Making Web Apps that Sing

How exactly does a web application sing? A good question. Myself and Shahdin believe that in order to make your web application sing, it should aim to meet these three, high level, characteristics:

  • Perform well, even under load.
  • Intuitive design, fit for the audience viewing it.
  • A great user experience.

We kicked things off with some initial questions that you should ask before jumping into developing your web application.

  • Are you going to be developing a web application from scratch, or perhaps leverage one of the existing templates or viewer applications from Esri?
  • If using one of the Web APIs, which one will you use?
  • Do you need to target the ever increasing mobile audience that may want to access your application?
  • Do you have a good understanding of your audience?
    • Who are they and what is their level of experience with GIS?
    • How many of them are there?
    • What are their problems and how will your applications attempt to solve these problems?
    • What techniques work well to gather your user requirements?


If your application response time is slow, the application will feel sluggish to the end-user, and as a result, they will become frustrated and potentially stop using your application. If your web application is map-centric, then you need to ensure that your map services perform well, as these will likely be the culprit in a slow application.

We touched on some of the most important design considerations when authoring your map services, so that they perform well at the users end. We also looked at the available resources from services such as ArcGIS Online, Bing and Map Data Services, which you can mashup with your own business data.

Shahdin elaborated on this, by talking through the nitty gritty on what is happening at the back end when a user makes a request for a map request from your web application. This involved looking at a number of tools that help you pinpoint a bottleneck in your solution stack.

We wrapped up with some discussion around different approaches for web mapping applications. This involved looking at number of contrasting web mapping applications and critiquing them to see what kind of styles would work well for different types of audiences. This included some techniques and ways to get your audience aware of your applications and how to lead them to your applications to find the information they need.

Thanks to those that attended, hope you enjoy the rest of Ozri!

Simon J.

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