The 2009 ESRI Developer Summit (and the 2009 Business Partner Conference) is upon us

I’ll be heading out from Tempe on Saturday for the annual ESRI Business Partner Conference and the ESRI Developer Summit. As many of you already know, I’ll be presenting a talk on using the ArcGIS Server REST API with OpenLayers.

Using OpenLayers with ArcGIS Server REST API

Should be a good time getting everyone who is working with OpenLayers and ArcGIS Server or those who want to start working with it. OpenLayers support for ArcGIS is messy, but the pieces are coming together quickly so is a great time to get involved. And I’m not the only talk that covers using ArcGIS with Open Source tools. It isn’t about closed development environments anymore, it is about using the best tools to get the job done.

As I said above, I’ll be there all week so if you’d like to talk over an adult beverage GIS at either the Business Partner Conference or the Developer Summit, email me ( or call me on my mobile phone (602-819-2142).

Oh and don’t forget to RSVP for the DTSAgile DevSummit Party!

James takes his lion “OpenLayers” out on the GIS Wall of Death at the Developer Summit.

James takes his lion OpenLayers out on the GIS Wall of Death at the Developer Summit.


JSMag, the magazine for JavaScript developers

OK, so maybe you aren’t a Microsoft MVP for .NET or maybe you think Java is an island of Indonesia (we are all Geographers of course) . But darn it, you know how to work with the Google Maps API or you dream about jQuery. Does that mean you don’t get a “professional” magazine of your own? Well wonder no longer, say hello to JSMag. Their mission?

“JSMag aims to brings you quality JavaScript content to educate, movitate [sic] and inspire you in your work with JavaScript.”

Issues are PDF only and cost $4.99 each. You can view a sample from the first issue here. Exciting topics from this months issue:

  • Debugging JavaScript without alert()
  • Introduction to ExtJS
  • Community News
  • Unit testing with YUI
  • What’s new in jQuery 1.3
  • Functional Programming in JavaScript

Mark Twain used to end up every day on his porch reading JSMag and enjoying a stogie.

Mark Twain used to end up every day on his porch reading JSMag and enjoying a stogie.


ESRI ArcGIS Server Mashup and ArcGIS Mobile Code Challenges Voting Updated


UPDATE: OK, it has come to my attention that these links actually don’t do a thing. ESRI requires you to use the email that was sent to you. Yea, you’d assume they’d track this better than some URL, but alas no. So if you voted by clicking on the links above, you’ll have to **VOTE AGAIN** using the email you received from ESRI. If you didn’t get an email, ESRI doesn’t let you vote. Have to pull the siren out for this one folks.**

The voting is open for ESRI’s 2009 ArcGIS Server Mashup and ArcGIS Mobile code challenges.

Vote for ArcGIS Server Mashup Code Challenge
First prize – $7,000
Second prize – $3,000

Vote for ArcGIS Mobile Code Challenge
First prize – $4,000
Second prize – $2,000

Take five minutes and vote for the one you think deserves to win.


RESTful GeoServer 1.7.3

On the heels of the 1.7.2 release, GeoServer 1.7.3 is now out. Improvements to ArcSDE Raster support, RESTful interface, Excel support and of course GeoWebCache. You know you want to get some of this

Horray GIS!

Horray GIS!


Is FTP access the best we can do

I can almost predict that every conversation about data sharing will have one person stand up and declare, “Just give me FTP access and I’ll be fine”. I used to think that way and while I probably still would like file based access to datasets, I just can’t see FTP being a viable data transfer method anymore. Just it makes it easy to grab a data dump, but there isn’t anything that allows users to know if the data has been updated (other than I suppose checking the metadata). So many times I see people using old data because they have no idea data has been updated. Personally I don’t like the idea that I’m offering up spatial data web services for data I don’t control and most others should be worried as well. Users want to grab data from the source, not some middle man who probably knows less about the data than the creator.

There has been a huge jump into SDI since the pork bandwagon started up in Washington and I’ll be honest… I haven’t paid much attention. One thing I am sure of is I don’t want to see something introduced that has two choices, WxS and FTP. Data needs to be both discoverable and usable and I’m not sure WxS and FTP get us there. WxS no matter what defenders might say is not discoverable and FTP is not secure and has no method of tracking changes.

AtomPub to me looks like the best method of publishing and sharing datasets. There is a huge risk here of inventing something new when a superb solution already exists. Workflows change quickly and WxS/FTP can’t adjust sprightly enough. Read “How to GET a Cup of Coffee” and think about how easier this could all be.

Gatekeepers want to limit you to FTP/WxS so that you can’t change the world.

Gatekeepers want to limit you to FTP/WxS so that you cant change the world...


SOAP is for cleaning…

Of course this is not surprising in the least bit, but Google is abandoning their SOAP API to focus on their RESTful APIs. Most developers, myself included, prefer working with RESTful services and I’m interested in seeing if other companies will start “retiring” their SOAP APIs for their newer RESTful ones. ESRI, MapGuide, and GeoServer are all great RESTful implementations, but they are still young and immature. Just looking at the ESRI ArcGIS Server Mashup Challenge submissions, you can see the sheer number of REST API, JSAPI, Flex API projects and the lack of Web ADF projects. As these RESTful APIs get more mature, it is clear that ESRI SOAP APIs are destined to follow Google’s SOAP APIs into depreciation.

Even John Brown looked at ESRI’s RESTful API for salvation.

Even John Brown looked at ESRIs RESTful API for salvation.


ESRI Updates their JavaScript API and Google Extender to version 1.3

Sure this was news last week, but it can’t hurt to revisit it. ESRI has released an update to their JavaScript API and Google Extender to version 1.3. Check those links to see what has been updated and make sure you update your pages to take advantage of the update:

    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">
    <a href=" v=1.3"> v=1.3


    <a href=" v=1.3"> v=1.3

I don’t see any update to the Virtual Earth Extender and the docs still seem to reference v1.2 (not that anyone really uses the VE Extender anyway).

**Update: **Apparently the Virtual Earth extender was updated to 1.3. I suppose ESRI hasn’t updated their doc just yet.

Update 2: A couple people have asked, yes you can change the reference from 1.2 to 1.3 and publish. Aren’t JavaScript APIs much easier to use