Can I host an WAB Developer app on AGOL?

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10-21-2015 12:26 PM
TabithaFraser1
New Contributor II

Hello,

If I customize an app using WAB for Developer, can I host it on AGOL like one would host an app created with the non-dev version of WAB?

I am aware that customizing the out of the box WAB and templates is not a supported workflow but I have not found direct confirmation that apps customized in Developer cannot be hosted. That being said, I'm assuming they can't because all of the help materials I've found only discuss deployment to your own server. But they don't specifically say it's not possible and I'd like to know for sure.

The Add Items​ section suggests you can link to your custom app so users can access it though your account but "Adding an app to ArcGIS Online only adds a reference to your URL; the website does not actually store the app files." Which I think means I can link to the app on my server but I can't host. But again, I'm not sure if I can't add my app another way.

Background: I'm working for a non-profit that has little interest or budget for a server or cloud space beyond the ArcGIS organizational account they've already purchased. But they would like to make some customizations to the app we've created with the non-dev WAB. I'm self-taught at most things computer science with a little programming experience, so I have some idea how servers and such work but I'm getting in a bit over my head with this project.

If anyone can give me a definitive answer I'd much appreciate it. Thanks!!!

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ColeAndrews
Occasional Contributor III

Tabitha-- Unfortunately, no, an app created outside of AGOL/Portal can not be pushed back in and hosted there. They need to be deployed on a web server. See Q2 on this site:

Clarifying 3 questions about Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS | ArcGIS Blog

What customization are you looking to do? If it is an analysis tool, perhaps you could create a Geoprocessing Service and plug it in to the Geoprocessing Widget?

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ColeAndrews
Occasional Contributor III

Tabitha-- Unfortunately, no, an app created outside of AGOL/Portal can not be pushed back in and hosted there. They need to be deployed on a web server. See Q2 on this site:

Clarifying 3 questions about Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS | ArcGIS Blog

What customization are you looking to do? If it is an analysis tool, perhaps you could create a Geoprocessing Service and plug it in to the Geoprocessing Widget?

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TabithaFraser1
New Contributor II

Thanks Cole! I think your assessment is correct.

Although, Q2 is also sort of vague when it comes to WAB Dev. There's one sentence that mentions it directly ("Only Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS Developer Edition supports custom widgets and leveraging them in the “builder” user experience."), and the rest is on what the embedded WAB and Portal can and can't do. The final sentence states, "Therefore, apps built from Web AppBuilder embedded in ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS can use custom widgets, but the app would not be hosted in ArcGIS Online, nor Portal for ArcGIS."

It makes sense to assume this also applies to WAB Dev (i.e. custom widgets/theme = no hosting on AGOL regardless of how the app was developed) but there's also a chance that it means only WAB Dev apps can be hosted with custom widgets because that's the official method for creating them, based on the sentence about WAB Dev in the first paragraph.

But I think I'm being too pedantic here, between this and all of the other help materials it's becoming more and more obvious that hosting on AGOL isn't allowed, even if it isn't stated directly. I'm just a bit paranoid after a couple of incidents where I did research and concluded what we were trying to do wasn't possible, only to find out later it was possible and I just didn't have the right search terms or it wasn't a well documented workflow...

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ColeAndrews
Occasional Contributor III

I completely understand your logic, but I too went down this rabbit hole at one point or another, only to find out it's not possible. I'm sure some others here on the forum can vouch the same.

I did see somewhere a while ago, Derek Law​ mentioned that while technically it is possible to get in to the inner-workings of Portal and modify the embedded WAB properties, you'd then be voiding the service agreement by modify esri software. Using AGOL, I don't think you could even do that since it's cloud based.

DerekLaw
Community Moderator

Hi Tabitha,

I just wanted to confirm Cole's comments. ArcGIS Online does NOT supporting hosting custom web apps, even from Web AppBuilder Developer Edition. You will need to host your own web apps on your own web server, which can then be referenced as items in your ArcGIS Online organization.

Hope this helps,