Esri Dev Summit 2017

Esri Dev Summit 2017: A Programmer’s Recap

March 19, 2017 — Josh King

I had the pleasure of attending the Esri Dev Summit 2017 this year in Palm Springs, CA, with my fellow SSP colleague, Jeff Mertz.  (Read more about the annual Esri event here.) Esri always does a great job organizing the conference, and Palm Springs is a wonderful setting for this annual event.  Esri Dev Summit 2017 was no exception.

Palm Springs Esri Dev Summit 2017

Develper Updates at the Esri Dev Summit 2017: Visual Studio Code

While my role in the company mainly focuses on web based programming, I attended many sessions at Esri Dev Summit 2017 focused on the Esri JavaScript API.  Not only were there many web related session to attend this year. But also, the Esri sponsored expo arena JavaScript dominated the Esri Dev Summit 2017 floor space compared to the other technology stacks (Python, .NET, Java, etc.).  Esri isn’t the only company focusing on JavaScript based technology.  It’s also the most popular language on GitHub and demands the most jobs on Stack Overflow job postings.

If there was a theme to take away from the sessions at Esri Dev Summit 2017, it’s that Esri developers love to work on Macs using Visual Studio Code.  I did see one presentation where Windows 10 was used, but they were still using Visual Studio Code.  In general, Visual Studio has been abandoned by the web development community. That is essentially true, unless you’re developing with ASP.NET MVC or a similar Microsoft supported technology.

Parts of Esri have embraced Typescript for their JavaScript development.  In fact, in the 4.3 release of the JavaScript API, widgets have been redesigned completely by using Typescript. They also removed their dependency on the Dojo Dijit framework.  If you want to customize a widget, you can do so using Typescript.  Esri has examples of how this can be done as a part of their developer documentation, and they made sure to note this at Esri Dev Summit 2017.

For anybody who is interested in developing with Typescript in general, I highly recommend it.  I’ve been developing with it for over a year now, and I will say it’s a joy to use.  I’ve also been developing in Visual Studio Code for around the same amount of time.  The Typescript support is first class in Visual Studio Code.  You’ll feel like you’re developing C# in Visual Studio with all of the handy convinces you’re used to (Find All References, Code Completion Go to Definition, etc.).

If you haven’t used Visual Studio Code yet, try it out next time you develop a web site in pure HTML and JavaScript.  It’s much lighter alternative to Visual Studio.  It only takes a few minutes to download and get set up and starts up extremely fast.  Since out of the box it only supports HTML, CSS and JavaScript development, it is a very fast and responsive editor.  If you want to do other types of development in Visual Studio Code, they offer a wide range of extensions you can integrate.  The Extensions marketplace support pretty much anything you want to do including C#, PHP, Python, Go, and Ruby. The list goes on and on.

More at Esri Dev Summit 2017: Brief Note on GitHub


Esri has also embraced posting code and examples on GitHub.  Almost every session at Esri Dev Summit 2017 had a link to a GitHub repo. This is where you could download and play with the code they were demonstrating.  If you started using Git based source control within your organization, I would highly recommend that as well.

Fun at Esri Dev Summit 2017


Esri always makes sure the people who attend the conference have fun too. Esri Dev Summit 2017 was another great year for getting to know our industry peers.  Jeff and I participated in their annual dodgeball tournament.  It was tough competition, and we only made it past the 1st round out of 4, but had a lot of fun.  The championship game was pretty intense and hundreds of people stayed around to watch it.

Dodgeball Tournament Esri Dev Summit 2017

Esri Dev Summit 2017 demonstrated to me Esri’s team is at the forefront of modern web development standards, techniques and technologies.  It makes me feel confident in the technology they will be delivering in the future.  Esri demonstrated they are a truly world class software development company.  For more information on the sessions presented, keep an eye out on their developer support site.  They should have most of the links and videos posted in the next few weeks.

We Wrote the Book

The Indispensible Guide to ArcGIS Online

Download It for Free

Josh King works as a Senior Consultant, specializing in software architecture, at the GIS consulting company SSP Innovations in Centennial, Colorado. Since 2000 Josh has worked on a number different software applications with his most recent experience being in developing field operations applications for the Telecom, Oil and Gas, and Read more

What do you think?

Leave a comment, and share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>