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09-27-2013 07:36 AM
CaseyBentz
Occasional Contributor II
This is what I was waiting for? I have been told since Dev Summit 2012 that the offline editing would be supported and soon, it feels like you are catering to the lowest level user group with these updates. I am very frustrated with the Esri Flex API at this point. In June I was told replica based offline editing would be available as part of the next release. It seems like the only things being added anymore relate to stuff I could care less about...ArcGIS Online (so successful they had to give it away with desktop), InfoGraphics: what the hell is an info graphic and why do my customers give a hoot about an info graphic?

Every couple of weeks I have at least one person come up to me and say, we have this data collection method that isn't working for us anymore and we would like to take the GIS data out to the field and collect attributes and photos and so on and we want to do it using one of those awesome FLEX apps you build. I say and have been saying for over a year and a half, can it wait until later, Esri is going to be releasing a version of the API, and soon (so they say), that will allow me to create a fully supported offline editing application.

I guess the positive is that they are used to this answer so it doesn't sting quite so bad anymore.
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4 Replies
DougCarroll
Esri Contributor
I suspect the offline messaging may have gotten mixed with other products, in particular Server and ArcGIS Online which Flex relies on heavily.  In putting together offline editing features we had to make sure Server could handle the replication and sync process given the geodatabase model, which has many features as you know.  The Server side piece was delivered in ArcGIS Online in the past release, inside hosted feature services.  The goal is to have this same feature in the ArcGIS for Server 10.2.1 release which is due out before 2014.

Also any day we have plans to release our new ArcGIS Runtime SDKs which will have offline editing capabilities in Beta and other offline features.  You should take a look at these!  As for Flex, I am sorry but I suspect the message got mixed.  Looking around I see someone from the team said our offline timeline is still unclear.  However, I know folks are doing it!  If find the link I will post back.  Also check out this link here explaining how to visualize TPKs basemaps offline.

http://thunderheadxpler.blogspot.com/2012/03/offline-tpk-viewer-in-flex-mobile.html

http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2012/04/11/flex-recap-of-2012-developer-summit/
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CaseyBentz
Occasional Contributor II
Doug, thanks for the info. 

I guess my frustrations stem from false assurances and promises that I have received from the Flex Team.  I have had conversations with different members of the team at the last 2 dev summits, and each time I am assured that the Flex API will include offline editing and soon.  At the 2012 summit, I was assured it was slated for development and would be ready by the end of 2012.  At the 2013 summit, I discussed this issue with Dasa, among others, and he stated it was believed that it would be included following the release of 10.2.  On June 3rd (with the excitement of the forthcoming 3.4 release), I sent an email to Dasa asking for clarification on this topic, and he forwarded my question to Bjorn Svensson (Lead Product Engineer for the Esri Flex Team) who responded with disappointing news. He stated that the 3.4 release would not support offline mapping and editing, but that it would be supported later this year.  I again asked for timeline clarification, and he responded stating that the replica stuff would be available in the September (maybe August) release, meaning 3.5.  When the 3.5 release was made public, of course the replica stuff was not in there. 

The Server side piece was delivered in ArcGIS Online in the past release, inside hosted feature services. The goal is to have this same feature in the ArcGIS for Server 10.2.1 release which is due out before 2014.

Are you saying here that, my instance of ArcGIS Server does not support the offline editing, but will in the 10.2.1 release?  And when that happens, the Flex team will be able to add this functionality to the API?

I am confused by your recommendation to take a look at hacking my way around TPKs when TPK basemaps are part of the core functionality of the Flex API. In looking at the resources page I find it has been since the 3.1 release, right? Am I missing your point?
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BjornSvensson
Esri Regular Contributor
Are you saying here that, my instance of ArcGIS Server does not support the offline editing, but will in the 10.2.1 release?

Yes.  (Well, technically there was already partial support).  The complete offline editing story will indeed require ArcGIS 10.2.1 (or ArcGIS Online).

And when that happens, the Flex team will be able to add this functionality to the API?

It would be possible, but we don't have any plans to do that. See below.

ArcGIS Server 10.2.1 will have better support for sync and offline editing.  This is the server version that is required by the Runtime SDKs (released yesterday) to do offline editing.  Yesterday's releases of iOS and Androids SDK have BETA functionality for offline editing. Ref: https://developers.arcgis.com/en/ios/info/what-s-new-10-2-.htm and https://developers.arcgis.com/en/android/whats-new.html

Like I mentioned before, we no longer have any plans to add this functionality to the ArcGIS API for Flex.  Our original plan was indeed to support it within the API once the server side fully supported it, so I don't think it was "false assurances". Those were our plans back then, but sometime plans change.
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MarkHoyland
Occasional Contributor II
Casey, There is a company called geocortex that has out of the box mapping solutions on top of arcgis server. It is a commercial product but they have off line editing capabilities. They have a silverlight viewer and a HTML5 viewer with a central administration interface. They are putting in a lot of work into the html5 viewer. You can write your own custom modules to plug into it as well. I am by no means here to sell their product but just to say other options are available.
Unfortunately Flex is dying a slow death. It is going to be around for quite a few years but the reality is it is dying. Flex is my favourite development platform and I still build custom internal flex mapping apps. But here at sutherland council we decided to look at where things are going and commercial option seems to be a better long term investment. The commercial company can do all the heavy lifting of keeping up with the technologies and I can focus on administering, as well as adding custom tools. As with everything there are pros and cons. Commercial options might seem like a lot of money, but you have to weigh up how much in time it costs to keep up/learn new technologies, and build your own solutions, and support them.
If commercial is no option, then at some stage (if you are a realist then you will already know this) you will have to bite the bullet and move over to the javascript api, and start building your own html5 solutions.
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