Getting Started With Configurable Apps in ArcGIS – Tips, Tricks, Resources

Recently, Bern Szukalski with Ian Wittenmyer of Esri hosted an interesting and educational webcast discussing configurable apps. Recall, Configurable apps are authored and maintained by Esri in the cloud – you configure them (no programming) and quickly go from a map to a shareable app! We share below some updates and tidbits picked up on in this session.

Esri configurable apps

Do you need an easy way to communicate with your audience and share your stories? Configurable apps are the fastest and easiest way to go from a map to a shareable app. Are you using configurable app templates in your organization? Notable things of interest heard in the webcast:

  • Intro to configurable apps – these are hosted apps that are authored and maintained by Esri in the cloud
  • You, the user/developer, configure them with little or no programming required
  • The idea is simple, author a map once and then use in many apps – “A great app starts with a great map”
  • Application templates allow you to build web apps from the web maps and groups you create without having to write code.
  • Esri provides the following options to build apps from configurable app templates: Use configurable app templates from the map viewer to embed your map and build an application; Download configurable app templates from the portal and deploy them on your web server

Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you consider which configurable app to use:

Purpose

The most important consideration is the purpose of your app. Embedded within this goal is your intended audience: Who is going to use your app and what are the key points that you want them to take away from the experience?

Functionality

What is the critical functionality needed to support that goal?

Aesthetics

How does the app’s layout and color scheme support your brand or message?

Each configurable app offers something different to the developer:

  • layouts and colors schemes
  • editing and identify tool choices
  • options for social media feeds
  • side-by-side map viewers
  • storytelling capabilities
  • Better maps – smart mapping (cartography), add transparency, pop-ups, and perform well.

Configurable apps make your map come alive – present the map in meaningful ways, enabling you to reach your audience. So, where can you find Configurable Apps?

  • In the create a new web app gallery – hit “create a web app”
  • Story maps – storymaps.arcgis.com
  • Solutions – solutions.arcgis.com

A short demonstration revealed in 3 steps how fast and easy it is to create and share your app:

  1. Create you map, Save, then share with the public or within your org.
  2. To finish hit “create web app” and then you will be presented with the gallery
  3. The application will be an item in your “My Content” once you have created it

What can you do or build with configurable app templates?

  • Build a story map (Note, there are 8 story maps in the configurable apps gallery)
  • Collect data
  • Compare maps
  • Explore data
  • Map social media
  • Routing/directions
  • Showcase a map

Story Map Tip – Filter based on your purpose then preview from the gallery.

Recently, we authored a blog post on how we used ArcGIS Online tools and resources to create and embed a simple office location map into our website. Additionally, we extended the functionality by using configurable app templates to take the map to an app, as seen below.

geo jobe location app

Above, a simple app created in less than a minute – see more about configurable apps HERE

You can get detailed instructions and create your own custom location map in this blog post by Bern Szukalski of Esri.

Some other very cool and useful things you can accomplish with configurable apps:

  • Add a splash screen upon startup
  • Define an organizational template to maintain consistency among your organizational apps
  • Password protect your app (eg. lock down to your org only)
  • Embed your app into your website – see location map below using this method (use the iframe tag) use &embed to embed story maps
  • Much More!


To learn more about configurable apps see also the following resources:

 

 

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GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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