Where I work, we love Collector. We love it, and we hate it. Specifically, we love what it can already do and we love how it does the vast majority of it. Like any customer though, there are things we hate about it and most of that is related to our own selfish needs and desires for the application to conform to our specific workflows.
Now, it would be unrealistic of us to expect Esri to change the Collector for ArcGIS application based on the needs of a single customer. We know this because we've asked them several times to make changes to the application and Esri responded that it is unrealistic of us to expect Esri to change the Collector for ArcGIS application based on the needs of a single customer.
We actually totally understand that and agree. That is unrealistic. Esri has tens of thousands of not hundreds of thousands of customers from every industry imaginable and Collector strives to serve them all. Every single change has to be very carefully thought out and must be implemented in very broad ways so as to support the maximum number of workflows. We get it.
So, we asked them for the source code so we could change it ourselves and deploy it internally. We didn't really see anything wrong with that.
- Esri is not monetizing the application.
- The Collector4ArcGIS team admitted at the 2014 DevSummit that it was built using Esri's SDKs and there was no black magic or special voodoo code-tricks going on in the app to make it work.
- Since it's built using the Esri Runtime SDKs, we would still need to leverage Esri products on the backend to support it so we couldn't (and wouldn't want to) undermine their business model - ie. we'd still need an ArcGIS Server and Portal along with many other pieces of the puzzle running on the backend and that's where the money supporting Collector is made anyway.
Releasing the source code for Collector is something that would allow companies like mine to simply make the desired changes on our own and deploy it internally as an Enterprise App.
Esri however, kindly declined this request and didn't specify a reason for declining. Of course, that's their right. They did develop it and they can do with it as they please.
So, given that Esri
- Won't release the source code for Collector
- Cannot implement meaningful changes for each and every organization/customer
- Decided not to support Windows 7 with the Collector for Windows app - even though Windows 7 still commands the vast majority of market share for the Enterprise OS market
I'd like to know if any of you GeoNerds out there want to band together and work with me on creating an AppStudio Template as that gets as close as we can possibly get to Collector, which can be compiled for any platform and the source code of the template will be completely open and freely available.
Who's in? Feel free to chime in here as well Esri folks. Maybe you've got some plans in the works that would give us pause?