I have clients that have an existing ArcGIS Server. Map layers are published as rest services and I am going to build a mapping application that displays their datasets. Functionality should include users' ability to click on layers and retrieve attribute info.

I've been using Google's JS API v3 for most of my projects. I am also using leaflet and CartoDB for other projects. I am trying to stay away from ESRI's JS API for server as it seems a little cumbersome. I'd prefer to use something like Google Maps or Leaflet for this project.

Any suggestions as to what platform I should use to construct this application?

  • Will it make my life easier to just use ESRI's JS API for server?
  • Any major downfalls to loading the REST services in Leaflet or Google ?
  • For simple pan, zoom, identify functionality, I would personally go with Leaflet. If I needed more complex functionality, I would probably use OpenLayers. These libraries give you the mapping functionality without binding you to a specific basemap service. Plus, they work well.
    – DavidF
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 18:58
  • Nice.. I think I'll use leaflet. Cheers -j
    – jotamon
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 21:31
  • 1
    Personally I'm not very fond of Dojo, which is my main gripe with the JS API, but I still wouldn't think twice about using it to interact with AGS REST map services. It's the right tool for the job
    – tomfumb
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


It really depends on your users requirements.

I recently started a project in the Google Maps API, where I overlaid some services from ArcGIS Server and had some basic queries going on. I wanted to use Google, so that I could legally incorporate their Streetview/Geocoding/Traffic APIs into my map. As this would be a public facing application, I also thought it might be more familiar to the end-user.

However, the ArcGIS Server library for Google Maps was too limiting and I could not (easily) take advantage of all of the functionality served up by the ArcGIS Server REST API, so I switched over to using the Esri Javascript API.

As you would expect, this API is continuously updated to match the functionality that is dished out with each new version of ArcGIS Server.


You mention that your just displaying your AGS services on a map, and just need to provide pop-ups. If this is really all the users need, then you can pick from plenty of APIs to do this e.g. OpenLayers, Leaflet, Google Maps, etc.

However, perhaps your users only need the basics for now, but perhaps as they begin to use the application, they start to want things that only the Esri JS API offers? On the flip-side, perhaps they want things that they see in the Google Maps API?

I find the latest version of the Esri JS API easy to work with. Dojo has definitely improved significantly (API built on this) and you can easily make use of other frameworks like JQuery alongside the Esri API. But then I am also a fan of the Google Maps API, mainly because of the additional services you can leverage, but also some of the cool stuff within the Maps API, like styled maps and radar search.

Short answer - depends on who the users are and what they need.


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