Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is Geocortex Web Viewer 5? Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is our next generation HTML5 web viewer framework built on top of Esri's JavaScript 4.x API and.

Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions 1.

What is Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is our next generation HTML5 web viewer framework built on top of Esri’s JavaScript 4.x API and complements modern web GIS patterns and geoinformation models. The eventual goal of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is to replace Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 (GVH). It will take time for Geocortex Web Viewer 5 to reach – and exceed – feature parity with the current version of Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 (built on Esri’s JavaScript 3.x API). The first release of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is focused on providing beautiful, fast web mapping applications focused on presentation and information access use cases in both 2D and 3D.

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What is the value of Geocortex Web Viewer 5? Why do I need it?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is focused on: • • • • • • •

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3D: Growing demand to produce 3D applications supporting use cases from government to real estate; Speed: Speed is a primary focus of GWV and is supported by underlying technology changes that allow true AMD and lazy loading of components; Beauty: GWV is visually stunning, and produces applications that just look that much better than anything else out there; Flexibility: A new layout configuration model gives applications flexibility in their look and feel; Accessibility: WCAG AA compliance ensures public-facing applications are accessible to those with disabilities; SaaS Simplicity: The primary offering of GWV will be SaaS: its companion Geocortex Web Viewer Designer creation and configuration experience will be SaaS also, greatly reducing the time needed to create, deploy, and maintain your apps; and Longevity: GWV is a sustainable viewer application framework that is an alternative to custom development and is built on Esri’s JavaScript 4.x API.

Why is it a standalone product, and what does that mean?

Viewer frameworks have been a popular part of Geocortex Essentials for several years. Commonly licensed as a part of Geocortex Essentials, Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is also available as a “standalone product”. Focusing on Geocortex Web Viewer 5 as a standalone product has produced many positive benefits including: • • •

A superior, re-designed application configuration and management interface; An updated configuration structure, separating function from form, and allowing for composition on a component-by-component basis as well as supporting arity (multiple components of the same type); and Greatly simplified capabilities to change the user presentation layer of an application.

Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions 4.

Does Geocortex Web Viewer 5 work on smartphones and tablets, or just web browsers and desktops?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 builds applications that can run in the web browsers of smartphones and tablets as well as the browsers of desktops. Many aspects of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 applications are responsive to screen size, and application layouts can also be adjusted and optimized toward mobile use. With GVH, our mobile-first approach allowed any application to run on a hand-held device. The result was that pure-desktop applications were not as usable as they could be. With GWV you can tailor your application to its intended form-factor.

5. I understand that Geocortex Web Viewer 5 comes with a new configuration and management interface; what is that about? GWV comes with a new Designer for accomplishing configuration and management work related to building your web GIS applications. Building on the success of its predecessor, Geocortex Essentials Manager, its time-saving new features include: • • • •

Quick verification of changes with a fully interactive, live preview of your application; Component search filters help you find what you’re looking for. You can also select a component for configuration directly in the preview; Space to work by allowing the preview to be popped-out and placed on a second monitor; and App management with dedicated functionality for managing dev, test, staging, and prod versions.

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Is there anything significant missing from Designer at its initial release?

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How is Geocortex Web Viewer 5 licensed? How much does it cost?

The biggest thing missing at initial release – but is certainly slated for future development – is layout editing. At its initial release, there will be several great out-of-the-box templates you can start with and configure to build your applications. While the underlying configuration model supports moving components around in the layout (and even adding and removing components from an application), the initial version of Designer won’t yet provide an interface for editing layouts.

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 can be licensed as a standalone product, or as part of Geocortex Essentials. By itself, Geocortex Web Viewer 5 can be licensed on an annual subscription basis, or on a perpetual basis with ongoing maintenance. In either case, the price is set according to the number of ArcGIS identities activated in the licensing organization, or the number of ArcGIS Server cores licensed by the organization. The number of identities or cores will establish a licensing tier with an associated cost. Larger organizations can pursue custom, ELA licensing. Access to the SaaS (cloud-hosted) edition of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 requires subscription licensing. Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is also offered as part of different editions of Geocortex Essentials. Both Geocortex Essentials Standard Edition and Geocortex Essentials Enterprise Edition include Geocortex Web Viewer 5. Geocortex Essentials Web AppBuilder Edition does not include Geocortex Web Viewer 5, as Esri’s Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS® is the viewer framework for building applications for that edition.

Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions 8.

Can I try Geocortex Web Viewer 5 before I buy it?

Yes. Geocortex Web Viewer 5 offers a time-limited (60 day) trial that can be used to evaluate the software. During the trial, both the Designer and configured web GIS applications will contain an unobtrusive-but-visual indication that they are trial versions. Upon licensing, all applications authored during the trial are preserved, and the Designer and configured web applications no longer contain a trial version indicator.

9. How does Geocortex Web Viewer 5 integrate with my Esri implementation?

Application administrators who wish to build web GIS applications will sign into the Geocortex Web Viewer Designer interface using an ArcGIS identity associated with ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. Authored application configurations are stored in – and shared using – ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. Authored application sharing can also be set to allow unauthenticated public access.

10. How does Geocortex Web Viewer 5 work with web maps and web scenes?

Web maps and web scenes are referenced and used directly inside Geocortex Web Viewer 5 applications. Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is natively fluent in reading and visualizing the configuration of a web map or a web scene, which are at the core of Esri’s geoinformation model. GWV goes one step further: in addition to allowing for additional configuration extending the capabilities of web maps and web scenes, GWV also allows web maps and web scenes to work together.

11.

How does Geocortex Web Viewer 5 integrate with Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS?

Unlike other Geocortex Essentials 5-series capabilities that integrate with Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is an alternative viewer framework. When considering how to address a business problem with a web GIS application, customers have the choice to use either Geocortex Web Viewer or Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, depending on what best suits their needs.

12. How do Geocortex Web Viewer 5 and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS differ?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS are both viewer frameworks responsible for loading and displaying web maps and web scenes along with component/widget-based tools for interacting with the underlying spatial data to inform and do work. Both produce JavaScript based web GIS applications. While the concepts are similar, there are significant technology differences between the viewer framework approaches. A few of these differences are: Geocortex Web Viewer 5

Esri Web AppBuilder 2.9

Uses Esri JavaScript 4.x API for 2D maps

Uses Esri JavaScript 3.x API for 2D maps

Custom components are built and integrated with TypeScript, React, and JSON

Custom widgets are built and integrated with JavaScript, Dojo, HTML, CSS, and JSON

Custom layout is done with XML, referencing JSON configured components

Custom layout is done with folder structure, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML along with a JSON manifest

Full integrated support for i18n

i18n is done as part of custom layouts

Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions 13. Is an ArcGIS identity/named user required to build or access web GIS applications?

ArcGIS identities are required for saving and sharing applications within a portal (Portal for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online). Applications are stored in ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS as items. End-users will be able to access and run applications that are shared with everyone without having to sign in. If the application is protected in a portal, then end-users must sign in with their ArcGIS identities to access and run the application. Administrators using the cloud-hosted or installed Geocortex Web Viewer Designer application will sign in with an Editor level ArcGIS identity to be able to save web GIS applications as items within a portal.

14. What software do I need to use Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is offered as a cloud-hosted SaaS product or as on-premises installed software. We strongly recommend you understand the additional benefits of the SaaS solution before you move toward an on-premises deployment. With the SaaS or on-premises editions, you need to be able to sign in with an ArcGIS identity, and store web GIS application items within an ArcGIS Online organization or Portal for ArcGIS instance to design web GIS applications. With the on-premises installed software, you will additionally need a Windows server with IIS and Microsoft .NET to host Geocortex Web Viewer Designer and GWV applications.

15. What documentation is available for Geocortex Web Viewer 5? Will any tutorials be provided?

GWV documentation can be found in the Geocortex Documentation Center as it is released. Conceptual documentation, how-to tutorials, videos, samples, and reference documentation can be found there, and the product ships with the most common out-of-the-box layouts ready for configuration.

16. Is there any training available?

Yes. We’ve already begun planning and working on training materials and courses for Geocortex Web Viewer 5. Learners can expect to be proficient in creating and managing web GIS applications using the Designer interface.

17. What is the underlying technology behind Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 has several components. The web-based designer is a web application and uses TypeScript and React to build the front end. The designer produces static files that describe the web GIS application. The web viewer is also a web application and uses TypeScript and React along with the application configuration produced by Designer to create the final web GIS application experience for the end user. Also noteworthy is the fact that GWV is based upon Esri web maps and Esri web scenes, which make up a significant portion of the overall configuration.

Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions 18. How is support offered for Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

Support for GWV is included in the subscription cost, or within maintenance if purchased via a perpetual license. Customers that are evaluating Geocortex Web Viewer 5 will receive dedicated pre-sales support from a member of the Geocortex team. In addition to support for incorrect operation, licensees can also ask questions, share ideas, and seek assistance in configuring GWV in the Geocortex Essentials 5-Series Community.

19. My organization can’t use SaaS offerings. Can I deploy Geocortex Web Viewer 5 on-premises?

Yes. Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is offered both as a cloud-hosted, SaaS offering and as on-premises installed software. Customers who choose to license with a subscription can use either SaaS or on-premises deployment methods, and customers who choose to license perpetually may use the on-premises edition only.

20. Are there any feature differences between the SaaS and on-premises offerings of Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

Very few. The long-term vision for the SaaS version of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is to allow custom components to participate directly in the SaaS environment. This vision will not be available at the initial release, however; customers requiring custom components will be required to install on-premises. On initial release, there may also be small differences in how licensing is enforced.

21. Does the SaaS version offer unlimited scalability? Yes. Geocortex Web Viewer 5 has been optimized for scalability: • • •

GWV is webpack optimized to ensure optimal package size and composition so that a client downloads only what is needed, when it is needed; GWV is distributed using industry best practice CDN (content delivery network) patterns, which allow efficient distribution and delivery of content on a large scale; and Once downloaded, GWV operates entirely client-side, ensuring no server bottlenecks.

22. What if I want the elastic scalability of the cloud, but the ability to access my intranet data? As with most web GIS applications, services that are private should be published as secured services using standard ArcGIS-compatible methods including: Esri portal identity secured, token secured, or HTTP auth secured.

23. Which operating systems will the on-premises version of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 be compatible with?

Before considering an on-premises solution, be sure you are familiar with the benefits of the SaaS offering for GWV. For on-premises deployments, Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is built for a Windows Server 2012 (or greater) environment and will not be compatible with Unix/Linux servers.

Geocortex Web Viewer 5: Frequently Asked Questions 24. What tools and capabilities should I expect in the first version of Geocortex Web Viewer 5? The first version of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 provides beautiful, fast web mapping applications focused on information presentation and information access use cases. • • • • • • • • • • • •

Initial capabilities include: Brand-able and theme-able applications Layout primitives (stacks, splits, panels, tabs) Support for 2D maps and 3D scenes using Esri JavaScript 4.x API 2D/3D Sync or Toggle Search Identify Results highlighting Results List Results refinement Results Table Feature Details

• • • • • • • • • • • •

I want to… menu Toolbar Geocortex Workflow 5 support Geocortex Reporting 5 support Legend Simple layer list Base map gallery Geolocation Bookmarks Scalebar Map coordinates Feature Heatmaps

25. What is the end-user experience for running a web GIS application?

The end-user experience is launched from a specific URL inside a web browser. Depending on how the administrator has configured the application, the end-user may be immediately required to sign in, may be prompted to sign in at first access of secured content, or may never be required to sign in.

26. Will Geocortex Web Viewer 5 have internationalization support for translations?

Yes. Geocortex Web Viewer 5 has created a full set of language strings to support internationalization and uses a dedicated SaaS service for managing translations provided by international partners. Additionally, there is support for internationalization directly within the Designer for text that is part of your own application configuration.

Questions for Existing Geocortex Customers 27. How is Geocortex Web Viewer 5 different from the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5?

Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 is the most robust, fully-featured, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) web GIS viewer framework available in the market today… and for at least the next 24 months. While Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 is based upon Esri’s established JavaScript 3.x API, Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is based upon Esri’s new-and-maturing JavaScript 4.x API. Esri makes it clear that “version 4.x is a substantial overhaul of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript and its mapping components. Consider rewriting applications instead of simply trying to update them.”

Questions for Existing Geocortex Customers Early versions of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 will not have feature parity with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5. Instead, the focus is upon improving the speed and beauty of the most common information access use cases, and upon the new 3D capabilities available in Esri’s JavaScript 4.x API.

28. What is the configuration model for Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

GWV introduces a new configuration model based upon defining component function in an app.json file and independently defining application layout of those components in a layout.xml file. This change allows far greater flexibility over the look and feel of an application without affecting how a component functions; this is something customers have been requesting for quite some time.

29. Why are you building a new, standalone web viewer framework?

Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is part of our commitment to ensuring customers have reliable Geocortex capabilities that align with the latest Esri technologies. In the case of Geocortex Web Viewer 5, Esri’s new JavaScript 4.x API necessitated a new viewer framework.

30. Do I get access to Geocortex Web Viewer 5 with my Geocortex Essentials maintenance?

Yes. A Geocortex Essentials perpetual software licensee that is active on maintenance will be entitled to use the on-premises version of Geocortex Web Viewer 5. Organizations that have a subscription to Geocortex Essentials will also be able to use Geocortex Web Viewer 5 in a cloud-hosted SaaS environment.

31. Is there significant difference between Geocortex Web Viewer 5 and other Geocortex Essentials 5-series products?

You will see more similarities than differences when comparing Geocortex Web Viewer 5 to other Geocortex Essentials 5-series products by Geocortex. One key difference is that unlike the capabilities-based products such as Geocortex Workflow, Geocortex Printing, and Geocortex Reporting, which are designed to work within both Geocortex viewer frameworks and within Esri’s Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS viewer framework, GWV is a viewer framework, and customers will need to choose between GWV and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS when building web GIS applications.

32. How long will Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 be supported?

There aren’t any retirement or deprecation plans for existing Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 technology. In fact, we are still regularly releasing small features and bug fixes for this viewer, as it is still appropriate for the majority of use cases and will continue to be used for new implementations… particularly where features not yet supported by Geocortex Web Viewer 5 are needed.

33. Will applications I created with existing Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 technology work in the future Geocortex Web Viewer 5?

Yes... and no. As Geocortex Web Viewer 5 approaches feature parity with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5, we plan to provide a unidirectional conversion script to transform site+viewer configuration into the new app+layout configuration. This will cover most out-of-the-box use cases and will provide a good starting point for configuring the same functionality within Geocortex Web Viewer Designer.

Questions for Existing Geocortex Customers Configurations that have been extensively hand-edited may not be compatible with this conversion script. Custom components written for Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 will need to be re-written for compatibility with Esri JavaScript 4.x API, updated to use the new AMD patterns this API specifies, and re-integrated into Geocortex Web Viewer 5.

34. Will Geocortex Web Viewer 5 support the workflow and/or reporting capabilities in Geocortex Essentials 4.x?

Early in the development of Geocortex Web Viewer 5 we worked hard to find a way to support these existing technologies; unfortunately, there was no clear and obvious way to do so due to foundational technology differences. All Geocortex Essentials 5-Series products will work within Geocortex Web Viewer 5.

35. Should I defer web GIS application development until Geocortex Web Viewer 5 is released?

No. While there are new capabilities (particularly around 3D) supported by Esri’s JavaScript 4.x API, we anticipate that many new implementations will continue to use Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 for its larger set of built-in tools and capabilities.

36. What might I not be able to do with Geocortex Web Viewer 5 that I can currently do with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5? At the initial release of Geocortex Web Viewer 5, there are several things you won’t be able to do.

We anticipate it will take at least 24 months after its initial release for Geocortex Web Viewer 5 to achieve feature parity with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5. The theme for our first release is providing beautiful, fast web mapping applications focused on information presentation and information access use cases. This leaves room for future development to deal with data in the enterprise and does not initially include tools or capabilities such as: • • • • • •

Allowing end-users to get data in and out of the application; Integrations and integration framework, such as the 3rd party map extension; Business collaboration and analysis tools such as markup, measurement, and projects; Feature editing; Time-aware data support; and/or Advanced query and query builder use cases.

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