The announcement that ArcGIS 9.4 is being re-christened as 10.0 leaves me feeling somewhat bemused. I have seen the new version of Desktop and it is nice and will finally update the current Office-97-feeling UI. The list of changes coming in 10.0 (published so far) is impressive but I haven’t seen any discussion of the changes coming to the ArcGIS architecture, which is of greater interest to me as a developer and integrator. Given the past history of ArcGIS, calling this release 10.0, in my mind, implies a significant architectural shift. ArcGIS 8 was a clear departure from the previous releases of ARC/INFO. Indeed, it not only came with a new version but introduced the name “ArcGIS.”
Over the past 10 years, as everyone has run screaming from the desktop, I’ve been a little mystified as to why it was considered a good thing to reduce a CPU more powerful than everything NASA had in 1969 to a mere vehicle for a browser. The browser-based model reduced our computers to really cool-looking equivalents of a VT220 so it’s nice to see that the market is starting to gain back a little sanity.