ESRI 2008 UC: ArcGIS Server – The Developers Perspective

All I can say is WOW!  I should have gone to this one instead of the Web Application Interface Design: The Design Process.  This is what I was looking for.

Unfortunately I missed the first 20 minutes but they showed some incredible access to GIS data and tools using REST and SOAP.

lf you are web app developer and deal with a lot of data definitely check out REST.  It’s a really neat strategy for manipulating data.  With .Net 3.5 Microsoft is building it into their data access model.  From my buddy James’ presentation on it it’s still a little immature, but it’s getting there.

Anyway, when you publish a map or other resource to ArcGIS Server it is instantly available via REST and SOAP.

So, just think.  If you need to get access to layer files or perform some sort of processing you can just use a standard url to grab it.

That’s about all I can say on REST because I only saw a bit of the last demo.  Then they switched over to SOAP.

ESRI has a longer investment in SOAP so, while it’s a slightly older technology, it’s a little more mature in its offerings.  ArcGIS Server exposes a few more abilities in their SOAP architecture, and with the built-in web resource features in Visual Studio it’s very easy to add to a web app and use.

I haven’t jumped into SOAP really so I can’t comment that much on it.  I’m jumping on the bandwagon only now and I’ve already dived into the JSON and REST side of things.  I’ll probably delve into SOAP if I can’t get ArcGIS Server’s JavaScript API to do what I want.

I asked the presenters about  security.  They said if it’s an Intranet based app then we can take full advantage of Active Directory.  He seemed to indicate it was built in to the Server and not really a function of the REST or SOAP interface at all.  Hopefully I’ll find out more about this in my ArcGIS Server sessions.

Anyway, as far as public access REST and SOAP can take advantage of token based accessibility.  It sounds like I should be able to roll that in with Microsoft’s ASP.Net MembershipSecurity framwork.

I don’t really relish opening ArcGIS Server directly to the public.  One of the demos used an ImageHandler.ashx handler that retrieved the image from the Image Server and streamed the result to the user.  This way the web app acted as a middle tier between the user and the server, thus allowing you to keep the server internal and manage access to the outside world.

Can’t wait to play with it!

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Matt Penner

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