Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wondering If ESRI Should Be Making Server Products

James' post tonight won't be the last comment about how ESRI users and developers see their server-based products. It just seems that over the past few weeks more and more people, especially developers friendly to ESRI, have seriously complained about ArcIMS, ArcSDE, and ArcGIS Server and how they're all "too little too late." In the case of ArcIMS, it's a matter of the services and the lack of OGC compliance of it. It's not advanced enough for the people who I talk to. Granted, they haven't looked at ArcGIS Server, but still, there are some OGC specs that would be nice to have now until later. Even though WMS and KML are available, there's something missing that goes with those outputs. For ArcSDE, a number of people have told me. If you can afford Oracle Spatial, buy it, skip SDE. If you can't afford Oracle Spatial, PostgreSQL with PostGIS. Just stay as far away from SDE if you transactional times that won't cause you to loose 80% of your day. Finally, there's ArcGIS Server. This product gets no love because it's the red-headed stepchild of the bunch. Not enough people are in need of it, thus a lack of understanding about it. If no one is implementing it, then there's not enough visibility, and again it could be something worthwhile, but no community equals no success or use. ArcGIS Explorer could save it, then again, you have to be building tasks, globes, and services with it. If no one is, then it's DOA. Sorry, Jeremey. I mean, I feel bad writing this. I like ESRI. Desktop is great—except for my export map problem on my laptop. Yet, this state of affairs for ESRI server apps are really sad. I just hope they can either 1) improve, or, 2) get out without betting the farm on server apps.


Anonymous Dave said...

I would argue that while they can build server products that are "worth it", they have gone too-big too-soon with ArcGIS Server. (no offense to the Server team who clearly have put a lot ot love and effort into the product)

Hind sight being 20-20, I think that taking a play from the the 37Signals book "getting real" book would have helped. This book promotes the idea that you should build simple and make it work, and people will use it. This is almost the opposite of the soup-to-nuts model for Server. "It can do anything" is pretty much the slogan.

The problem is that while the feature set looks good to a marketing team, when people go to implement the "custom" solutions which the product is designed (and priced) to deal with, the bugs, flaky implementation (try writing clean OOP code in a server system - very hard, if not impossible) and lack luster performance will impede it's adoption.


11/02/2006 07:01:00 AM  
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