With Esri’s App Builders suite, you can create web and mobile apps that engage external audiences, answer questions, and help stakeholders make informed decisions. Exercise creative freedom in building apps that will help you share your GIS data and maps without writing a single line of code.
In the Choosing the Right App Builder session at 2022 Esri User Conference, you asked great questions about our App Builders. Here you can find answers to those frequently asked questions and topics.
Use the links below to jump to specific questions.
General Questions on the App Builders
Q: Does Esri have a published questionnaire or an established set of considerations on the Esri website to help pick the right app?
A: Right now, there is no matrix or published questionnaire to help users choose the right app builder.
If you are interested in finding the right template to use when building a focused web app using ArcGIS Instant Apps, you can now answer a series of questions under “Suggestions” on the ArcGIS Instant Apps home page and it will be provide the suggested template for your purpose.
Q: Are all the app builders available in ArcGIS Enterprise or just limited to ArcGIS Online?
A: All the products in Esri’s App Builders suite (ArcGIS Instant Apps, ArcGIS Dashboards, ArcGIS StoryMaps, ArcGIS AppStudio, and ArcGIS Experience Builder) are included in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise.
Q: When sharing an app publicly, do you also have to share the corresponding web map and layers publicly?
A: Yes. You need to share the app and all of the supporting items (webmap, layers, etc.) in order for your users to view all of the content. To learn more about sharing your apps, read this documentation article.
Q: If you don’t have the time or bandwidth to create multiple different apps for different audience types, which app would you recommend to engage all your target audience groups?
A: We would recommend trying ArcGIS Experience Builder. ArcGIS Experience Builder allows you to marry various data and content from a variety of different sources and build different custom views for each audience type. ArcGIS Experience Builder also allows you to embed or build dashboards and embed ArcGIS StoryMaps stories.
Which applications allow for CSS access for personalized formatting?
ArcGIS Instant Apps supports adding your custom CSS.
ArcGIS Dashboards does not support CSS access, rather it provides extensive theming options for all visualizations.
To create custom widgets or templates with CSS in ArcGIS Experience Builder, you must use the ArcGIS Experience Builder developer edition.
The ArcGIS StoryMaps team may enable more customization options in the future, but ArcGIS StoryMaps does not support custom HTML or CSS at this time. If you have a specific request for customization or the types of HTML or CSS you want to add, contact the team.
Q: Can web apps be embedded in Power BI?
A: You can insert a Power App into the report page and have it link to apps you’ve created. Once you save the report, you can then publish it in a Power BI workspace or embed/publish it in a private or public-facing website. Please make sure that you set the appropriate access permissions.
Q: What is the best way to embed a web app or web map within a SharePoint site?
A: Refer to this documentation to embed an app in a website.
For StoryMaps, embedding stories is simple. Here is a blog outlining where to find the embed code. Although we do not have specific recommendations for SharePoint, you can certainly work with your admin or contact Microsoft directly to learn more about how to embed on SharePoint.
Q: Is there a way to tell which apps can be used with the new symbols in the new Map Viewer?
A: Please ensure that the app is built using one of the latest app builders (ArcGIS Experience Builder, ArcGIS Instant Apps, ArcGIS StoryMaps, ArcGIS Dashboards, and ArcGIS AppStudio). Legacy products, such as ArcGIS Configurable Apps, ArcGIS Web AppBuilder, StoryMaps Classic, and Dashboards Classic, do not support all of the new visualizations in Map Viewer.
Q: Is the GeoForm app coming back?
A: The Instant Apps product is considering building an app to replace the functionality of Geoform and more editing workflows. Survey123 also offers form based data collection that was provided by Geoform.
We are planning to build a replacement template for Geoform in ArcGIS Instant Apps.
To better understand your need for Geoform workflows, please share your use case in the ArcGIS Ideas site.
Q: Are there resources on the workflow of how the threat and incident surveys are configured to interact with one another and pre-populate the survey forms? Do the surveys references the same feature layer?
Yes. The threats were passed to the form using a combination of Experience Builder actions and triggers, an embed widget, and a custom URL scheme in Survey123’s web form. The documentation on Experience Builder actions and triggers is a great place to start. This Esri Community post from Ismael Chivite is also a great resource to review when setting up the Survey123 and Experience Builder connection using an Embed widget.
Q: Can Survey123 be integrated with all the app builders or just ArcGIS Experience Builder?
A: ArcGIS Survey123 can be integrated and embedded in other app builders. It is a built-in widget with Experience builder.
You can in ArcGIS Dashboards by setting up dashboards to read the Survey123 feature layer. To showcase the images captured using Survey123, we recommend using Attachment Viewer in ArcGIS Instant Apps.
For ArcGIS StoryMaps, Many authors create crowdsourced stories to get input from their readers using a ArcGIS Survey123 form + ArcGIS StoryMaps. You can learn how easy this it to do in this story. Others use ArcGIS Survey123 forms as self-check quizzes within stories. You can learn more in this blog.
Q: Which app builder is best to use to utilize related tables (i.e., one geometry, with several tables related to it via a relationship class)?
A: It is currently planned that related record support in the 4.x JSAPI will be implemented in the November 2022 release so it will come into the app builders soon.
Q: Can apps built using these app builders be searched through search engines like Google?
A: Yes. If the app is shared publicly it is submitted to Google for indexing. If the app isn’t shared publicly, you will not be able to find it on Google. If you just built the app, it may take a day or two before you can find it on Google. Make sure you fill out your item details information for better search results.
Q: Are there any apps that have a template that will display records by date fields on a calendar format (e.g., display assigned field crews during a week)?
A: Yes, check out the Countdown and Slider templates in ArcGIS Instant Apps.
Q: Is there capability to embed an Esri app securely into another protected site (outside Esri environment), keeping the Esri app private with no need for the user of the main site to sign in?
A: No. Secure apps require ArcGIS Online credentials in order to access the content. You can minimize the login requirements for the end users by implementing single sign on.
ArcGIS Instant Apps
Q: Can instant apps be created to be modified to include interactive filters so users can limit the data they see?
A: This capability is already available in the Interactive Legend, Nearby, Zone Lookup, and Sidebar templates in ArcGIS Instant Apps, but it is on the roadmap to be enabled in the other templates.
Q: Will Esri be creating more ArcGIS Instant Apps templates?
A: Yes. New templates are on the roadmap for ArcGIS Instant Apps. If your organization has repeatedly created custom web apps based on a simple workflow or purpose, share your use case with us. Your idea may be a good candidate for the next ArcGIS Instant Apps template.
Q: Can you create your own ArcGIS Instant Apps template like you can in ArcGIS Experience Builder?
A: No. ArcGIS Instant Apps provide a roster of focused, pre-designed templates that cover common workflows but does not have the ability to migrate to an experience.
Q: Can you migrate data from an instant app into a more complex app as the project evolves?
A: No. Since the templates in ArcGIS Instant Apps are pre-designed and are suitable for focused workflows, there are limitations on supporting additional workflows later on.
Q: Does ArcGIS Instant Apps support downloading the source code and hosting the instant app in user’s own data server?
A: No. Instant Apps must be created in a hosted environment like ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise.
Q: Is there a template in ArcGIS Instant Apps that allow for exporting CSV files?
A: Nearby and Zone Lookup both support exporting CSV files. In the November 2022 release, Sidebar, Media Map, and 3D Viewer will start supporting it.
Q: How do you recommend migrating my existing StoryMaps Series configurable apps that are in extended support?
A: We recommend using Portfolio in ArcGIS Instant Apps. Check out three available layouts: Tabbed, Accordion, and Carousel. Read this blog to learn more.
Q: Will ArcGIS Dashboards counters or gauges be updated without refreshing the web page?
A: A dashboard will update based on the Feature Layer’s refresh interval, without reloading the web page. See recommendations for configuring map layers in web maps used in dashboards.
Q: Is there another way to convert a dashboard to another app?
A: No, however you can embed dashboards in other apps.
Q: Is there anything in the works to allow one to create a dashboard in English and then also have a version automatically available in Spanish without having to create and maintain a second application?
A: ArcGIS Dashboards supports all the languages ArcGIS Online supports. If you want to enter strings by the publisher/author as part of configuring a Dashboard, then they have to create and maintain separate dashboards.
Q: If target audience was both regional/state public as well as legislative, could one StoryMap be successful in appealing to both?
A: Rule #1 to any communication is to know your audience. In this case, it really depends on the content you are writing as these are two different audiences.
A story can be published publicly and read by anyone. Therefore, if your topic is broad and more evergreen, it could certainly be read by either audience. If you’re looking for different calls to action – for instance one is meant to attract more budget for a program/campaign, and one is meant to lobby for a cause – a best practice would be to create two stories and tailor your message to each audience. You can easily create one story, duplicate it and then edit the copy in the second story to save time.
Q: Can you use ArcGIS StoryMaps to show map location data and photos from a Survey123 survey as the Survey123 survey data is submitted?
A: Yes, you can do this, but it is a bit risky. A best practice would be to review the submissions before they are posted to avoid any issues related to inappropriate content, for example. You can learn more about crowdsourcing in this story.
Q: Does ArcGIS StoryMaps support changing basemap?
A: Yes, you can choose from a variety of basemaps in the gallery, choose a basemap from your organization or search additional basemaps in the Living Atlas (e.g., government agencies might find the enhanced contrast basemaps useful).! This blog details how to leverage basemaps better in ArcGIS StoryMaps.
Q: If ArcGIS AppStudio works offline, how does the app get updated?
A: AppStudio utilizes ArcGIS Runtime for Qt API that comes with tools for accessing and editing maps or features offline then syncing once connected again.
Q: Can you configure ArcGIS AppStudio to show an ArcGIS Dashboard for a mobile app?
A: Currently, there aren’t any templates or samples available to work with ArcGIS dashboards out of the box. However, it is possible to create a dashboard app using custom code and AppStudio.
Q: Using ArcGIS AppStudio, can you build an app that offers different permissions based on the users’ account permissions?
A: AppStudio apps can offer different functionalities based on the privileges assigned to the authenticated user.
ArcGIS Experience Builder and ArcGIS Web AppBuilder
Q: What are the current plans for ArcGIS Web AppBuilder and Experience Builder?
Moving forward, development efforts will be focused on bringing functional parity from Web AppBuilder to Experience Builder. While Web AppBuilder will continue to be available as an option for building new web apps, we recommend that you first evaluate whether Experience Builder will meet your application requirements and strategy. All your Web AppBuilder apps that you have built will continue to work and will be supported by Esri.
Q: How do I go about migrating my Web AppBuilder apps to Experience Builder apps?
A: Watch this video to learn how to improve your Web AppBuilder app with the most modern technology Experience Builder offers while keeping a consistent user interface and workflow to minimize the impact on your existing audience.
Q: Does ArcGIS Experience Builder have widget parity with ArcGIS Web AppBuilder?
A: Starting with the core and popular widgets, ArcGIS Experience Builder is planned to reach most of the functional parity of Web AppBuilder through incremental releases. Attached please find the functionality matrix for Web AppBuilder and Experience Builder. This documentation will be updated at each release.
Q: What are the limitations of using ArcGIS Web AppBuilder compared to ArcGIS Experience Builder?
A: Flexible layouts, a mobile-optimized design, integrated 2D and 3D, and action triggers are four key features in Experience Builder that are not available in Web AppBuilder.
Q: Does the ArcGIS Online version of ArcGIS Experience Builder allow for use of custom fonts?
A: The Online version does not allow for custom fonts. It currently includes nine fonts, which you can find in the Theme tab and in the settings of applicable widgets like the Text widget.
Q: Is the print widget working for ArcGIS Experience Builder now?
A: The June 2022 release of Experience Builder included the new print widget. You can preview your map’s printed extend before you print.
Q: Can I use a Web AppBuilder app as a base for an ArcGIS Experience Builder app?
A: While ArcGIS Experience Builder maintains a very similar programming pattern for building custom widgets, all widgets will need to be rewritten to work within the new framework.
Q: Will ArcGIS Web AppBuilder eventually incorporate the new symbols from the new Map Viewer? Will Web AppBuilder eventually support the new Map Viewer?
Q: Does ArcGIS Experience Builder or ArcGIS Web AppBuilder support continuous location tracking (i.e., auto panning the map so the user location is always centered)?
A: ArcGIS Web AppBuilder supports continuous location tracking. See My Location widget for more information. Currently this capability is not supported in ArcGIS Experience Builder.
Q: Can I use a custom basemap gallery in ArcGIS Experience Builder without changing the organizational setting?
A: No, but there are plans to add a Basemap Gallery widget in the future.
Q: Can you integrate Web AppBuilder with non-Esri widgets like Google Streetview?
A: No. However, there is a Street Smart widget from Esri partner on Esri Marketplace. You can purchase and use it in Web AppBuilder developer edition or ArcGIS Enterprise.
Q: Does ArcGIS Experience Builder support URL parameters similar to Dashboards?
A: Currently, ArcGIS Experience Builder some URL parameters. More will be added through incremental releases.
Q: Are Dashboards customized with Arcade able to be used with ArcGIS Experience Builder?
A: ArcGIS Dashboards apps with Arcade can be embedded in ArcGIS Experience Builder.
Q: What is the best way to view many-to-many relationship between layers in ArcGIS Experience Builder or ArcGIS Dashboards?
A: Support for related tables are on the roadmap for both products.
Your questions, ideas, and comments are encouraged in the Esri Community site.