Developing with ArcGIS Server: An overview
As you learn and use ArcGIS Server, you'll probably reach the point where you want to build or customize an application outside Manager. ArcGIS Server offers several programming frameworks, or APIs, that you can use to create applications and services. The API that you choose depends on your experience and skill level, as well as the requirements of the application.
This section of the help describes the different ways you can develop with ArcGIS Server. It lists the various APIs you can work with and directs you to their respective sections in the Developer Help.
Web mapping APIs
Choosing an API
In contrast, some developers like the deep functionality and familiar coding patterns of the .NET and Java ADFs, especially developers who have already worked with a lot of .NET, Java, or ArcObjects in the past.
Working with the GIS server directly
An alternative to working with ArcObjects is to use the SOAP API. This is an appropriate choice when working with services that have Web access enabled (all ArcGIS Server services have Web access enabled by default). The SOAP API exposes much of the functionality of ArcObjects. You can work with the SOAP API through the Web ADF or through a non-ESRI solution such as the .NET SOAP Toolkit.
The REST API is another way to develop against services that have Web access enabled. All ArcGIS Server instances expose a Services Directory, which allows you to browse the services and functions on your server using representational state transfer (REST) technology. You can use REST, with the Services Directory as a guide, to draw maps, perform queries, execute geoprocessing tasks, find addresses, and perform many other common operations on GIS services.
Extending the GIS server
You can add to the functionality of the core services (map, geocode, geoprocessing, and so on) by building server object extensions, or custom, coarse-grained ArcObjects classes. These are potentially powerful but require extensive use of ArcObjects. Examples of server object extensions that you might already be familiar with include the Network Analyst capability and the WMS capability available with ArcGIS Server map services.
The Developer Help contains information about how to build a server object extension in the topic Server object extensions.
Building mobile applications
ArcGIS Mobile and ArcGIS for iPhone are options for building mobile applications that use ArcGIS Server. You can start with a premade application or develop your own. Learn more by visiting the Mobile GIS page on the ArcGIS Resource Center.
Where to get help
The ArcGIS Server Developer Help contains conceptual information, sample applications, and step-by-step scenarios. The library reference contains more detailed help for each class and member, as well as object model diagrams. Updated versions of the latest help can be found on the ESRI Developer Network (EDN) Web site.
ArcGIS Server Developer Help
When you install the Web ADF, Developer Help is automatically installed. You can launch Developer Help from the desktop, from command line on Linux/Solaris or within your supported developer IDE.
To launch Developer Help from the desktop:
- Navigate to Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > Developer Help > Server Help for Java.
- Click Developing Applications.
To open Developer Help from the command line on Linux/Solaris:
On Linux/Solaris, open the Java Developer Help by, as the installation owner, running the
% <ArcGIS Server Installation directory>/arcgis/scripts/startJavaHelp.
To open Developer Help within Eclipse:
- From the Help menu, click Help Contents.
- When the Help table of contents appears, click ArcGIS Server.
- Click Developing Applications.
Library reference (component help)
The library reference includes brief descriptions for each class and member in the Web ADF. Some classes and members have extra remarks and code examples. Additionally, if a package has an object model diagram, you can find it in the library reference.
You can get to the library reference by following the steps above to open Developer Help. Once you click ArcGIS Server, you will see the Reference node in the table of contents.
ArcGIS Server Resource Center
The ArcGIS Server page on the ArcGIS Resource Center contains the most up-to-date versions of the Developer Help and library reference.
ArcGIS Server Blog
The ArcGIS Server team maintains a blog where you can find tips and samples beyond what's included in this help system. Topics include Web ADF development, performance and caching, service packs, and upcoming conferences and seminars.
Code galleries and ArcScripts
The ArcGIS Server code galleries and ArcScripts are online resources for you to learn from other developers' code and share your own projects.
The code galleries are available through the ArcGIS Server Resource Center. Below are quick links to the code galleries for each Web ADF and Web API:
ArcScripts is a similar site where developers can exchange tools, samples, and utilities related to ESRI products.
Becoming familiar with the code galleries and ArcScripts can save you much time and effort if someone has already created the tool that you need. And if you've developed something useful, you can contribute it for others to download.