The ESRI Web ADF 9.3

Remember this post Count that as the most popular post ever on my blog (so much for a positive post being my watermark). Anyway Doron Yaacoby has followed up almost a year and a half later with another look at where ESRI has taken the Web ADF since then.

Almost none of the issues I addressed in my original post were fixed. The API is still overly complex. Resources, functionalities and all these so-called abstractions remain in place, emphasizing the strength of the JavaScript API’s simplicity. And yes, there are still about a billion classes that are named ‘Converter’ in the API. It seems like ESRI insists that you write the entire namespace before every class you use.

Yea that was probably predictable, but I don’t think any of it matters. We’ve all moved beyond the Web ADFs and on to the REST APIs (Flex, JavaScript and Silverlight). Really though I’m amazed at how much our web development platform has changed in that time, we all can agree developing with ESRI is much more enjoyable than it was and I’m wagering most of us forget there is a Web ADF out there anymore. I can’t wait until the ESRI UC to see what the future holds in store.

The killing of .NET and Java on the web continues unabated

Back from the 2009 Safe FME User Conference

Yes, I’m back from almost a week in Canada visiting my friends in Vancouver and the FME UC at Whistler. First I’d like to thank Safe for the honor of giving the keynote. I enjoyed it thoroughly and meeting everyone there was an absolute blast.

Both Don and Dale did a great job outlining how Safe was responding to the changing geospatial world. It really does become clear how well FME is able to bridge gaps in proprietary data ensuring it is easily accessible by all. FME Server was definitely the focus of the conference and most people I bumped into really want to go that route. Remote processing is something that everyone can get behind, running scripts on your local desktop is not going to cut it anymore. The workshops and technical sessions were excellent (though I couldn’t go to every one I wanted to) and the word is that Safe will be posting the video and presentations this week on their website. I’m not sure if everything will be publicly available, but I’m sure the Don and Dale show will be and that alone is worth paying attention.

The lightning talks were all excellent, Jeff Konnen talked about Rasters and FME Server, Glen Rhea talked about using FME to assist first responders during natural disasters, Peter Lauland showed some FME, SQL and TCL goodness and Paul Bissett showed how WeoGeo is scaling FME Server in the cloud to just clobber huge jobs (specifically they showed spinning up 64 FME engines to process worldwide tiling jobs).

The welcome social was on top of Whistler Blackcomb Mountain and was quite an experience. I’ve never been to Whistler before and the views just blew me away. Seeing all the work for the 2010 Olympics (and how much more they have to do) was mind bending. And just the networking between users was also great. I really liked seeing how many different ways someone can complete the same task and what different software packages they are using. Much different from the ESRI/Intergraph/Autodesk conferences I’m used to going to. Best tool to get the job done is the rule and FME is usually at the center of it.

I’ll try and post more about the conference this week as I recover and get back into the swing of things. I need to start preparing for the ESRI User Conference early next month and I’ve got some exciting plans for that so stay tuned.

From the Mailbag

A reader wanted to know the following question, I figured rather than answer it myself, you guys could help a fellow out.

“Please list all the pros and cons of ArcView 3.1”

I’m sure whatever insight you could give the person asking the question would be greatly appreciated.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Amazon Hosting TIGER is nice, OpenStreetMap would be interesting

I’m sure most of you have seen the news of Amazon hosting TIGER shapefiles in S3 and now in EBS. Sure I like TIGER being available for EC2 instances, but the real amazing stuff happens when you can work with OpenStreetMap XML data. That mounted up to either FME Server or some great open source tools running on EC2 really would whole open worlds up. TIGER is the low hanging fruit here, but OSM would be the icing. My mouth waters thinking about what people could do with EC2 instances chomping on OSM data. One could do the lifting yourself, but Amazon’s rates are lower than what it would cost to host it yourself and since you are already on AWS, the benefit would be huge.

Update: A couple people have asked, yes you need to have an EC2 instance to leverage the EBS TIGER data.

A Quick Look at 2009 ESRI International User Conference Exhibitors

While waiting for ArcGIS Server to cut my tile cache, I thought I’d look at who is exhibiting at the 2009 ESRI User Conference. A couple caught my eye.

  • BlackBerry – If only they were going to demo a real ESRI API on their phone.
  • DeLorme – I’m really interested in seeing their ArcGIS Online map service. Great worldwide cartography is worth paying for.
  • Microsoft – .NET 4.0, SQL Server 2008 Spatial and Visual Studio 2010 are much more interesting than Microsoft Maps for Enterprise. (side note for ESRI/Microsoft – Silverlight is dead to me until it can print)
  • Pictometry – I’m a sucker for those oblique views
  • Safe Software – FME is the key for really sharing ESRI data with the world
  • TouchTable – Every year I look and wish I could have one.

Who is missing? Sun and I assume it is because they are now Oracle. I didn’t see Google either as well (nor SketchUp).