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The 2008 blog post announcing the ArcGIS Server JS API says:

Everyone can use the ArcGIS JavaScript API. There is no fee for using the ArcGIS JavaScript API or deploying an application built with it.

But Esri's Web Mapping Pricing page says "Contact us for pricing".

Which is correct?

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The API is free - its the geoprocessing and geodatabase access you need behind the scenes that means you will require ArcGIS Server. – Mapperz Feb 13 '12 at 22:02
But if you're able to use someone else's ArcGIS Server, or omit it completely (by using Fusion Tables, GeoServer, etc), it's definitely free to use the APIs for a commercial application? Is there a reference to confirm this? – Stephen Lead Feb 13 '12 at 22:13
up vote 14 down vote accepted

It is free for the uses outlined in the top section in your "Web Mapping Pricing" link:

  • Development and Evaluations
  • Non-commercial external use
  • Education(teaching purposes only)
  • NGO or not-for-profit business
  • When used in conjunction with ArcGIS for Server license
  • When used in conjunction with ArcGIS Online Task Services totaling $4,000 per year or more

For commercial use, on a publicly accessible website, it is not free. That's when you need to contact sales for a quote.

Edit: best source for this info as of December 2013 is

share|improve this answer
Thanks. It might be an idea to amend the blog post? – Stephen Lead Feb 13 '12 at 23:05… similar question? – Steve Feb 13 '12 at 23:43
Thanks for this clarification. – user3461 Feb 15 '12 at 17:42
Has this changed by any chance? Where do government agencies that are not affiliated with ESRI fit into this? They are non-commercial internal use clients of ours. – ca0v Nov 20 '14 at 2:49
@ca0v I no longer work for esri but I don't think any of this has changed. The link from my edit is what you should use to determine if you need to pay or not: – Derek Swingley Nov 20 '14 at 18:31

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