Vishful thinking…

Missing features in the ESRI JS API v1.1

Posted in Uncategorized by viswaug on September 7, 2008

As I am in the process of building my current project using the ESRI JS API v1.1, I am beginning to come across some of the currently missing features in JS API and the REST API that in my opinion are required to build any enterprise GIS web mapping application. We are currently in the process of filling in those holes by building the missing functionality ourselves. So, if you are just considering the JS API for your projects, take the following into consideration.

1) The REST API currently does not provide the MIN and MAX extent information for scale dependent layer visibility. This will be needed to build a Table of Contents for the map where the layers that are not visible at the current scale can be greyed out.

2) The REST API currently also does not provide the swatch image information that will be required to build the Table of Contents. Both the MIN & MAX extent information and the swatch images are available in the SOAP API, so building a REST service to provide these missing information shouldn’t be difficult. The fact that the missing information in available in the SOAP API is important because it will allow the Table of Contents to be populated even when the user adds a map service from an external URL dynamically.

3) The JS API currently does not allow the user to zoom or pan when the user is in the process of drawing a point, polyline or polygon feature.

4) The JS API currently does not allow the user to add or edit vertices in an existing feature. This feature might be available in the future versions of the JS API.

5) The JS API currently does not document how to build custom layer types to add to the map like ArcIMS or WMS layers etc. But I think the documentation and samples to do this is coming in the future versions. Hopefully v1.2…

6) I am not quite sure about the client-side graphics layers performance yet. If you are using the client-side graphics layer for displaying the selection set, then having 10 polygons each with a 1000 vertices selected could significantly affect the drawing performance of the graphics layer. Leveraging the server-side graphics layer for this circumstance would be ideal, but this is currently not possible with the JS API. But with some work, leveraging the server-side graphics layer in the JS API is possible.