Option to Redirect Applications that have been 'Retired'

1277
8
06-16-2016 07:49 AM
Status: Open
MichaelKelly
Occasional Contributor III


Applications are often updated with newer more functional better looking templates as they are developed. For example, I'm sure many users will update applications to the latest Basic viewer included with the June 2016 release of ArcGIS Online. However when you do this you are going to have a new application URL. Users may have bookmarked or stored an older version of the viewer. If there were an option to 'redirect' users to the latest version of the application when the old retired version is opened this would be never be a problem.

8 Comments
pfoppe
by MVP

This would be highly useful!  We struggle with using AGOL web-maps/apps as an enterprise solution, specifically around software dev/test/prod release management.  Sometimes we do end up building a brand new item often receive complaints when the old item is removed.  

I could see implementation something like: 

  • In the item settings (maybe in the delete protection section) have an optional boolean attribute to allow the owner to 'enable a redirect'.
  • If this is enabled the user can specify a new item id that the clients will be re-directed to.  

Possibly prompt the user to setup a redirect when items are deleted?  This could get overwhelming for most users though. 

If this is implemented, it would be valuable to have a dashboard of items that have redirects enabled and some statistics of use (how many re-directs over time for each item).  This would allow our organization to periodically review what items can be completly deleted (like if there are really low re-direct statistics).  

We often use re-directs for on-premise applications for situations just like this.  Sometimes the redirect only stays around for a few weeks/months, other times they stay around for years.  We use IIS Access statistic logs to identify how many hits were redirected and make a decision on when to disable the redirect.  

Thank you for the idea!!!  

pfoppe
by MVP

Furthermore, I think this should be implemented for any item, not just web-apps.  

JeffThomasILM

I would also like to see the capability to redirect. I was thinking it could be triggered by marking an item as deprecated, which Esri rolled out after this idea was originally posted (Dec. 2017). This seems like a natural extension of metadata: if an item is deprecated, it should have a pointer to the superseding item. Both on the back-end and user-facing.

Which leads to a related request: There should be an obvious marker on the item itself if it has been deprecated, not just on its item information page which many people will never see. I'm envisioning a system-generated splash widget that informs the user of the item's deprecated status and offers a link to the superseding item. It would be the item creator's option to force the user to redirect to the new item or allow them to proceed to the deprecated item.

BrianFausel

Two thumbs WAY up for this request!! I would like to add my example to this idea, though it's not much different than what has been described above:

We have a lot of users that use only 1 or 2 apps, and our experience is that these "lite" users get confused when you introduce them to the concept of the ArcGIS Online content navigation (Home, Gallery, Groups, etc). It doesn't matter how many times you tell them to go to Groups. It also doesn't matter if you directly bookmark the Group page where you can add and remove apps with no problem. We get around this by bookmarking apps directly. Sometimes the users even bookmark the apps themselves.

Over time the apps need to be updated or changed, and it would be ideal to build the new app in tandem with the old one and then set up a redirect when the new app is ready. Right now we basically have to "change it live" and modify the existing app and hope the changes do not adversely affect users. This does not allow us enough time to test all the changes before users start seeing them.

The final issue: we get pushback from IT about having to "update bookmarks constantly."

JeffThomasILM

jeff.thomasilm wrote:

I'm envisioning a system-generated splash widget that informs the user of the item's deprecated status and offers a link to the superseding item. It would be the item creator's option to force the user to redirect to the new item or allow them to proceed to the deprecated item.

A splash widget is only applicable when directly viewing an item on ArcGIS Online. What about individual services being used via REST in other web or desktop maps, which likely constitutes the majority of use cases? Perhaps maps/apps on ArcGIS Online could be notified via some internal method, but what about external use? I'm guessing REST has no mechanism for passing the deprecated status. Even if REST was able to pass a service's deprecated status, then what? I guess the service's layer in the table of contents (ArcMap or Pro) could have some sort of symbol warning the user (however, Esri seems resistant to suggestions of status markings on layers in the ToC). Or in the case of a web map, if a legend is present a deprecated symbol could be placed on the respective layer(s). Perhaps even a pop-up could appear letting you know layer X is deprecated. But I fear this message would mostly be seen by users unable to do anything about it, creating annoyance or confusion.

As to my second suggestion above, forcing a redirect, I have no idea how or if that could work via REST. 

The bottom line is, there really needs to be a way to push deprecation status to anywhere an item is being used. I don't have a good solution to this, but hopefully Esri is thinking about it. 

WilliamWiesepape

This would be very valuable for migrations from one Portal to another. Please make sure that this is not just limited to redirecting to an item on the same Portal.

ScottStopyak

I love this idea. Currently, when building an app I use a URL redirect from our own web server. That works for keeping links the same on our page but it doesn't help for folks who have visited the app and then bookmarked it. 

JayJohnsonWashoeCounty

Yes, absolutely, this is becoming a critical need as web apps become a larger part of our GIS toolkit.

Esri, please put this in your product plan.