What’s Coming in the ArcGIS API 4.2 for JavaScript

Blog Post created by l.schmitzesri-de-esridist Employee on Dec 12, 2016

We are excited about the upcoming version 4.2 of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. Julie Powell, product manager at Esri Inc., just wrote an outlook at what we can expect from this release:


We are in the home stretch preparing the next 4.x release of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. Here are a few highlights about the release that developers can look forward to.

Vector Tile Layers Revamped … in 2D AND 3D!
Vector tile layers give you the ability to display vector data at the highest available resolution without compromising performance. It also lets you tailor map styles for specific apps and end user’s needs without having to recook tiles.


Visualize vector tiles in 3D
Vector tile layers have been supported since version 4.0 of the JavaScript API. Now with version 4.2 you will be able to visualize them in a 3D local scene or 3D globe. All of the things that you are familiar with doing with vector tiles in 2D now applies to 3D. For example, you might want to simply turn off your basemap’s building footprints and instead show a proposed buildings layer in your app. This is accomplished by modifying the style, without having to make any changes to your tile cache.

Basemaps and operational layers
Your 3D scene can display one of Esri’s vector tile basemaps; either as-is or with your own custom style. You can also use ArcGIS Pro to create and publish vector tile layers with your own data. While we traditionally think of vector tile layers in terms of basemaps, they can also be operational layers.

Now with version 4.2, your vector tile layers can be created and displayed in any projection in a 2D map and either WGS84 or Web Mercator on a 3D globe.

There are more exciting enhancements planned for vector tiles in 2017.

New ways of visualizing your data in 3D
In addition to adding support for vector tiles in 3D scenes, 4.2 will introduce a few more ways to work with your data in 3D.

3D Smart Mapping: continuous color and size
Scheduled next week, ArcGIS Online will introduce 3D Smart Mapping in the WebScene Viewer. This will let you to explore different ways of visualizing your point data by varying the size and color according to attribute values. The styling is saved to the WebScene, and you can load it in your JavaScript app using a few lines of code. More 3D Smart Mapping options will continue to be added throughout 2017.

New point cloud layer
Display a point cloud in your app to answer questions such as: “Is my data accurate?” “Has someone built a new structure I don’t know about?” “Where is tree vegetation growing into power lines?”

Widgets, widgets, widgets…
Widget Development Model
Developers have the choice of using API widgets out-of-the-box, styling them with CSS, or creating their own custom view (UI) on top of the API widgets’ business logic. They can also create their own custom widgets from scratch. This release will include resources covering the widget development model and guidance for building your own custom widget.

LayerList and Print widgets
The LayerList and Print widgets will be available in version 4.2. Both widgets have been designed from the ground up with a clean user experience and responsive design. They also follow the API’s view model architecture for extensibility and customization.

Stay tuned for 4.2
Version 4.2 will continue the pattern of introducing new innovation while bringing across 3.x capabilities. The Choosing a Version guide and detailed Functionality Matrix will be updated to reflect the API’s status for reaching parity with 3.x.

Version 4.2 will be a great release! Version 3.19 is also planned to release in the same timeframe with key enhancements and bug fixes. Stay tuned for the official release announcements in the coming weeks.