This Q&A was pointed out to me and I thought I could assist by providing a little transparency about ArcGIS Professional. I look after the teams responsible for ArcMap, ArcGlobe, ArcScene, ArcGIS Engine, and the new ArcGIS Professional application. Firstly, it’s an active development project and many important decisions both technical and business related are yet to be made. And, you can help make them, our team spoke with many folks at the Esri 2013 User Conference who got hands on with ArcGIS Pro, and gave us great feedback – if you were one of them, thanks! But providing your ideas, thoughts / feedback through ideas.arcgis.com, your Esri account reps, by participating in our Early Adaptor or beta programs and forums like this all are good ways to give us guidance as we progress.
Is ArcGIS Professional a replacement for ArcMap, ArcGlobe and ArcScene? No. ArcGIS Pro is a brand new application, with brand new opportunity to help users solve real problems, that can benefit from multiple 2D and 3D views allowing visualization and editing in both environments, for example. Apparently my choice of words in my demo of the software during the plenary was unclear about it “running with Desktop,” sorry for that confusion, I should have been more clear about the side by side capability of existing Desktop applications and ArcGIS Pro. They simply can run side by side on the same machine, not sharing registry keys...etc.
Our vision was to take the most commonly used functionality from these three separate Desktop applications (ArcMap/Globe/Scene) and merge it into one application – support for both 2D and 3D views is the obvious benefit and example here. But ArcMap/Globe/Scene will stay current and maintained, with new functionality to be delivered through these applications for the long term. I think ArcGIS 10.2 was a good example of this, read the what’s new document carefully, a lot of great new capability went into 10.2. When ArcGIS Professional is released, the current Desktop applications will be updated and ship too. Will there be a day when someone will only use ArcGIS Professional, and not ArcMap – maybe – but it’s up to that person, and their workflows to make that decision based on the capability of ArcGIS Professional. It won’t be because our team stops shipping ArcMap/ArcGlobe/ArcScene in the foreseeable future. We are hard at work with the 10.2.1 release now for these applications.
ArcGIS Pro is a completely new WPF based application, it’s not java anything, it’s not based on ArcGIS Runtime either. The important thing is has great performance, and the application remains responsive all the time, it does not block the UI as can happen in single threaded applications. This of course is achieved through a multi-threaded (64 bit) application framework that can take advance of large memory address space and GPU’s for display performance. The 2D parts of the graphics engine have been shipping in several releases of ArcGIS, the 3D capability has not been released previously, and is new and very fast. Our Graphics team has many years invested in this engine, and we’re excited to be getting close to shipping it soon. This 3D graphics engine is not based on CityEngine, but the CityEngine runtime is utilized in the application for 3D representations, for example, and will continue to be used for 3D innovation going forward, a good example of this is our Solution for 3D Cities and Campuses.
Licensing levels is another topic that questions are being asked about.
As I said in the road ahead sessions at the 2013 UC, we have not made all final (business) decisions here. But our goal is to simplify licensing where we can, and make sure it’s in alignment with ArcGIS.com and new simpler subscription models we are releasing now for the ArcGIS Platform. Also simplifying the access and update of software, through web downloads is what we are working on. We will provide status as we make progress on these important decisions.
I hope this helps you understand not just some higher level motivation and vision, but also a bit of the technical architecture of ArcGIS Professional we have implemented so far.
ArcGIS Professional Extensibility. Here are our current thoughts about extensibility for ArcGIS Pro. You can write and run Python scripts in ArcGIS that call geoprocessing tools and use an exhaustive suite of scripting functions available in the ArcGIS Python API, ArcPy, to automate your GIS tasks. Your scripts can also use a diverse array of functions provided through Python’s standard and 3rd party libraries.
You can leverage the considerable capabilities of the .NET framework and WPF to extend the application with functionality involving interactive scenarios and rich user interface aspects. Both of these types of customizations are accomplished using the well-known Add-In model.
.NET Developers can code against a simplified object model that’s easier to understand and use than the COM based interfaces in the ArcObjects API. The .NET API is modern, language specific.
ArcGIS Professional will run “stand alone” like current Desktop applications and ArcGIS Runtime Apps. But we are also really trying to invite the Desktop users to leverage the ArcGIS Platform as a whole if it makes sense for them. We created this Professional GIS site with this in mind http://pro.arcgis.com/
We see this site as a consolidated wealth of information for GIS Professionals, but also an opportunity to be exposed to brand new capability in the ArcGIS Platform in an integrated way, with the goal of helping you leverage the Platform better to solve the real problems.