ArcGIS API for JavaScript

A Better Experience with the new ArcGIS API for JavaScript Website

The ArcGIS API for JavaScript got a major upgrade at version 4.11, but that’s not the end of the story. We also put energy into helping new developers get started quickly building apps with the API, and inspiring experienced developers to enhance their apps with powerful capabilities. This blog is a tour of the new design and available resources on the JavaScript website.

New and improved SDK at version 4.11

The first thing you will notice is the redesigned homepage. Not only does it offer a more visually appealing user experience, but it has also been restructured to allow developers to quickly find what they are looking for, and learn more about the API’s capabilities and available resources.

For each capability highlighted, you can find links to relevant samples, showcase apps, guide topics, or tutorials. For example, here is a topic about visualizing data in 2D and 3D:

Visualize your data in 2D and 3D

Guide

We improved the Guide page to better help both new and experienced developers find the information they need to be successful. In order to achieve this, we did a few things:

Improved SDK Guide

New developers that want to hit the ground running can begin with the new Quick Start page, which outlines how to build a Hello World app in three easy steps.

Quick Start for the API

The Tutorials section is brand new. These tutorials already exist on the ArcGIS Developer site, but they can now be accessed directly from within the JavaScript website as well.

The tutorials are different from the samples in that they are step-by-step instructional guides for building specific functionality using CodePen. They also contain explanations and links to relevant bits of information about other areas within the ArcGIS platform (e.g. ArcGIS Online, REST API, etc.). There are currently 22 tutorials to explore.

Tutorials Overview

The new Core Concepts section outlines important API fundamentals and is the perfect place to start for people new to the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, or new to the 4.x version of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

There are currently three Core Concepts:

It provides a conceptual overview of API fundamentals with useful code snippets and links to relevant information within the site where you can learn more about a particular topic. Even if you’re already developing with the latest version of the API, this section of the Guide is worth reviewing.

Core Concepts

Sample Code

In the Sample Code section, we made two significant updates to the sandbox. First, portalItems and Esri modules are clickable, and link to their respective documentation or item page in ArcGIS Online. Now, anytime you look at a sample in the sandbox, you can easily find the documentation for the classes being imported, and quickly review the ArcGIS Online items being referenced, which are huge time savers.

Linked items in Sandbox

Second, we are leveraging local storage in the browser for changes made to samples in this environment. If a change is made, the sample from local storage will always be loaded until the user deletes the local copy using the revert to the original link. This link is only displayed when a sample is loaded from the browser’s local storage. So don’t worry about losing all your testing changes if you accidentally click the browser’s refresh button; we got you covered.

Local storage in Sandbox

Showcase

The Showcase page is brand new, and features a collection of apps that demonstrate some of the powerful capabilities of the API. Each app has a link to the code in GitHub, a brief explanation of the technology that powers the app under the hood, and links to where you can learn how to build the same capabilities into your own project. The Showcase currently features three apps and will continue to grow over time.

Showcase applications

Support

We recently introduced a new Support page at an earlier version. This is a great spot for finding additional resources to assist with your development; for example recent blogs, free training and videos, and a link to Esri Technical Support. You can also find relevant online communities where we (and our users) are active.

JavaScript Support

Blog

Lastly, we made one more change that you may notice. We added a page to our Blogs, to make them easier to find. Now, high quality JavaScript blogs (like the one you are just about to finish) are just a click away from the new and improved ArcGIS API for JavaScript website.

Happy coding!

About the authors

Passionate about JavaScript, maps, and writing (not necessarily in that order). Big fan of squirrels. Journeyman mapper of Utility Lines and Public Restrooms. Product Engineer on the ArcGIS API for JavaScript team. In Noah’s spare time, he also enjoys parenting.

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Julie Powell is a Technical Product Manager, with her primary focus on the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. She interfaces with a wide user community to maintain awareness and insight into GIS community needs, meanwhile contributing feedback to development teams in order to help ensure users can be successful in building state of the art, purposeful solutions using ArcGIS software. Julie presents GIS technology trends and innovative solutions at the Esri Developer Summit, Esri International User Conference, Esri Latin American User Conference, and other regional conferences. Julie brings seventeen years of experience working with global leaders such as Hewlett-Packard and Esri, delivering a variety of software solutions for both the enterprise and consumer markets. Julie has worked on a wide range of projects and consulting endeavors, including serving as technical lead for web mapping solutions for strategic customers.

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