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Things that will make you fall in love with ArcGIS Experience Builder

ArcGIS Experience Builder is Esri’s newest tool for creating customized web apps to share your web maps with your users.

ArcGIS Experience Builder allows you to create truly unique web applications without writing a single line of code. Revolutionize your ArcGIS Online or Portal web mapping experience by publishing responsive, functional apps that can be viewed on any device.

Jumpstart Your Experience

Experience Builder comes with a variety of ways to help you get started to build your app. You can begin creating your Experience with one of dozens of templates provided by Esri, each pre-configured for a particular look and feel.  Create a map-centric web app to showcase your spatial data with the Foldable template. Create a scrollable web page with the General template. Alternatively, copy the format of an existing app from your organization or anywhere else on the web that catches your eye. If needed, you can also select one of the Blank templates to build and design your Experience from scratch.

Customize to Your Heart’s Content

Regardless of which template was used to jumpstart your Experience, ArcGIS Experience Builder is heavily customizable.

Many settings that you might expect to require code or scripting can be tweaked directly in the Experience Builder designer interface. Unlike the Developer Edition of various ArcGIS Apps, which requires you to code and host your own web application, your Experience Builder app can be uniquely tailored to your business needs without writing a single line of code.

You can fine-tune the exact size and position of each section of the page by dragging and dropping components to various guidelines around the page. Apply background colours, shadows and borders to personalize your widget components. Determine exactly how users can interact with the map, by enabling pop-ups, map navigation controls or selection tools.

If you are expecting users to consume your Experience on a tablet or mobile device, you can create unique page layouts to ensure an optimal viewing experience based on the screen size.

Is ArcGIS Experience Builder the same as ArcGIS Web AppBuilder or ArcGIS StoryMaps?

ArcGIS Experience Builder, ArcGIS Web AppBuilder and ArcGIS StoryMaps do share some commonalties. All three products provide a browser-based interface to build customized web applications on ArcGIS Online or Portal. However, these are all separate products, each with a specific focus and audience in mind.

In terms of their similarities, all three applications utilize pre-configured components and widgets that perform a particular task, such as spatial analysis tools, inserting a banner for your company’s logo, selecting features from a layer or launching an attribute table. All three products are continuously in development, with new features, settings and widgets being added at every release. Rest assured that there are currently no plans for one product to be replaced by other.

In terms of their differences, ArcGIS Web AppBuilder is a map-centric application with few pre-defined layouts and a selection of widgets for interacting with the map and the layers within it. It is a great choice if you want to quickly highlight a single map for your users and control the ways they can interact with your spatial data. For a map-centric layout similar to Web AppBuilder, explore the Foldable, JewleryBox, Launchpad or Billboard templates in ArcGIS Experience Builder.  

Alternatively, ArcGIS StoryMaps provides a scrolling interface to share text and image-based information with the user, with maps being only one of many components of a story. Similar to Web AppBuilder, in StoryMaps a lot of the design decisions are made for you in advance to speed along the process to quickly generate an aesthetically pleasing web app without too much fuss. For a StoryMap-like app, try out the General, Introduction, Gallery, Parallax or Blank Scrolling Page templates for a scrollable app in ArcGIS Experience Builder.  

In other words, ArcGIS Experience Builder gives you free reign to adjust the layout, style and detailed settings to meet your unique web application needs. With ArcGIS Experience Builder, the world is your oyster!

It Is All Connected

ArcGIS Experience Builder provides the tools to seamlessly connect to your ArcGIS Online and Portal data sources. The data sources across your app remain linked, so clicking a point on the map, for example, will select the corresponding feature in the list widget.

ArcGIS Experience Builder also integrates directly with other ArcGIS apps, such as ArcGIS Survey123. Using the Survey widget, the designer allows you to select fields from existing layers to pass values directly into your Survey123 form pointing to a different layer, without needing to fiddle with URL parameters.

Let’s say that your organization is doing an audit of property parcels throughout the municipality. Integrate your Experience with Survey123 so that when you select a property parcel polygon on the map, it will automatically populate your survey form with the Parcel ID number, street address and any other fields you wish to copy over. This article provides an example of this Survey123 and Experience Builder integration.

I’m sold! How can I get started using ArcGIS Experience Builder?

Give ArcGIS Experience Builder a try now by signing in at or accessing it from the ArcGIS Online app launcher. Note that you will require a Creator or higher user type to create web applications in ArcGIS Online.

To learn more about this exciting new Esri app, a variety of resources are available for getting started with ArcGIS Experience Builder:

See how other users are leveraging Experience Builder for their projects with the Experience Builder App Gallery.

Take a free one hour course on the Learn ArcGIS site:  Try Experience Builder and learn how to build immersive web experiences.

Watch a one hour Youtube video on ArcGIS Experience Builder: Getting Started with Creating Web Solutions

Go a little deeper with a three hour web course on the Esri Academy: Building Web Solutions Using ArcGIS Experience Builder.

Get your questions answered with the Esri Help Documentation for Experience Builder

Go above and beyond with the Developer Edition of ArcGIS Experience Builder to extend your app using TypeScript, React, and more.

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Shannon Cox is a Desktop Support Analyst on the Esri Canada Desktop Support team. She has over six years of experience with Esri software. Shannon is a graduate of Trent University and the British Columbia of Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physical Geography and an Advanced Diploma in GIS, respectively. Prior to Esri Canada, Shannon’s experience included GIS applications in the field of physical geography (mapping glaciation, modelling hydrology networks), addressing (manual geocoding), road network editing, and air photo georeferencing. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys working on digital volunteer mapping during international emergencies, doing yoga, meditating, reading, and drinking local craft beer.

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