Honeymoon with 9.3

Hi Folks,

After long days of wait, finally day has come to work with ArcGIS 9.3. Like many, am also interested to know about features and enhancements in this latest edition. In my earlier post, I have discussed about ArcGIS Server 9.3. I have compiled the information from various sources. I got a chance to look at the documentation and resources (beta). Thanks to my friends who helped me to equip myself before I start; that gave me a head start.

As everyone, I have started with installation with brand new DVD from ESRI. I still remember my ArcView 3.0 CD’s, I had same excitment even now. I have encountered many installation woes  with 9.2, especially .NET ADF, I was worrying too.  But this time am lucky, my technical manager installed them perfectly.  Installation is a tough job and I add them as a task in my project plan. This is a very important step, as many of them find difficult in installation especially Server. If you look at ESRI forum, “Unable to Login in 9.2 Manager” top thread. I still wonder on seeing many work around suggested by the folks. I should appreciate ESRI this time for giving clear picture of installation steps. Utility to find existing older versions is of great help if you are new. The PDF document in installation CD helped lot for complete understanding.  I advice that one should strictly go through the documents and technical article before proceed. Otherwise, you may have to join ESRI party on thier forums 🙂

It would not be fair if  I did not talk about licensing.  If you have subscribed EDN then just activate them and get the 9.3 ECP files for all the products. For Desktop, I guess 9.2 license itself will work for 9.3. Pl correct me if am wrong. Soon, I will write a seperate post on ESRI licensing and products.  Keep watching!.

Let us dive into the action. I started with default “ESRI Web Mapping Application” . Once the project loaded in VS 2005; I noticed Ajax extension and rich controls. Just glanced on “Default.aspx” it preloaded with two map resource managers, Zoom Tool, and other basic navigation controls. Overview control moved to toolbar. Toolbar aligned left. Security features of 9.3 is adds lot of value. Seperate ESRI presentation on security models is to be referred for further understanding.  Updated Identify Control, Zoom previous and back tools, progress loading box to indicate server action comes with default template are few updates.  Login page will be helpful for developing enterprise application.

Server manager look and feel is also changed. Left panel has links to Manage a service, publish new service etc. Rich look and feel is nice for a developer. Publishing service is rather lot easier. Permission of using service with different user groups are great features. Almost rest of the functionality remains same. UI is has different look and provides warmth and comfort. After all we the developers see them whole day.

Once I add the services and changed resource item name “Layers” as opposed to “MapResourceItem0” and ran the application. Browser pops up with new look. Tools are aligned and Java scripts hassles are reduced.  I zoomed in and out and clicked Identify , it is brilliant. Then I clicked “Full Extent” oops application throws ugly error .  I am surprised  whether I did any mistake, everything looks OK, finally as usual – I searched in forum . It is confirmed that it is a ESRI bug [NIM035617]. This will be fixed SP1. Otherwise, application works fine.

Few other points:

  1. Resource manager equipped layer definition that layers, alias, color settings and styles can be set in no time. We can see fields, types and properties, without need of opening mxd. This saves lot of time.
  2. Map Identify class enhanced. Exclusions of unnecessary fields can be set easily.
  3. Adding identify results to results panel if necessary.
  4. Improved TOC and Over view controls using Ajax reduces much of callbacks
  5. Results Viewer: bi-directional highlight. The task can have different results behavior (fields, map tips etc).
  6. Map tips for all type of layers
  7. Out-of-box printing tool and export using Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF).

and many more to be explored.

Recently James fee wrote an post about over-engineered application; some times I tool feel the same.  I started working with Avenue scripts–>MapObjects ->ArcObjects–>REST .  Due to technology advancements, products were improved with rich functionality and options, but I do not know how many of them uses them all.  At least how many of them know about the functionalities and features available?.  For example grid results controls attracted many users ; I expect this should be added by ESRI. This simple controls helps many. Most of GIS application requirements are fairly simple and straight forward. Nowadays Open source softwares provides easy solution on these when compared with propriety product. Anyway, 9.3 product is awesome on the whole at this moment, as being in honeymoon period.

I keep this post open to all ; professionals who works with 9.3 can share their experience and learnings. You can expect series of post on 9.3 experiences .

Welcome to ESRI ArcGIS 9.3 !

PS: As objective of my blog is share the basic fundamentals and help fellow buddy developers.  Hence many of the articles address the basic issue than much technical and complicated, for that, there were many sources and ESRI blogs.

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