Creating JavaScript applications

If you want to embed lightweight mapping functionality into a Web application, or if you're just getting started with ArcGIS Server development, consider using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. All you need is an ArcGIS Server available whose maps and tools you can use in your application. ESRI provides some sample servers for this purpose. To get started, see the ArcGIS API for JavaScript home page.

The JavaScript API is powered by a back-end REST API that is able to retrieve information statelessly from the server. When you run the application, the code runs in the browser instead of having to run on the server. This provides a quick and clean client experience. The JavaScript API is built on top of the Dojo JavaScript toolkit, so you don't have to worry about accommodating browser idiosyncracies in your code; the framework handles it for you.

You can use the JavaScript API even if you have little or no coding experience. Copy and paste the example code into your HTML pages to add mapping functionality.

Additionally, you can use the JavaScript API to overlay your data and maps on top of basemap services provided by ArcGIS Online.

When writing applications with the JavaScript API, you'll need to provide the URLs to maps and other resources on your server. You can use the ArcGIS Services Directory to find these Web addresses. For examples, see the Services Directory Help page at http://<server name>/<instance name>/SDK/REST/servicesdirectory.html.

ArcGIS Server also includes extensions for well-known online mapping APIs for JavaScript: