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DevSummit 2014: DevSummit.js

ArcGIS API for JavaScript is now the primary choice for building Web mapping applications. The DevSummit schedule reflects that very clearly. This post takes you through the line up of sessions and helps you decide which one is best suited for you.

JavaScript is certainly part of any future Web mapping application. Not only is JavaScript booming in the field of Web development right now (with a JavaScript framework around every corner,) but also our recent announcement regarding the future of Flex and Silverlight APIs finally answers the big question developers have been waiting to hear: “which web API should I use for my application?” Hands down, it's JavaScript.

APIs for Flex and Silverlight are still and will be around for quite a while. You can actually attend a “What’s New in Flex API and Flex Viewer” session on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. For Silverlight, a similar “What’s New in Silverlight API” session is available at the same time slot, and another session, “Migrating Silverlight to HTML5 for SharePoint GIS Component,” is slated for Wednesday at 3 p.m.

But for JavaScript developers, there’s a lot to learn. Maybe start with a quick introduction to the JavaScript API on Monday at 9:45 a.m. or Wednesday at 2:30 a.m. Or catch up with what’s new in JSAPI including map widgets, advanced rendering options, SVG, AMD and even management on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. or Thursday at 2:30 p.m. But getting to know JSAPI isn’t everything - you also need to migrate your application from an existing Web API. The session on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. will cover how to jump-start migrating, as well as tips and tricks, IDE choices, framework options, testing and debugging.

Then, turn those small samples into a real application by attending building JavaScript modules on Monday at 11:30 a.m. This will cover reusable modules with classes and widgets. These applications will inevitably grow to Enterprise scale. You can learn about strategies for building large JS applications for the Enterprise on Thursday at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. This will cover project layout, version control, continuous integration and more.

The question “what IDE/tool do you use to build JavaScript applications?” is one you must come across frequently. I ask and get asked this question all the time. We're all trying to find the latest and greatest in tooling. You’ll get to love your development workflow with a session on Monday at 5:15 p.m that covers all the latest tools, including Chrome Dev tools, Postman, Grunt, Bower, Sublime and JSHint.

You can get by and build good applications just by learning JSAPI, but if you want to be a master you really need to jump into Dojo. ArcGIS API for JavaScript is built on top of Dojo. You’ll learn how to use Dojo to be awesome on Wednesday at 3 p.m. This sessions will show you how to:

  • Take advantage of Dijits to make your application more dynamic
  • Optimize your code by tricking RequireJS
  • Build all multi-file application into one file that is super-fast to download

Another session focused on Dojo is “Dojo: The Good Parts” on Thursday at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. This session will cover data binding, convenience classes, Dojox projects and Dojo build.

It’s not all about building applications - that’s the easy part. Debugging is where we all usually run into trouble. A Tips and Tricks for Debugging session is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. This session will cover browser-based debugging tools, finding potential bugs, remotely debugging mobile web apps and even how to get support by writing effective forum posts that encourage quick answers.

The best debugging and fixing errors are the ones found before an applicaiton release. Testing tools and patterns (on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday at 1 p.m.) will help you write testable code, set up unit testing, functional testing, test automation and continuous integration. This will cover an overview of popular testing libraries like Jasmine, Mocha, Grunt, Karma and The Intern.

For advanced functionality for the JavaScript API, look for Offline Editing with JavaScript on Wednesday at 1 p.m. This will cover browser-based offline coding patterns, re-syncing with the feature service and how to store and manage tiles for offline browsing.

A big part of ArcGIS Online is the JavaScript API, since all the front end is built using JavaScript. On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. look for developing custom JSAPI applications with ArcGIS Online and Portal to learn about configurable templates, viewers and mobile devices.

Most developers will build their mapping applications with another JavaScript framework or technology - one of the many that are available today. There are a number of very interesting sessions about that. On Tuesday at 1 p.m., Mapping applications with Angular.js will explore how to use Google’s framework to add maps. For Ruby on Rails developers, learn how to add ArcGIS to Ruby Web applications on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Thursday 1 p.m. For other JavaScript frameworks, including backbone, polymer and more, look for the session on Tuesday 4 p.m.

Cutting-edge technology comes up on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in accessing and visualizing Esri geoservices with D3 and Node.js. This session will present ways to use third-party data and APIs within the ArcGIS platform and how they can be combined with Esri services to offer compelling maps and visualizations.

It’s a lot of work just listing all the sessions. It’ll be a lot of fun attending them. Can’t wait!

Read the next post in this series: DevSummit 2014:

About the Author

Amr Eldib is a Developer Support Consultant for Esri Canada. As a Certified Web Application Developer Associate, he has 10 years of experience in both geographic information system (GIS) and software development. Amr has worked with a number of organizations in both Egypt and Canada on building and supporting GIS systems using Esri products. He’s been a blogger and active member in many developer communities throughout much of his career.

Profile Photo of Amr Eldib