Moving the Web (and the Web Developer) Forward
It’s time for 3D
Another interesting example that caught my eye was a land contour with rippling water. While the land contours were generated using the 4.0 JSAPI, the wavy water was created with the help of three.js, a 3d graphics rendering library. It’s another sign that ESRI’s tools are working towards playing nice with other libraries in this mix and match web world we work and play in.
It’s worth noting that the 3D maps were only available on desktop browsers. The 3D maps engines rely on browsers implementing the WebGL specifications. While the desktop browsers have added enough of the specs to make 3D maps possible, mobile browsers have been spotty in their implementation. And don’t get me started on how mobile carriers are slowing down updates…
Web AppBuilder has plenty of room to grow
With a long list of default tools, responsive design, and simple configurable nature, you might think your days of developing custom web applications are over. However, I found that was not the case with the Web AppBuilder Developer Edition. While widgets in an application can talk to one another, they still can’t talk to widgets that haven’t been started. The apps are still limited to full screen (or almost full screen) map apps, Also, there is still a need for 3rd party integration widgets (like Pictometry or Google StreetView) and custom workflow widgets. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can focus on the apps and tools that make you unique.
The People behind the products
Some people view ESRI as the Cadillac of the GIS world, while others view it as the Evil Empire. What we sometimes forget is that behind the company (and really any half-decent company) are hard working people trying to make things better for others. That’s what I found when I had the opportunity to meet some of the developers in real life. These are people I’ve known previously through Twitter, Slack, and GIS StackExchange, and I’m happy to say these people are cool in person.
Special thanks to Andy Gup, Rene Rubalcava, Tom Wayson, John Gravois, Gavin Rehkemper, Yann Cabon, and the other developers whose names escape me this late at night. These people not only put out good code, but also made me feel welcome. Also, to Douglas Crockford, while I was a little too starstruck to say little more than “great presentation”, one day, when I see you again, I will get up the nerve to ask for a selfie.