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I am starting to work on a Silverlight 4 based web mapping project using latest ArcGIS Server API. The application will involve multiple map services (for many themes) with selection, queries, and reporting for each map service. I am starting to gather some ideas on how to make this application extensible so that any additional map services can be added later on. For this project, in addition to map services, I will be using Oracle for backend for non-spatial data access. I am not sure if this will impose restrictions while building WCF services considering the fact that it's not SQL Server.

I am looking for some feedback from folks who have implemented Silverlight based GIS solution and some of the factors that needs to be considered for a good/robust design. These would include: MVVM, logging, unit testing, security etc.

Appreciate any ideas. Jay

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The ArcGIS Viewer for Microsoft Silverlight might be worth a look.

I can't remember how much I'm allowed to say without violating my beta agreement, but it really is mis-named. It is more like a Viewer builder than a viewer. I think it's being modeled after the flex version, though I haven't seen any plans to open source it as they have with flex.

Even if you don't go with the viewer builder, the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) is still worth looking into.

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ESRI announced it today at PUG Houston. Wow! definitely worth a look. –  Brad Nesom Apr 19 '11 at 4:21
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Keep it compatible with moonlight. otherwise you lock away all users on Linux. Microsoft are supposed to give Novell enough information to keep Moonlight handling any Silverlight application. But that is not happening which moves the responsebility over to the developer.


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Hi Folks, Thanks for the good comments. With regards to technology option, Silverlight path has been decided. I have to continue on that path. I will check MEF. Simon, do you know when the Viewer is going to be available for general users. –  jayGIS Apr 19 '11 at 15:07
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We're trying Geocortex Essentials - Geocortex Essentials - ArcGIS Server - Web-based mapping - GIS Tools. It's an add-on for ArcGIS Server that you can purchase. There are web interface management tools and SilverLight or Flex viewers already built (the SilverLight version seems to be more developed than the Flex version). Once you have it working with your web services, you can build your own widgets to extend the basic functionality.

This would be worth checking out if you don't like the ArcGIS viewer from ESRI that Kirk mentioned. It looks like the ESRI one is fairly new and I haven't checked it out yet.

I do not know of any viewers planned or working with HTML5. You would need to use SilverLight or Flex for now, unless you have a while to wait.

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Although not directly answering your question, a consideration you may have already looked at
Why not use the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex.?

Key factors that would potentially sway me to choose it:

  • Supported. e.g. Can hassle support when one of the supported widgets does not integrate with your maps.
  • Has been tested (to what level, I do not know)
  • Lots of custom widgets from the user community.
  • Can be styled using Flex skins/CSS

I also heard that there will be a similar Silverlight application at 10.1, but dont quote me on that.

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Microsoft is even moving away from Silverlight for rich web apps. They're going the HTML5 route. I'd say that even Flex is a bad idea, too, if you want to future-proof your app. It's safer to go with a standards-based HTML/Javascript solution. –  Sean Apr 19 '11 at 12:57
Hi Folks, Thanks for the good comments. With regards to technology option, Silverlight path has been decided. I have to continue on that path. I will check MEF. Simon, do you know when the Viewer is going to be available for general users. It would be really nice if they make it open source. I will keep this post open for now so that we can have more feedback from other Experts. Thanks Jay –  jayGIS Apr 19 '11 at 15:21
Hi Sean, I havent had a chance to look at HTML 5. is there a way to leverage ArcGIS Server capabilities from HTML 5 environment. Appreciate any resources that showcase strengths of where HTML 5 is going. Thanks jay –  jayGIS Apr 19 '11 at 18:09
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