I didn’t attend anything on the Java ADF or the Flex API. Neither of those are things I’ll be using anytime soon so I didn’t check them out but Fantom Planet did attend the Flex API session and seemed duly impressed. So, if you want details on that, you should probably nag him. 😉
I sat in on a session about the .Net Web ADF. I’ve already read Dave’s post on the same session and his notes read almost exactly like the ones I have in my notebook so, rather than retype my notes (which would essentially duplicate Dave’s post), I’ll refer you there. BTW, congrats Dave!
I’ve already talked a little about the REST API. I think that one is going to be huge. It really expands the scope of potential clients for ArcGIS Server services to just about anything. As I said, they even hit services from Ruby and Python during the session. “Everything is a URL” was the big take-away from that session. So, pretty much anything that can call a URL and understand the response can be a client. A lot of my clients have standardized on SOAP web services (didn’t get to anything about the SOAP API but I’ll catch up on that during the beta) but I plan on leveraging the REST API as much as I can outside of those areas.
When I went to the FedUC, Jack articulated a vision of ArcGIS providing advanced GIS analysis to whatever client you wanted to use. The Dev Summit really brought that home in a way that you could see it. The various APIs give lots of options that should fit into any environment.
So, this’ll be an exciting release for developers. I think it could be as significant as when we were all introduced to ArcObjects at 8.0. Now, I’ve just got to get into the office and set up the beta….
UPDATE: James raises a good point about the demos. They do make it look like you can do really cool stuff with just a little bit of code. It’s important to remember that calling the service from the API is just one part. You’ll still need to implement your complex logic in the service. Also, more sophisticated behaviors on the client will require more code there. It’s important not to get caught up in the sales hype. 9.3 will offer some powerful options but it’s important to keep the total level of effort in mind. The new APIs give you more options for developing your applications, but they don’t obviate the need to actually write the code.