When I visited ESRI a couple weeks ago I was told there wouldn’t be as much REST documentation as SOAP and that made sense to me at the time as using SOAP was pretty much the only way to take advantage of ArcWeb in the past. Still after playing with REST and ArcWeb this weekend, I’m a little disappointed at the documentation. Hopefully this will improve as ArcWeb 2006 gets rolled out more, but if I was starting out with ArcWeb 2006 I’m sure I would be confused to how it all works. Of course one could visit the ArcWeb REST forums on ESRI’s support site, but I doubt many programmers would bother as Google Search is how most of us get our information.
That said, I’m really impressed with the changes in ArcWeb 2006 over the older v2 version. The map quality around the world is much better than Google’s (at least where I tried).
Update – I got an email from a reader who wants to know what I’d expect from ESRI as far as REST documentation. Well I don’t think one has to go as far as Google did with theirs, but I’d like that after you sign up for ArcWeb Public Services you’d get code that could make a simple map with map controls to zoom/pan much like Google does. That would give anyone the opportunity to make a map and post it on a webpage. The simple example from Google is here, just a cut and paste “Hello World” application which creates this map. ESRI’s default example isn’t that easy due to how one has to request the token.