ESRI and ArcView

The stand alone ArcView boxThere are some comments of my previous post about ArcView and Geoprocessing that would seem that people aren’t very happy with the limitations of ArcView. I’m wondering why people feel this way. I’m not surprised in the least bit that ArcEditor is required for the new cartographic features given that the geodatabase is now a requirement to use them. As ESRI begins to include more and more into the geodatabase I’m sure we’ll start seeing ArcView be left further behind.

I was actually unhappy to see ArcView be included in the “new” ArcGISIS suite at 8. ArcView was never meant to be a primary GIS tool back on the old ArcView GIS days. People were able to make it work because of Avenue and many (including me) sold our services to companies wanting more power out of ArcView to accomplish tasks that used to require workstation ArcInfo. When ESRI announced that ArcView was going to be a licensing level of ArcGIS I knew that they would have a tough road to ahead of them as people would always be wondering why ArcView didn’t support this or ArcView didn’t support that. Any program that has the work “View” in it shouldn’t be counted on to be the primary tool for any ESRI shop. With 9.2 and SDE now being available on workstations rather than just on the server, you’ll need at least ArcEditor to manage these geodatabases. We’ve all seen the presentations where ESRI has said the two most important things for Desktop GIS are the geodatabase and geoprocessing.

ArcView does has its purpose (though I wish they used a different name than ArcView) and if you primarily use shapefiles for your work flows, it will do a good job. Frankly I’m happy to see more emphasis on Editor and Info with 9.1 and 9.2 as we can start getting back to the old days of workstation type analysis rather than these GUI wizards that ArcView has introduced to community. I think the future of ArcView is more tied to the server and ArcGIS Explorer rather than the classic ArcView stand alone application and I think ESRI is looking at it this way also. Give away the client (ArcGIS Explorer) and let the Server (ArcGIS Server/SDE) handle the workload. Probably cheaper anyway than putting all those ArcView licenses on the desks of people who don’t need it.

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