Remote Session

I sat there
phone to my ear
watching someone elses screen –
Software Loading.
Nobody spoke
We waited in awkward silence
not knowing if the other
was busy doing something else
or about to speak.
Neither – but we stared at the screen,
The green bar slowly edging
closer to 100 percent.

Which ESRI Javascript API Version to Use – 3.x vs 4.x

Which ESRI Javascript API version should you use for your next mapping app? I wish it were as simple as just using the most up to date version. And maybe it will be for your situation. But there are a few considerations to address before pushing ahead.

Start With Your Goal

Always start with your goal. What do you want the app to look like and do? Probably, the biggest question you should ask yourself is whether you will be creating a 3D app or a standard 2D app?

As of this post, the 4.x API is at version 4.11. According to ESRI’s API Capability page, version 3.28 (the latest 3.x version) doesn’t support 3D rendering. Version 4.11 only has partial support for 2D. So, if you’re planning to create an app that supports 3D visualization in any way, you’ll need to use 4.11.

On the other hand, if you are only supporting 2D visualization you’ll want to use the latest API that supports all of the other functionality you might want to use. This is really important to consider if you’re thinking about migrating existing 3.x code to the 4.x world. You would hate to get deep into the conversion only to find out a critical component you rely on is not yet supported.

Check out ESRI’s functionality matrix to determine if 4.11 is implementing all the functionality you need right now. ESRI’s stated goal is to eventually have 4.11 eventually exceed the functionality of the 3.28 API. But until it does, you’ll want to proceed with at least a little bit of caution.

Consider Your Time

Another thing you will want to think about is the time you will spend getting up to speed on the syntax changes that version 4.11 brings. Right away, when creating a basic map with 4.11, you’ll notice that you now have to not only create a map but a map view (or map scene if it’s a 3D app) in order to get anything to render.

With the old 3.x API you would simply declare the map object and pass in a reference to the HTML element you want to use to render it in. As of 4.11, the Map object is now simply a container for the various layers you want to associate with the app you’re creating. There is now a new class called View that manages UI methods for your app like rendering the map within the HTML element and placing components (like widgets and images) on screen.

I like most of the new syntax changes that I’ve seen in 4.11 but I realize these slow down my development time as I get used to them.

You Just Can’t Win

Today I was checking out at the grocery store and the clerk said the credit card scanner was going to ask me if I wanted to round up to the nearest dollar to help fight children’s hunger. But the card reader never asked.  It just said thank you, please remove your card.

Then the clerk saw that my receipt wasn’t rounded up and she gave me a scowl as if to say “what a jerk! You probably want children to die!” You can’t win these days.

In Between Worlds

Yellow grasses against a blue-green background.

“In Between Worlds” is a camera movement and multiple exposure photograph that I made from several pictures of decorative grasses in my front yard on a bit of a stormy afternoon. I combined the lightest parts of the images (the golden grasses) so they would be intertwined and give depth to the final picture.

The darker backgrounds come from images that were blurred by camera movement. As they were layered, they started forming the beautiful blues that are seen here. Layering images is similar to mixing paints to apply to a canvas or paper. Two or maybe three images are usually the most I will layer. More than that and the background can start to become too dark and mottled. Of course, dark and mottled can be a good look if that’s what you intend for your image.

I was really trying to capture the feeling of the day in the picture. The skys were stormy behind the grasses (I was facing east) and had a moody feel to them. However, the sun behind me was bright and lit up the grasses beautifully. I love that I was able to capture such a great subject right at the end of my driveway and get both moods in one image.

If you want to see more of my multiple exposure and camera movement work you can check out my Instagram feed or just hop over to my photography site at https://ryandavisonphotography.com .

Announcing My New Photography Web Site

I woke up this morning with a realization that I forgot to post to this blog yesterday. That’s the first weekday in over a year that I haven’t posted at least something. But I have an excuse!

I’ve been busy putting together a new web site at https://ryandavisonphotography.com. Although I do post a lot of photos on this blog, I wanted a place to put the images I’m most proud of so they can be accessed easier.

I will keep posting here on a regular basis as I have many different things to talk about. But I might miss a day here and there. Hopefully, someday, my life will not be quite so busy and I’ll have more time to commit to writing, photography and art. For now, I need to focus on family life and one interest at a time.

I mention on the new site that all of my images are available for purchase as prints. That goes for any of the images on ryandavison.net too. If you’re interested in purchasing a print, please feel free to send me a DM on Twitter or Instagram and we can work out sizing and price. You can also use the contact form I have up on the new ryandavisonphotography.com site.