In defense of VBA

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

So the news that ESRI ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last version that includes VBA support has really stirred up some emotions. So sum up a couple comments in that post, “I can’t believe they are dropping VBA, I use it all the time”. Many of us have moved beyond VBA to other languages, but there seems to be a large percentage of ESRI developers that still rely on VBA to customize ArcGIS Desktop. geoGraphika has even written a blog post outlining 7 reasons why ESRI shouldn’t drop VBA.

Now before VBA devs get all worried that they have no time to prepare for the change. Take a look at the time between when ArcGIS 9.3 arrived and when 9.4 will come. ArcGIS 9.3 shipped June 26, 2008 and ArcGIS 9.4 earliest possible release date would be right before the ESRI UC which is July 12, 2010. That is almost 2 years between releases. Lets assume 9.5 takes that long to arrive (let alone the mythical 10.x release) it will be summer 2012. That is a lifetime to get ready to migrate off of VBA. Plus if VBA is mission critical, you can stick on ArcGIS 9.4.

Hey, don’t worry about VBA being depreciated. The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.

Using OpenStreetMap in your ESRI JSAPI web apps

So yea, one can always use the Google, Bing or ESRI ArcGIS Online for your web mapping base layer, but lets be honest… You really want to use OpenStreetMap. Well there is now a code example on the ESRI JSAPI Resource Center using Cloudmade with JSAPI. Once can easily take the code and modify it to read in the OSM tiles directly into your JSAPI map. I used OpenLayers with OSM and ESRI ArcGIS Server in the past, but if you don’t or can’t use OpenLayers, you can take advantage of the OSM project now inside ESRI’s API.

Let’s get it on!

via @sathyaprasad

We need a “cash for clunkers” program to rid us of old busted web GIS

A day doesn’t go by were I don’t run into it. You know what I’m talking about, some busted old ArcIMS or MapGuide website that is the only thing between me and getting what I need out of data. Clearly new technology isn’t going to just help these websites get upgraded on their own. No, clearly we need some stimulus money to help foster some new open, standards based, http goodness in our lives.

What I would like the Obama administration to do is start “Cash for ArcIMS” and a “Cash for MapGuide” programs to rid us of these abominations. It is our patriotic duty to replace these old antiquated web technologies with some fine ArcGIS Server, GeoServer, MapGuide Open Source or many of the other great web GIS products out there.

It is time to stand up and take charge. Sing along men!

Give your own talk at the 2010 ESRI Developer Summit

You might remember last year, ESRI for the first time allowed developers to give a talk on what they are working on at the DevSummit. I was lucky enough to be chosen to give my talk on using OpenLayers with the ESRI RESTful API. Clearly some things came to light after last years DevSummit. First off there were many more talks submitted than slots to give them. The demo theater was too small, it was too loud and was distracting because of everything else going around in the ESRI showcase. While everyone (including me) enjoyed the opportunity to listen to the talks, it wasn’t as good as an experience as it could have been.

It looks like ESRI is taking that to heart and at the 2010 ESRI Developer Summit, things will be different. There will now be dedicated rooms for the talks giving a better opportunity for everyone to hear the talks. They are going to try and sync the talks with the technical sessions so that you won’t have to miss one or the other. They are doubling the presentation slots so that there is more opportunity to hear great developer stories. Lastly they are going to allow community voting to allow the ESRI developer community to pick what we want to hear.

Clearly ESRI continues to focus on the Developer Summit and it would appear that it will continue to be one, if not the, best GIS Developer conference out there. I went back to the ESRI UC this year for the first time in a couple of years and was shocked at how divergent the DevSummit has become from the ESRI UC. If you want to learn how to develop with ESRI tools, the DevSummit is where you should be going and with more user talks, it will be better than ever.

James took OpenLayers out on the DevSummit wall of death and lived to talk about it.

James took OpenLayers out on the DevSummit wall of death and lived to talk about it.

deCarta now supports OpenStreetMap

Last night deCarta announced that they are now supporting OpenStreetMap with their APIs.

In keeping with the spirit of the OpenStreetMap community, OSM data in deCarta format will be free of charge. deCarta plans to make the product available for both server and client-side solutions to its customers. This includes self hosted solutions using deCarta’s Drill Down Server, deCarta’s Hosted Web Services, Personal Navigation Devices, and Mobile Phones. Developers will also be able to quickly prototype and demonstrate location-enabled applications using OSM content through deCarta’s Developer Zone available to developers a www.decarta.com.

When it comes to LBS services, deCarta is clearly well positioned with their APIs and they’ve been successful at selling them. That deCarta is now supporting OSM is a clear sign that the project is getting mature and that there is demand for it. Given that deCarta is used by the large wireless phone companies, one can expect to see OSM maps in your mobile devices soon.

The deCarta devZone is here and a demo is here.

Update: deCarta will be making quarterly updates to their service.

The deCarta dev team celebrates the “real genius” move to support OSM.

The deCarta dev team celebrates the real genius move to support OSM.

WhereCampPDX 2009

I’ll be heading up to Portland for WhereCampPDX 2009 this year. In fact, I’m keynoting. WhereCampPDX will be running October 2-4 at the Metro Regional Center. There is still time to propose a session so make sure you add your topic as soon as possible. As with any WhereCamp, all you need is a will to share what you know about anything geospatial, you don’t need to be Peter Batty to propose and host a session.

Even Clyde the Glide Drexler will probably show for WhereCampPDX

Even Clyde the Glide Drexler will probably show for WhereCampPDX

Depreciation plans for ArcGIS 9.3.1 with a little what’s coming in 9.4

ESRI has an updated FAQ which outlines depreciation plans for the 9.3.1 release and what is coming at 9.4. Some key highlights:

ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1

  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 contains the last release of the Crystal Report Wizard in ArcGIS Desktop; we will no longer provide this technology in ArcGIS 9.4. Much more **__here (http://www.spatiallyadjusted.com/2009/07/15/esri-arcgis-9-4-reports-updates/**)__.
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release supporting Microsoft Visual Basic 6 (VB6). All I can say is move on guys…
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release supporting the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system for all ArcGIS products. ** Please anyone tell me they are still running Win2k. I’d love to know.**
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release supporting Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release to support Internet Explorer 6 (IE6); we will no longer support this browser with the release after ArcGIS 9.3.1. w00t!
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release supporting Sun Solaris 9 for ArcReader and ArcGIS Engine. We are all running Solaris 10, right?

ArcGIS Workstation 9.3.1

  • ArcGIS 9.3 was the last release of ArcInfo Workstation on AIX; we will no longer support this platform at ArcGIS 9.4. We are dropping this platform as we no longer see demand for it. *side note: I don’t miss AIX at all!

ArcIMS 9.3.1

  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release of the ArcMap Server Extension to ArcIMS; we will no longer provide it in ArcGIS 9.4 release. **So if you want to roll MXDs, you have to use ArcGIS Server 9.4. **
  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release of ArcIMS on HP-UX; we no longer support it in ArcGIS 9.4. HP-UX is not a popular platform for ArcIMS and will be retired due to limited demand. So you HP-UX users have no one to blame but yourselves for letting the rest of us abandon the platform. But don’t feel too bad because ESRI?will continue to support ArcSDE technology on HP-UX on the Itanium processor.

ArcGIS Server 9.3.1

  • ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release of ArcSDE for Oracle 9i. We no longer support it in ArcGIS 9.4 due to this platform no longer being actively supported by Oracle. Sounds like fighting words to me…
  • Solaris 9 is dropped, but you can still roll ArcSDE on it.
  • See IE 6 note above.

The Tragic Prelude beyond ArcGIS 9.4

ArcGIS Desktop 9.4

  • ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last release of Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA); we will no longer support VBA beyond the ArcGIS 9.4 release. Microsoft no longer promotes or updates VBA. So unless you want to be like your VB6 friends, time to move on.
  • ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last release of Solaris support for ArcReader and ArcGIS Engine; we will no longer support the Solaris platform for this functionality beyond ArcGIS 9.4 due to limited demand for this platform. So if you migrated from Solaris 9 to run 9.4, know that it was all a wasted effort because 9.4 drops Solaris support for ArcReader and ArcGIS Engine.

ArcGIS Workstation 9.4

  • At ArcGIS 9.4, ArcInfo Workstation will be decoupled from ArcGIS Desktop 9.4, so users will be able to upgrade to newer versions of ArcGIS Desktop without impacting ArcInfo Workstation. See any writing on that wall?
  • At ArcGIS 9.4 ArcInfo Workstation will be supported on Windows 7 (this will be the last expected Windows platform upgrade). ** I see the end don’t you?**
  • ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last release of ArcInfo Workstation on Solaris; we will no longer support this platform after ArcGIS 9.4. So the abandonment of Solaris by ESRI users is just about complete.
  • The next major release after ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last planned release for ArcInfo Workstation on Windows, which will be the last supported platforms. Users will continue to be able to use their existing versions, but we will not release newer versions. Ah there it is, the end of ArcInfo Workstation is here.

ArcIMS 9.4

  • ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last release of ArcIMS on Solaris; we will no longer support it after ArcGIS 9.4.
  • The next major release after ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last planned release for ArcIMS on Windows and Linux, which are the last supported platforms. So there you go, more writing on the wall. ArcIMS is near the end. Time to move on folks.

ArcGIS Server 9.4

  • ArcGIS 9.4 will be the last ArcGIS Server release with support for Solaris (with the exception of the ArcSDE technology component); we will not support this platform after ArcGIS 9.4 due to limited demand for the Solaris server platform. We will continue to support the ArcSDE component of ArcGIS Server on the Solaris platform beyond the ArcGIS 9.4 release. So essentially after 9.4, only ArcSDE will be supported on Solaris.