About | Contact | SUBMIT PRESS | Advertise | FAQ
Newsletters | Twitter |
HomeNewsArticlesExpertsDataJobsEDULBSEVENTSDIRBLOGSocialGeoJobs
 
advertisement

Top Geo News
Put Your News here! 
 


Russia and NATO Canada take to Twitter to redraw Russia / Ukraine Boundaries on a Map

Got news? TELL US...
submit press to GISuser

Social Connect




GISuser Sponsor


Recent Site Additions
GISuser Sponsor

GISuser Videos


See also SpatialVideos Youtube

GISuser Sponsor


Home arrow Experts arrow Webmapsolutions arrow A Look At The ArcGIS Flex Solution and How To Build A custom Flex ArcGIS Viewer     

HOT JOB
post a GIS job * THE NEW GEOJOBS.BIZ!!! *  NEW CAREERS at Esri
See THOUSANDS of jobs on GeoJobs.Biz
Submit News/tips to press @gisuser.com
A Look At The ArcGIS Flex Solution and How To Build A custom Flex ArcGIS Viewer PDF Print E-mail
Experts - Webmapsolutions
Written by Rory Biggadike   
25 April 2011

The Flex API for ArcGIS remains one of the best for developing Web based GIS applications. Read on in this interesting "how to" article to help get you up and running and developing custom web solutions with Esri's Flex API

 

The API provides the base for building highly customised applications.  ESRI have also made available the Flex 2.2 viewer which provides a quick and easy way to stand up a fully functioning Flex ArcGIS application. It comes with a number of pre-built widgets or tools. Many are provided by the user community.

But sometimes an ArcGIS custom Flex solution is what clients require. A solution which is lightweight and flexible. The ESRI 2.2 Flex viewer in these cases may not be the best solution. Here we provide discussion and code download for a custom Flex ArcGIS viewer.

A demo is available here. The code is available for download here


Flex ArcGIS Solution

The ESRI Flex 2.2 viewer is an excellent solution for clients who require a low cost out of the box Web GIS solution fast. But there are drawback. Developers find the organisation of the viewer somewhat challenging. Adding and extending components can be sometimes quite an effort. Styling the viewer is not easy. It is also usually quite obvious that an application is built on the viewer.

Flex ArcGIS Map Demo

Figure 1 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo

We decided to investigate building a new lightweight custom Flex ArcGIS viewer. Our goals were:

1. To use an Model View Controller (MVC) as the base pattern for the template. This helps organise and gives structure to the application. So programmers find it easier to work with and extend.

2. Decouple the components and thus allow for a modular design. Whereby new components or tools can be added and/or combined with those already existing.

3. Give clients maximum editing and styling flexibility. Thus controlling users access to tools (print, search, layers etc), which layers or endpoints to load, titles, logos and the styling of all components. We planned to allow all these to be changed by clients without the need to recompile the application.

Map Interaction

In a previous blog post, I discuss the principals behind the map interaction of the demo. The goal is to make only one tool available at any one time, and to not litter the screen with pop ups. Thus open pop ups are minimised when another is opened, functionality is temporarily suspended. The minimised pop ups are grouped together to the bottom right of the screen.

Flex ArcGIS Map Demo minimised pop ups

Figure 2 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo – Minimised Pop Ups

Basemaps and Layers

Basemaps and layers are listed, and can be altered, in the layers pop up. As Figure 3 below shows, satellite and map (streets) basemaps are available. The map layers are listed lower down.

Flex ArcGIS Map Demo Layers Pop Up

Figure 3 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo – Layers Pop Up

Tools

The header bar is easy to customise by clients. So the text in the header and subheader, logo and colour can be changed via a configuration file. It is also easy to change the header bar to fit specific client requirements.

Flex ArcGIS Map Demo Header

Figure 4 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo – Header

The available tools are listed in the centre of the header bar. Currently available are full extent, layers, print, help and parcel search. We have included the ESRI license file in the application. Both the print and parcel search tools are modified versions from those in the existing ESRI template.

Print

Not only does this tool print in portrait and landscape orientation, it generates a PDF and allows users to preview before printing.

Flex ArcGIS Map Print Tool

Figure 5 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo – Print Tool

Parcel Search

This tool allows users to search for parcels by owner name, address and pin. It also provides a graphical search option; allowing the selection of single or multiple parcels. Selecting a listed search result highlights this parcel. Mouse over the highlighted area and a pop up provides more parcel information.

Flex ArcGIS Map Parcel Search Tool

Figure 5 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo – Parcel Search Tool

Client Editing and Styling

We are using two files to style and configure the application. The first, shown in Figure 11 below, is a style sheet.

Flex ArcGIS Map Style

Figure 10 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo Style

The second, shown in Figure 12 below, is config.xml.

Flex ArcGIS Map Config

Figure 11 – Flex ArcGIS Map Demo Config

Both are easily edited by clients, and allow the application to be customised to clients satisfaction.

Summary

ESRI have provided an excellent Flex API for ArcGIS. Clients often require their ArcGIS Flex applications to be built quickly, and cheaply. They also want to be able to easily customise and extend the application. The ESRI Flex template, though providing some excellent tools, is sometimes hard to work with for developers, and not easy to customise. The template described above overcomes some of current weaknesses of the ESRI Flex template. It will appeal to clients who:

  1. Would like to quickly and cheaply stand up a Flex ArcGIS Web application
  2. Want to easily configure and style the application
  3. Intend to add custom tools to a solid Flex ArcGIS Web application base
  4. Are looking to upgrade from an existing ArcIMS base application
  5. Find their current Web GIS application performing slowly

We think this application provides a robust, extremely flexible base for Flex ArcGIS development. Contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for more more information.

Related Resources

See more at http://www.webmapsolutions.com 

Rory Biggadike is a Geospatial Developer with WebMapSolutions.com

Last Updated ( 25 April 2011 )
 
< Prev   Next >

 Did you enjoy this article/news and want to stay informed? 
Click to subscribe to the 2X A Week GISuser Today E-Newsletter


Submit Your GIS/Geo News/PR


Geo EDU Tip
To GISP or Not? What Does It Mean To You? 
HOT Devices
Video - Trimble Positions and the Geo Explorer 6000 XH
Social Media Tips
10 Map Services Your Business MUST Be Listed in
 
Featured Events
  • FOSS4G 2014 - Put on by OSGeo, FOSS4G is the international gathering of open source and geospatial tribes. Join us in Portland, Oregon, USA, Sept 8th-12th
  • Trimble Dimmensions - Trimble Dimensions User Conference is the premier event of the year for professionals wishing to stay on top of the most current information on a wide range of technologies. This educational, networking and hands-on training conference provides insight into how you can achieve greater success in your workplace. Nov 3-5, Las Vegas, NV.
  • InterGeo 2014 - INTERGEO is the world's leading conference trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management. With over half a million event website users and over 16,000 visitors from 92 countries at INTERGEO itself, it is one of the key platforms for industry dialogue around the world - Oct 7-9, 2014, Berlin

 List Your Event Here 

THE GISuser Newsletter

See Recent edition
newsletter

subscribe GISuser

We won't share your address!
Sponsor


Popular Stuff!


GISuser Site Sponsor


Partner Sites

lidar news
lbszone.com

amerisurv

symbianone

geojobs Geo jobs

geoLearn

A Spatial Media LLC property



Spatial Media, LLC ©2003 - 2013 All rights reserved / Privacy Statement