Back in Charlotte after another lively ESRI Developers Summit. I went back and read my impressions from last year, and have to say that they were hit and miss. You could replace last year’s impressions mentioning 9.4, with some mentioning 10 (the new and improved 9.4) and it would at least partially apply. New stuff this year to get your inner (and outer) GIS nerd in a frenzy are:
- Editing from the web. The new FeatureLayer in the REST (and, thus, the various web) API is the big deal. Simple editing of GIS data from the web. In my oft-hyperbolic opinion, this is a game changer.
- Attachements support in the REST API. I have mixed feelings about this, as it seems that ESRI might be trying to make the geodatabase the everything-base, but I guess attachments are just another kind of data. I can see cases where we’d use this, but I plan to be very careful…
- Scriptable REST admin (my sessions were almost all either REST or Flex or both), which could be very useful.
- REST-enabled Server Object Extensions (SOE) look very promising as well.
- The Flex API has AMF support at 10. Truthfully, I’ve not done much with AMF in Flex, but I understand it’s superdy-duperdy fast. That’s on the immediate todo list.
- Also on the Flex side, although not ESRI specific, is the release of Flex 4. I went to a couple of sessions where they demoed Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder, and the new workflow. I finally understand what Catalyst is, which is a good thing. Depending on it’s cost, we may or may not use it.
- Various small bits, like point clustering being supported by the GraphicsLayer, complete with a cool “flare-out” symbol.
This year was the second where users were allowed to present. I presented on Cairngorm 3 and best practices in Flex. I thought the presentation when as well as I could have hoped. The slidedeck and code are available, and you can find all that information here. The app I used basically allows the user to draw a polygon around NFL stadiums in the US and then click on the selected stadiums to see a pop-up with an aerial view of that stadium. Cairngorm 3 and Parsley made it very easy to create the app, and the amount of code I had to write is shockingly little.
I will say I was surprised at the number of Flex vs Silverlight developers this year. Last year, I wrote about Silverlight being the Queen of the Ball, with most developers I knew going to all SL sessions. The buzz was much bigger about SL then, which was a 180 turn-around this year. All of the Flex sessions seemed to be packed, and the buzz was Flex-heavy. I didn’t actually go to any SL sessions, but I heard more than one developer say that the sessions seemed less full than last year. Maybe it’s an alternating year thing or something. Or maybe the release of Flex 4 on the Monday of the summit had something to do with it. If you are a Sliverlight developer, please bear in mind that I don’t really care if Flex or SL has more “buzz” or attendees, but I just find the dynamic between the two camps and their respective APIs mildly interesting.
For more info, you can go to ESRI’s Dev Summit site and watch plenary videos as well as all tech sessions. The user sessions aren’t posted yet, but they’re coming. If I think about it, I’ll post a link to mine when it comes online. Oh, and if you checkout the Twitter #devsummit tag, you’ll see a mountain of info and links for your perusing pleasure.
It was a great conference, as always. Already looking forward to next year.