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Making Good Things Happen at the 2012 Esri DevSummit


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At the 2012 Esri Developer Summit, attendees got a preview of ArcGIS 10.1, experienced a cloud keynote from Steve Riley, and explored the new ArcGIS Runtime SDKs.

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Making Good Things Happen at the 2012 Esri DevSummit

  1. 1. Making Good ThingsAt the 2012 Esri DevSummit HappenBy Monica Pratt, ArcUser Editor“We are here for you entirely this week,” said Jim McKinney, ArcGIS program manager and master of ceremonies for the Plenary Session of the 2012 Esri Developer Summit (DevSummit). McKinney noted that members of 30 Esri software development teams migrated to Palm Springs, California, for the event, held March 26–29, to spend one-on-one time with developers, “building community and making good things happen.”The 2012 DevSummit, “the conference for year, but the event itself grew. In response where Esri staff members told them aboutdevelopers, by developers,” had a record to developers’ requests, a day was added, an implementation of Esri software, a coolturnout: 1,700 developers, partners, and GIS the number of technical sessions was more sample, or an Esri service. A squeakingprofessionals from all over the world gath- than doubled, the number of preconference rubber chicken signaled the end of each five-ered at the Palm Springs Convention Center sessions was quadrupled, and the show- minute session, and attendees moved on toto meet with more than 300 Esri develop- case and demo theaters were significantly the next table.ment staff members. As in previous years, expanded. To make sure developers couldthe event’s goals were to align development see popular presentations, attendees could Biggest Server Release Sinceefforts, share best practices, and develop Tweet requests to repeat sessions that were ArcGIS 9.2working relationships. packed. Why do developers take a week out of their Of the developers assembled, 30 percent A new conference event, Speed Geeking, lives to come to DevSummit? Certainlycame from outside the United States. The set a playful and high-energy tone for the building relationships with peers and Esrimajority (60 percent) work for businesses. summit as well as helped attendees decide staff and learning how to become moreThey are coding in .NET, Python, and Java which topics among the conference’s 72 ses- productive are common reasons, but theand working on web, mobile, and desktop sions would prove most useful to them. The overriding motivation for most developersapplications. event used a speed-dating format. Groups is finding out what Esri is doing now and Not only were there more attendees this of 8 to 10 attendees gathered around tables where its development strategy is going.38 au Summer 2012
  2. 2. Developer’s Corner Esri president Jack Dangermond joinedmaster of ceremonies Jim McKinney, ArcGISprogram manager, to open the PlenarySession.  Speed Geeking, a speed-dating-like event, gave attendees a taste of the agenda topics being presented. A squeaking rubber chicken signaled the end of each five- minute presentation by an Esri staff member. ArcGIS 10.1, currently in prerelease, was handles sites, services, and security, server wizard-based systems that perform severalthe focus for much of the plenary and techni- administration can also be scripted using hundred analyses on a service to flag anycal sessions. ArcGIS for Server is the center- any scripting language that understands issues before it is published for use in webpiece of this release. On both Windows and HTTP. maps and on devices.Linux, performance has been improved, and Providing actionable information to endevery service runs faster. Integration with Server users by bringing GIScience into mapping ArcGIS for Server has a completely new Although there are improvements through- was a major goal of this release. Many of thearchitecture that is simpler to install, con- out ArcGIS for Desktop, because changes issues that previously hindered publicationfigure, and manage. Now a native 64-bit ap- to ArcGIS for Server are so central to this of geoprocessing services are now handledplication, it is a pure web services GIS server, release, improvements to deployment from behind the scenes. At 10.1, it is much simplerand once installed, everything is done desktop to server were a focus of develop- to create and publish geoprocessing servicesthrough HTTP calls. However, the REST ment efforts. so that spatial analysis can be incorporatedspecification for services has not changed, A demonstration showed how easily a into web applications written using the existing map service can be published from theAPIs are forward compatible to the new desktop to ArcGIS for Server running in the GIS as a Serviceserver. Although the completely rewritten Amazon cloud. Data stored anywhere can ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based systemArcGIS Server Manager comprehensively be pushed up to the server and shared using that provides GIS as a service, is Summer 2012 au 39
  3. 3. Being More Productiveavailable at for use on smart- In the area of developer tools, both existing core and are accessed via APIs and softwarephones, tablets, and desktops. Since its and new with ArcGIS 10.1, Esri’s approach development kits (SDKs) Esri developed forlaunch in July 2009, more than 200,000 maps focuses on improving developer productiv- these platforms for use by .NET, Java, andand applications have been created. On an ity. “You don’t have to write tons of code to Objective-C developers. Th is enabling tech-average workday, the site receives five mil- make a great app” is the mantra. nology is fully integrated with ArcGIS on thelion hits (exclusive of requests for basemaps). Preconference seminars and technical web and desktop and encourages developers Local data can be used as tiles or feature presentations during the conference empha- to think in terms of developing for devicesservices and used with the extensive foun- sized how to get more done using the web rather than for mobile or desktop.dation data (basemaps) and services (such APIs, templates, and viewers that Esri has The new architecture for desktop develop-as geocoding) at These resourc- created for JavaScript, Flex, and Silverlight. ers runs on Windows and Linux and is avail-es are constantly enhanced. Recently, Esri “We have taken a lot of the hard work out of able for 32-bit and 64-bit execution. It uses anadded 15 million square kilometers of new developing web applications, so all you have asynchronous programming model so appli-imagery to the service. ArcGIS Online is also to do is abide by some coding rules,” said cations can remain responsive while opera-the source for APIs for web (JavaScript, Flex, Andy Gup, technology lead at Esri. tions are executed in the background. ArcGISand Silverlight) and devices (tablets, phones, The announcement of a printing service Runtime SDK for Java will also be available.and desktop) as well as configurable viewers that generates high-quality PDF maps was Members of the mobile development teamsand application templates. one of the high points for many web develop- demonstrated applications built with the Using ArcGIS Online, developers can ers. Brandon B. Brown (@brandonbbrown), SDKs for Android and iOS devices that inte-build custom applications that use hosted self-described “practitioner of GIS and grate organizational data through a new class,services that don’t require installing hard- lover of all things geographic,” Tweeted agportal. These applications incorporate ser-ware or software. They can also integrate “Bombtastic sweetness of new printing op- vices and use different components of indi-content from ArcGIS for Server and register tions in the web APIs #devsummit well done vidual devices, such as GPS, or other applica-services, enabling centralized search and sirs, well done.” tions in the device’s ecosystem, such as maildiscovery, and easily administer users, con- or address book applications. These SDKstent, and security. Going Native also let developers build applications that let ArcGIS Online will be available in organi- To facilitate native application develop- users stay productive offline while maintain-zational and enterprise plans. Alternatively, ment, Esri created a runtime core written ing smooth and responsive performance.ArcGIS Online is available as a software in C++ that delivers high performance but Core runtime developments slated for off-product, Portal for ArcGIS. Officially re- is compact. GIS runtimes for iOS, Android, cycle release include geocoding and networkleased at DevSummit, Portal for ArcGIS is Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, Windows, routing on mobile devices disconnected fromused on premises with ArcGIS for Server. and Linux have been developed using this the network and 3D visualization and spatial  Competitors at the Dodgeball Game, a DevSummit tradition, who vied for free tickets to next year’s event, were cheered on by a lively crowd.40 au Summer 2012
  4. 4. Developer’s Corner But security issues have not gone away. There are bad guys out there, they are out to get you, and developers should account for them in the system design. The real chal- lenge with security is adopting a new style of thinking in a cloud era. “When a server is just one line in a shell script,” its physical loca- tion is not what determines its security, said Riley. Security models should now be based on substantive service-level agreements, au- ditable security standards, and procedures that encrypt and sign everything. Summit keynote speaker Steve Riley challenged developers’ assumptions about To survive and thrive, developers need to the nature of their work as he leaped from make sure they remain relevant. The cloud the stage and roamed among the audience. is the way to make Esri data more available to users, and it will become essential to the way services are delivered. Developers need to embrace it. The 2012 DevSummit had a record turnout, with 1,700 developers, partners, and GIS Fun and Games professionals from all over the world. The conference wasn’t all sessions and presentations. There was plenty of time for socializing in a relaxed atmosphere. An analysis across all platforms. Configurable nature of their work as he leaped from the informal event held poolside at the hotel applications that use widgets to deliver func- stage and roamed among the audience. He on the second evening, Meet the Teams, in- tionality are being created by Esri to help end warned that the cloud has changed every- troduced Esri software teams to conference users be more productive. Using the SDKs, thing in their world and they must adapt or attendees. Wednesday night featured lots of developers can create specific widgets for die. Riley has spent 23 years in IT, special- food and the Dodgeball Game, a DevSummit their end users. New supported platforms in- izing in information security. He worked for tradition. Vying for free tickets to next year’s clude Windows 8 with the Metro Style touch Amazon Web Services and Microsoft before summit, teams—with names like Tame experience and ARM processor support. In joining Riverbed, where he is the chief tech- the Python and the Ballbarians—faced off response to developer requests, Esri will also nology officer. before a lively crowd. have an ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Mac and a Riley’s definition of the cloud was simple: Cocoa API for Mac Developers. “If you are still paying for it when it isn’t Bidirectional Communication ArcGIS Runtime SDKs and an optional switched on, it isn’t a cloud.” Scalability is Developers had many opportunities ArcGIS Online plan will be included in the the key to understanding this new land- throughout the week not only to learn how existing Esri Developer Network (EDN) scape. Servers are now disposable horse- accessible and powerful the technology is subscription. A new type of subscription, power. “If you need more performance, you but also how their feedback can shape the the EDN Enterprise subscription, will con- throw more servers at it. You could never do applications that are constantly being de- tain everything a developer needs to build that before.” In the cloud, troubleshooting ployed via the web. “We constantly need enterprise-level applications. changes from hours and days spent diagnos- input from you,” said McKinney. “We can ing the problem to a few minutes killing off a make course corrections very quickly in our“Everything You Think You Know problem service and spinning up another. APIs and our SDKs, so talk to us.” Is Wrong” Change is constant, and failure is inevi- Esri actively seeks feedback, not just For the keynote speech, the focus shifted table, so developers need to assume failure at the summit, but throughout the year. from Esri software development to IT trends. and build backward to account for it. New Developers need tools and support to be Summit keynote speaker Steve Riley chal- issues have joined familiar ones. Moving productive and successful. DevSummit lenged developers’ assumptions about the data could become a bigger issue than se- provides a place and time to reconnect and curity. Th is observation struck a chord with reinforce that relationship. “We get our sat- an audience that knows that GIS is all about isfaction through your success. Really. It’s managing large datasets. kind of a weird statement, but we get really jazzed when we see you guys building great stuff,” said McKinney. Summer 2012 au 41