An odd title for a blog post: Web ArcGIS apps are amazing. Why would we make such a profound statement?
We still see mobile and web apps treated separately. “Mobile enable your web page” we hear. Have clever ‘native’ developers build your iPad, Android or Surface Pro app is another.
In Praise of Web Technology
Web technology is wonderful. Anybody with a browser can use a web application. That means access from any device: office PC, smartphone, tablet. But what we can do in an ArcGIS web application is limited right?
There are two huge reasons why a web based ArcGIS application is worth serious consideration over native mobile apps: cross platform, cross device and disconnected capabilities.
Cross Platform, Cross Device
Web applications run on all platforms and devices. That is one application, not multiple applications as is the case with native. Today using responsive design, a web application can be built with device ‘intelligence’. Meaning the same application is styled and usable on an iPhone as it is on the largest Android tablet. The image below shows the same application on a tablet and smartphone respectively:
Mobile databases can now be leveraged directly from a web application. That means no inherent size limit, as is the case with the browser cache. So we can download offline base map tiles, and feature layers directly to the mobile device.
In fact any data can be downloaded to the local database for visualization and editing. Imagine you wish to visualize or edit data on an Esri map from a business platform like SAP. Easy. Drop the data into the mobile database and access and overlay the data on the map from there.
Web ArcGIS apps are amazing