The New ArcGIS Runtime

MapObjects and ArcGIS Engine – and now ArcGIS Runtime

For those of you that have developed and still use MapObjects – it may very well be the time to say goodbye to your good old friend. Like many of you, I too have used MapObjects to great effect, doing simple things that enable people to do their work (mind you that was like in the 90’s). This also goes for ArcGIS Engine, though I personally have not developed any production systems with Engine.

While MapObjects is great to develop in, with its course grain API and simple to use constructs – it does not work with Geodatabases/ArcGIS Server, and Esri has not been selling MapObjects for quite some time (and not maintaining it). ArcGIS Engine is really the application-less set of API’s that give you fine grained access to the non-UI based ArcObjects stack. Very powerful and totally in-sync with ArcObjects and therefore Geodatabases. But centered on Windows and a large footprint when installed. ArcGIS Engine still has its place for the fine grained access to ArcObjects – if that is what you need for your project.

So what is the new thing coming at 10.1? And is it going to converge the best of MO with Engine?

ArcGIS Runtime

Well, announced a week or so ago (FedUC), and there have been some internal rumblings from Redlands – is the ArcGIS Runtime – and this is scheduled for release with the 10.1 release.

The key points about the ArcGIS Runtime:

  • Small Footprint
  • Very Fast Display
  • Easy to Deploy
  • Native 64 and 32 bit
  • Windows and Linux
  • Connected and Disconnected
  • Works with Geodatabases and ArcGIS web services

From what I can glean from presentations and off the record conversations is that the following API’s will be supported:

I look at that list.. and think – very interesting bordering on excitement – cross platform, course grained API, Linux and Windows and 64 Bit. Ok so that all looks really good…

Given the nature of what information has been released, from a functionality perspective Esri has been moving towards GP as the automation and analysis framework (publish tools to server, share with other desktops and applications), feature template based editing (great for field people who have no connectivity) and fast map displays – so this trend will also no doubt be part of the scope of work for the ArcGIS Runtime.

What, Where and When?

Over the past years there have been some interesting Esri R&D projects in Redlands/Portland/Edinburgh that have looked at simplifying the nature of the ArcGIS programming model – and in a nutshell from what I can see, the ArcGIS Runtime looks to take the best of both ArcGIS Engine and MapObjects – so watch this space;

Dev Summit (More detailed information will be presented)

– 10.1 Release Schedule (Beta Q2 this year – get onto the Beta program if interested)

Cheers –


>>Just to note – there are no plans to deprecate ArcGIS Engine at 10.1 or later – see this document for all the latest news on what is changing in the ArcGIS stack.

1 thought on “The New ArcGIS Runtime

  1. Pingback: ESRI Developer Summit - Day 1 | Samuel Mota

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