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Jump-start Your ArcIMS Site

New templates for ArcIMS 3.1, available at no cost from the ArcOnline Web site, give any ArcIMS developer a quick method for adding a lot of functionality and a stylish appearance to a site with little effort. More experienced developers can also use the rich development libraries that come with the Site Starter applications.

The Site Starter applications are a set of Active Server Pages (ASP) applications that work with the ArcIMS ActiveX Connector. Each Site Starter application is dedicated to a specific business task and provides users with an intuitive method for accomplishing that task. These applications are supplied as templates that can be tailored to specific datasets and offer a variety of presentation styles. Use Site Starter Applications with minimal customization to jump-start a new Web site or use them to enhance an existing Web site.

The Site Starter applications were developed as lightweight (less than 50 KB), graphically adaptable, out-of-the-box solutions for common Web site mapping needs. Using a server-scripted model, Site Starter applications use ASP to manage queries and maps, generate the client, and manage the business logic for the site. The client is lightweight because it handles only the presentation function and user input, not the application logic.

Using the Site Starter Applications

Installing these applications is as simple as one, two, three.

  1. Create an Image MapService in ArcIMS.
  2. Copy the Site Starter application files onto your system and run the self-extracting executables.
  3. Use a text editor to modify the variables that tell the application how to access your data. The process is described in the documentation that comes with the applications.

The Site Starter applications require ArcIMS 3.1 with the ActiveX Connector installed and Microsoft IIS 4.0. Although Microsoft IIS is required to run ASP, ArcIMS does not have to use Microsoft IIS as the default Web server for servlet requests. Other connectors (e.g., the ArcIMS Servlet, ColdFusion, or AppServerLink Connectors) and other Web servers (e.g., IBM, iPlanet, Oracle, and other vendors) can be used while the Site Starter applications use Microsoft IIS to communicate with the ArcIMS Application Server through the ActiveX Connector. The documentation that comes with the Site Starter applications supplies detailed information on the requirements, installation, and configuration for each application.

The Viewer Application

The Viewer application is a lightweight alternative to the clients that come with ArcIMS-the HTML Viewer and the Custom and Standard Java Viewers. The Viewer application provides basic map navigation and query tools and enhances output with legend generation and print layout capabilities. This viewer has three basic styles that can be modified by changing the Cascading Style Sheets that control its display properties.

Default configuration for the Viewer application supports a single-click HTML form for map interactions such as zoom and identify using the Map.asp page. However, dynamic interaction—rubberband zooming or dynamic recentering—is supported by the Map_DynamicHTML.asp page, which provides this functionality through JavaScript and DHTML. Implementing the dynamic viewer is as simple as substituting Map_DynamicHTML.asp for Map.asp. Rename the original Map.asp to Map_SingleClick.asp and rename Map_DynamicHTML.asp to Map.asp.

The Search Application

The Search application lets users search for geographic features in the same way they search for other things on the Web. Users are familiar with search engines such as HotBot or Yahoo, which accept input at a search page and return summarized results. The Search application works in the same fashion. Once a query is submitted, it returns a results page showing the features that fit the query, summarized in tabular format. After selecting a feature from the results page, the user can obtain either a detailed report on that feature or a map showing the feature.

The Search application provides better performance because it separates database and GIS queries and performs GIS queries for specific features. The initial database query retrieves a recordset that is displayed on the results page. When a map is requested for a feature on the results page, the Feature ID for a selected record is passed by the ArcIMS ActiveX Connector to the ArcIMS Application Server to locate the desired feature and generate the map on a Web page.

The Buffer application searches a database for a query item, locates it graphically on a map, and determines what features are located within a specified distance from the query item.

The Buffer Application

The newest Site Starter Application, the Buffer application, was created in response to user interest. This application searches a database for a query item, locates it graphically on a map, and determines what features are located within a specified distance from the query item. Like the Search application, this application employs different methods and technologies for these three steps to optimize performance.

The Site Starter applications were developed by Dave Wrazien and Lee Bock of Esri. Contact Dave Wrazien at with suggestions on existing or future applications. Download the Site Starter applications. A sample dataset is also available from the same location.

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