center Silverlight page. The demos really show off the power of Silverlight. We can argue about Silverlight’s install base vs Flash, but it really is compelling. The getting started demo of Art’s shows how quickly you can get started with Silverlight. Art’s demo is by far the smoothest we’ve seen today and really highlights where ESRI is going (Microsoft Integration). The cluster feature method works well and you get some really great maps without much code. Also slick is the ability to use the same code with WPF. Silverlight API is not coupled to the ArcGIS release schedule (like the other APIs) so get involved with the beta.

10:43 AM: ArcGIS Explorer 900 is next up. The new Office ribbon interface makes the application fit in very well with other windows applications. Bern shows the reading of layer packages being loaded into AGX. So now you get the fancy cartography generated in ArcMap, inside AGX. 2D Maps are now part of AGX. 3D globes are great for some mapping, but nothing beats 2D for getting the message across. Microsoft Virtual Earth is now part of AGX so you get much better looking base maps than before. Yet another new feature, there is a new presentation mode to allow you to use AGX for presentations. This is hard to describe, but think about using AGX for your presentations rather than PowerPoint. You can navigate back and forth through the “slides” and then interact with the maps. Larry Young went into some customization of AGX with an application configuration file. This means you can streamline AGX to meet the needs of your users, dropping out the tools that users might not need. This is done with an Application Configure tool that is included with the AGX 900 download.

10:55 AM: Bill Moreland talks about Python and ArcGIS.’ The Python demo uses pulp-or with ESRI’s Geoprocessing model. In the past, Python hasn’t been getting as much love as it should at the DevSummit so seeing this on the Plenary stage is really a change. It is good to see the Geoprocessing Resource Center is getting some traction with shareing scripts.

11:05 AM: ArcGIS Desktop at 9.4 is next up. Some key goals were to simplify common tasks, streamline workflows and improve ability to share work.’ Catalog is now integrated into ArcMap (like Toolbox), much faster map drawing, search from ArcMap, better cartography (isn’t that always there ), charting and reporting, 3D GIS (3D editing) and Asynchronous Geoprocessing (no longer locking up Desktop why your analysis runs). New ADFs at 9.4, extensions can now be developed with .NET and Java (drop in extensions). Side by side deployments at 9.4, thus you can run 9.3.1 and 9.4 at the same time on the same machine. Map automation can now be performed with Python in ArcGIS Desktop. Say goodbye to DS Map Book because now you can create PDF export using Python scripts, much like we did in the old days with ArcPlot. With a few lines of code you can replicate all the functionality of DS Map Book. You can now add geoprocessing tools to any of the toolbars (including your Python scripts). Python is also now integrated into Python. Yep and interactive Python window right inside ArcMap. So intellisense GIS analysis with Python. Brilliant!

11:17 AM: Editing Demo – Sorry I can’t bring my self to blog about editing. If you do lots of editing with ArcGIS Desktop, you’ll want to learn more because the editing tools are really leaping over where they are at 9.3.x.

11:30 AM: Jim is back with the news that you can now edit in all ArcGIS Server ADFs and APIs (including the RESTful ones). Now on to ArcGIS Mobile, the story here is that it doesn’t seem to integrate with what Art Haddad is doing with WPF and Silverlight. It is a shame that ArcGIS Mobile is still treated as a different product than the ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight/WPF. I don’t like the idea that the ArcGIS Mobile team is doing WPF work and the ArcGIS Server team is doing it as well. I want to write code once and deploy on Server or Mobile, not maintain two different apps.

11:45 AM: Break for lunch.

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