What is an API?
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is how an application can access a server. It provides a way to send and receive information and functionality between your application and a server in an easy-to-use format, usually JSON.
For example, say you built an application that got a all the tags for all of a users items in ArcGIS Online, and sorted those tags by most popular. You could sign into ArcGIS Online, view that users content, and manually make a list of all the items and their tags. However, this would be limited to what that user had shared with you, and your list would become out of date as soon as they edited any tags, added a new item, or deleted an old one.
Your data is important. As such, you want to make sure you can control who can access and edit that data. Therefore, authentication is an obvious first choice when looking at the benefits of working with this API. Using the OAuth and IdentityManager classes, information on the signed in user is included with almost every request automatically. This means there is almost no work needed in order to ensure that users can only access item and information theyre supposed. You can also control these settings using the 3.x version of the API. For more information, see our guide on OAuth and ArcGIS.
While the example above just shows a 2D and 3D map displayed at the same time, the ability to use both together can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you could allow a user to navigate to a certain location on a globe using a 3D map, and update a 2D map to display the same location, or vice versa. This can allow users of an application to see data that may have been recorded only in 2D or 3D format along with data that is stored in another format. You could also create a 3D mapping application, but allow users to toggle to a 2D application if their network, browser, or device cannot handle processing a 3D mapping application. This would mean you can make a more versatile application rather than having to repeat your work and maintain two different versions of the same application.
The Dictionary Renderer will allow you to symbolize the features on your map using multiple attributes together. You can define and combine symbols, giving you an impressive degree of flexibility and control when displaying your data. Check out a cool example of how the class can be used to display different features at California gas stations to get some ideas on how you might use it.
Version is out and includes a variety of performance improvements, control over feature drawing order, an enhanced snapping experience, WGS84 support in local scenes, and more. Here is an overview of some of the release highlights.
Version introduces performance improvements that will decrease the draw time of your layers. These improvements are focused on polygon features and maps with multiple layers.
Complex polygons draw faster. Draw time has significantly improved for layers with polygons with a large number of vertices. Behind the scenes, we added a new simplification algorithm to preprocess the geometries and optimize memory management. We also use web assembly for triangulating complex polygons. As you can see in the example below, this Arctic sea ice layer loads over 5x faster than the same layer in The improvement varies depending on the characteristics of the layer, but for most polygons with a large number of vertices, were seeing at least a x improvement.
Layers with many polygons benefit. Because of the optimizations mentioned above and the switch to web assembly, you should also see performance improvements for layers with a large number of polygon features. The following example shows a layer with over 73, polygons. On average, we are seeing a 20% improvement in draw time.
Maps with many layers are smoother and faster. Weve also added some optimizations for the way we handle maps with a large number of feature collections. These optimizations have resulted in an improved start time and an improved frame rate for smoother map panning.
Enterprise point feature layers load faster. At version , we improved the performance of point FeatureLayers hosted on ArcGIS Online. Version brings these changes to ArcGIS Enterprise point services.
Control the drawing order of features
You can configure the order features are drawn in the view by setting the property of a feature layer, CSV layer, GeoJSON layer, and OGC feature layer. This property allows you to sort features using any field or Arcade expression that returns a number or a date.
In layers with date fields that have many overlapping features, this property allows you to ensure the most recent features are drawn on top of older ones. It is also important in proportional symbol maps where smaller features are typically rendered on top of large ones to maximize the visibility of overlapping features in the view.
Check out the Configure feature sort order sample for more information. You can also read about how this capability is accessed in the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer in this recent blog.
Layer effects light up webmaps
Feature table supports more layer types
Introduced at , the FeatureTable widget allows you to interact with a tabular view of your data.
More feature layer types. The feature table has new support for the following layer types: CSV, GeoJSON and WFS (prior to , it was limited to feature layers and scene layers).
Imagery layers. Display raster catalog info associated with an imagery layer that has a mosaic dataset using the feature table widget. For example, you can examine resolution and cloud cover information associated with each image in the service.
User interface to configure snapping
The SnappingControls widget was added to provide a simple user interface to handle all snapping functionality. This widget provides the ability to control whether snapping is enabled, which layers to snap to, and other snapping settings. This UI is included in the Sketch widget by default, but can be programmatically integrated into your workflows using SketchViewModel, Editor, and EditorViewModel. In the future, we plan to add this as part of the default Editor widget experience, and also make it available for the Measurement widget.
Improved experience while drawing
The Sketch widget allows your end users to update or draw new features in a graphics layer. You can chose to override the default symbology of the new features by setting the Sketch widgets SketchViewModel , , or properties. Prior to this release, you wouldnt see the defined symbology until the drawing had completed. With this update, your symbology will be shown while in an active drawing state.
Additionally, a point symbol was added to the mouse cursor when drawing using the SketchViewModel or Sketch widget. You can override the default symbol by setting the SketchViewModels property.
An improved Editor widget is coming
The editing capabilities in the API have been evolving over many releases to provide an increasingly better and more powerful user experience. In version , we will introduce a significant update to the look and feel of the Editors UI and workflow. In addition to the UI/UX improvements, there will be support for batch editing workflows and options for snapping and selections.
We do not anticipate any loss of functionality or breaking changes, but the user experience will deviate slightly from the current implementation. Version will be the first release with these Editor updates. As it matures, additional capabilities will be implemented.
If you would like an early look at these changes, check out the /next repo where we will post early development updates.
The TimeSlider widget has been updated to support custom actions, which allows you to execute custom code such as such as setting the timeExtent to a specific date or copying the timeExtent to the browsers clipboard. The trigger-action event fires whenever an action in the menu is clicked.
Local scene support for WGS84
SceneView now allows you to fully leverage your WGS84 scene layers by combining them with Web Mercator layers in local scenes. In addition, local scenes now support geographic coordinate systems, giving you more flexibility in displaying data. Constrain the view by defining a clipping area for example.
SceneView now uses WebGL2, if available in the browser, as the underlying rendering engine. This change is the basis for future visualization capabilities and performance enhancements. WebGL1 context can still be explicitly requested for apps using externalRenderer.
Design lines and polygon CIM symbols
The CIM Symbol Builder helper app has been updated to allow you to create line and polygon symbols (in addition to point symbols). The new CIMSymbol in-progress updates as you combine different symbol layers and update symbol layer properties. When youre happy with the symbol that you have designed, you can get the symbol JSON and use it to create CIMSymbols in your own applications. Learn more about it in this blog article.
Now in Extended Support
Web Optimizer discontinued
This was only an overview of the API updates included in To get a full overview of the contents of this release, check out the release notes and take the new capabilities for a test drive using the new samples.
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Choose between version 3.x and 4.x
- Does the app need 3D visualization? If so, use 4.x.
- Are you working with very large feature layers? If so, use 4.x.
- Do you need a particular functionality from 3.x that's not yet available in 4.x such as analysis widgets? If so, use 3.x.
|Vector Tile Layer||Released||Released|
|Raster Tile Layer||Released||Released|
|Map Image Layer||Released||Released|
|Routing & Directions||Released||Released|
|Web Map||Released (partial support)||Released (partial support)|
|Web Scene||Not available||Released|
|Directly consume layers from your portal items||Not available||Released|
|Editing and Sketching||Released (partial support)||Released (partial support)|
|OGC layers: WMS, WMTS, KML, WFS||Released||Released|
|OGC API Features (OGCFeatureLayer)||Not available||Released|
|More GIS functionality widgets (Analysis)||Released||Coming soon|
See the detailed functionality matrix for a full comparison.
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