Another Successful DevSummit Europe in Berlin

11-02-2017 06:28 PM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Now, in our fifth annual Developer Summit Europe conference, as much as we have learned over the years, we have also grown and are better than ever. Here are some highlights from the event and all of the enriching sessions, activities, and networking opportunities that took place:

Pre-Summit Hands-On Training

While short tech sessions during a conference are a great way to spin up on the latest tools and capabilities within an API, sometimes nothing beats spending a day getting some hands-on training, to put your hands (and your code) directly onto an API, to build up skills that you can put to productive use right away in your work, apps, and projects and given that JavaScript is the most popular app development API among our user community, and Python is more and more the 'language of the ArcGIS platform', we figured those two would be most popular amongst those who chose to attend DevSummit. 

  • ArcGIS Python API - Ben Ramseth introduced the ArcGIS Python API, which allows ArcGIS users to automate their workflows and perform repetitive tasks by writing Python scripts. With about a dozen attendees, Ben taught about automating the administration and management of an ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online Organization, cloning contents of one portal to another, analyzing GIS datasets, creating illustrative reports using Python notebooks, and creating new content or publishing the analysis results as web layers and web maps.
  • ArcGIS API for JavaScript - Andy Gup leads attendees along the journey of creating web apps featuring ArcGIS content and capabilities. ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.x streamlines app development and capabilities to incorporate 2D and 3D content. Andy takes this workshop to introduce the API classes, components, and functionality to help users create web applications.


The following format for the plenary this year was quite different from years passed. Instead of the usual ArcGIS theme, we chose to focus on more of the APIs and their features:

Introduction to the DevSummit
ArcGIS for Developers
ArcGIS API for JavaScript
ArcGIS Runtime SDKs
The ArcGIS Developer Experience
ArcGIS API for Python

Many of the attendees appreciated this format and felt that it really answered a lot of the questions they had about our upcoming features and available tools. We also enjoyed presenting in this format and will consider maintaining it in the future.

Technical Sessions

Over 45 unique technical sessions were offered at DevSummit. Some of the presentations included, but were not limited to, the following: 


ArcGIS API for JavaScript: Building Mobile Web Apps was presented by Andy Gup. This session helped users to learn about important design and implementation considerations for building mobile apps for JavaScript through the use of a Mobile First approach.

App Design and CSS Styling with the ArcGIS API 4.x for JavaScript was presented by Allan Laframboise. This session covered how to work with CSS for the new ArcGIS API 4.x for JavaScript. It included how to perform the manual overrides, access to the SASS libraries, and how to re-build the CSS libraries to create custom versions.

ArcGIS API for JavaScript: Tips and Tricks for Developing and Debugging was presented by Mark Jagt and Maarten van Hulten. This session helped users to learn quickly and easily how to find and fix problems in their web mapping applications. It helped to guide users how to set up their dev environment to write cleaner code. They showed users some debugging tools to debug, style, and optimize their apps. 


ArcGIS Runtime SDKs: An Introduction to the API and Architecture was presented by Euan Cameron and David Cardella. This session presented an introduction to the Runtime SDKs, the advantages of using them, and an overview of the API. 

ArcGIS Runtime SDKs: Building 3D Applications was presented by Mark Baird and Luke Smallwood. This session provided details and inspirations for developers as they think of using 3D as they design and build their Runtime apps.

ArcGIS Runtime SDKs for Qt, Android, and Java: Building Apps sessions were presented so users developing on Windows, Linux, Desktop, and smartphone/tablet applications could use Runtime to easily build interactive mapping applications.


Administering ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online with Python was presented by Rohit Singh and Ben Ramseth. This session taught Web GIS administrators how to use the ArcGIS Python API to automate some of their most repetitive tasks and use scripts instead of the UI and clicking through.  

Geospatial Data Science and Analysis using ArcGIS API for Python was presented by Rohit Singh and Matthias Schenker. This session covered how analysts and data scientists can use the ArcGIS platform in combination with data science libraries from Python for mapping, visualization, and geospatial data analysis. 


ArcGIS API for JavaScript: Using Arcade with Your Apps was presented by Rene Rubalcava. This session provided an overview for users on how to navigate the Arcade documentation while highlighting some key functions available in Arcade. Rene demonstrated how the live Arcade editor in ArcGIS Online could be a powerful tool in helping attendees write, edit, and execute custom expressions.  



With sincere thanks and gratitude, we would like to take a moment to share how very important con terra is to us as an organization. Without their support, our event would not be the same. Their participation at our Esri DevSummit events has been invaluable, and we are overwhelmed with appreciation for all that they do in this #geo world. Many thanks to you, con terra!

Tech Talk

In between tech sessions and breaks, we had our Tech Talk areas: Desktop, Native, Web, and ArcGIS Online/Enterprise. These areas were housed with Esri staff so that at any time, a user could walk up and ask a question they may have related to those areas. Most users found this quite useful when they had remaining questions that they wanted to have answered that may have been a bit more specific about their use of our platform.

Developer User Community Events

  • SpeedGeeking

This event is a great way to break the ice with some of our attendees by inviting them to listen to a new technology or feature of our technology that an Esri presenter shares within five minutes. Borrowing the concept of SpeedDating, we ask users to select one of our twelve stations to start, and we start the clock for our presenter to talk for five minutes. Within the hour, all of our attendees are able to learn about each new idea/concept/feature in a fast and unique way. Here were our speakers and what they covered:

Andy GupUsing Angular with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript
Ben RamsethUsing the ArcGIS API for Python
Rene RubalcavaWebGL or Bust!
Simon HaeglerCityEngine and the Unreal Game Engine
Niklas KoehnExtension of Standard Web AppBuilder Widgets by Inheritance via TypeScript
Antti KajanusTaking a Webmap Offline with ArcGIS Runtime
Daniel CroninWorld View - Building a Chrome Extension with Esri Leaflet
Matt JonesMapstyler - Styling Vector Tiles using Photos
Javier Gutierrez3D with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript
Matthias SchenkerAugmented Reality

  • User Presentations

Users were given the opportunity to present their own development projects and ways they've leveraged the ArcGIS platform. 

Sven Aanesen from Geodata in Norway presented his talk, "Success with Custom Native Apps". In this talk, Sven discusses how Geodata is helping the Norwegian Environment Agency with mapping nature types in a classification system. They have developed an advanced and customized iPad app to do so. They have a unique user interface with focus on quick user input, ease of use, and advanced geometry sketching with a complex set of rules. The app has proven to become a much appreciated tools for the users. The collection of very detailed data is performed outdoors every summer and is using ArcGIS SDK for offline support. This user presentation was a great example of how our users are able to leverage the usage of ArcGIS to expand their product to their customers and other agencies.

  • Lightning Talks 

We had a few great lightning talks this year that covered routing, street level imagery, and the use of OpenStreetMap (OSM) on ArcGIS Online.

Christopher Beddow from Mapillary covered using their API and integrations in general with the Esri JavaScript API, Web AppBuilder, ArcGIS Online, and also what they've been able to gain from their use of ArcGIS Pro.

Simon Geigenberger presented his five minute lightning talk on the Python script he wrote that can be used to convert data from OpenStreetMap into Feature Services that can be hosted on ArcGIS Online. In his talk, he describes the main steps from OpenStreetMap to ArcGIS Online:

Read and validate configuration data

Get the data from OpenStreetMap

Store the data in the pandas data frame

Publish the data on ArcGIS Online

Finally, he showed a feature service that is published using the script.

Jans Wilkening presented a web-based 3D campus routing developed at the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg that solves the problem of finding rooms throughout buildings on university campuses. The solution presented was based on ArcGIS Desktop, the JavaScript API, and a Network Service hosted on the ArcGIS Server. 

The Party

We returned to Hofbräu in Berlin for our Wednesday night party. With a nice selection of meat, potato soup, pretzel pieces, and beer, our attendees and staff were able to enjoy each other's company and introduce one another and what we do in a relaxed setting. It was a great time had by all, and we were able to make new friends and lasting work relationships.


While goodbyes are always difficult, the closing session at DevSummit is the greatest way to gather feedback and address questions that come up throughout the conference. We also get to share some pretty fun stats on how much food was consumed, how many attendees we had with us, and where the audience feels we should focus our attention for future developer conferences. We had a great time spending the week with the developer community throughout Europe in Berlin, and we look forward to what is in the plans for next year's DevSummit Europe!

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