I'm involved in a project where one of the main features is that the users will have the ability to select wich layers will be available for him to view on the map, the layers then should be loaded into the map and the toc components.

The project is web based and it will be done using Visual Studio .NET 2008 with Web ADF and Argcis Server 9.3.

Does anyone knows how this can be done? Thanks.

  • This doesn't really answer your question (though I know it's possible via the Silverlight and Flex APIs, so it must be possible with the Web ADF), but I would recommend that you don't allow users to pick and choose the layers they want. It's too easy for a non-GIS person to make a map that unintentionally obscures the question they're trying to answer. Instead, find out what the requirements are and create one or more "map sets" that will allow users to answer specific questions. Just my two cents. – Michael Todd Dec 2 '10 at 20:00

that was my suggetsion also @Michael Todd. create, or desgin several user groups and perhaps allow the user to pick what type of user they want to emulate.

There is some information here for 9.3. ilayerposition

describing a layer priority assignment and more here Chapter 5

  • I also want to do that, but it is not up to me... it's a goverment thing, so I would very much appreciate some pointers on how to accomplish this. – eiefai Dec 2 '10 at 20:23
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    You might want to let them know, then, that "ArcGIS Server 10.1 will be the last planned release for the ArcGIS Server Web ADFs (Application Developer Framework) for both Microsoft .NET and Java." From here. That means that your client will be purchasing a product with perhaps a 2-3 year lifespan (unless they plan on staying at the current version longer than that). – Michael Todd Dec 2 '10 at 20:42

Since this is development of a new application, it simply should not be done using the Web ADF. Aside from being much less straightforward than the Web APIs, its shelf life is very limited at this point. Since your development environment is Visual Studio, I would recommend that you take a look at the Silverlight API. Not only will your development experience be much less painful, but you'll also be able to provide a much richer user experience than with the Web ADF. If a browser plug-in is not an option, then use the JavaScript API.

With any of the web APIs, reordering layers is simply a matter of manipulating the Map object's layer collection. I strongly agree with Michael and Brad, however, that allowing users to pick and choose from many layers usually makes for a poor application. An exception would be if you have a "designer" or "administrator" role, where users within this role are experts that make meaningful subsets of layers to share with the bulk of the application's users. Examples of such an approach can be seen in Esri's Explorer Online or SharePoint products. Another exception would be if the repository of layers to choose from is small. If your application does not fall into one of these categories, I would suggest that you are doing your employer a disservice by not pushing back hard on this requirement.

On the subject of the acceptability of browser plugins, this is less and less of an issue in government as more agencies, including the US armed forces, have approved use of Flash and Silverlight in application development. Plugin adoption is recent for many departments and agencies, and in some cases is not widely known by their employees. So if you receive an indication that using a plugin is not an acceptable approach, you or someone on your team should double-check this against the agency's technical guidelines.

  • Thanks zwaap, I will talk to my supervisor and tell them what you said. One more question, why I shouldn't use Web ADF? – eiefai Dec 3 '10 at 19:38
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    Three main reasons. First, as Michael Todd points out above, version 10.1 will be the last release of the Web ADF. What this means is that the Web ADF is not being actively developed and has not been for some time. It would not be wise to build a new application on a dead API. Second, the web APIs are much more elegant than the Web ADF; you will find developing applications with them to be much more straightforward... – zwaap Dec 4 '10 at 13:28
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    Third, the architecture of the web APIs just works better than that of the Web ADF. The ASP.NET Page, Postback, and Server Control models (on which the Web ADF is built) are inherently complex and introduce scalability and performance problems. So to sum up, Esri is phasing out the Web ADF, your development will be easier with the web APIs, and an application built on the web APIs will perform better and provide a better user experience than one built on the Web ADF. – zwaap Dec 4 '10 at 13:31

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