ESRI Simplifies ARC/INFO programming (April 1997)

ESRI have just released a newApplications Programming Interface (API) for their flagship ARC/INFO product.

Hitherto, this market leading software had usually been customised using ARC/INFO’s proprietary ARC Macro Language (AML), ARC/INFO software's scripting language. The new Open Development Environment (ODE) API will allow lesser mortals access to the functionality of ARC/INFO using "point and click" programming tools such as Visual Basic, Delphi, PowerBuilder. C and C++ gurus are also catered for in the new API. This innovation permits ARC/INFO to be completely embedded within applications as part of an integrated solution, as well as building new ARC/INFO applications using industry-standard development languages. Visual Basic, and other languages using OCXs and third party plug-ins can now be seamlessly integrated with ARC/INFO applications. Applications coded with the new API will run significantly faster than those coded with AML. On the Windows NT platform, ARC/INFO OCXs can be combined with other custom controls, such as those of ESRI's MapObjects software, to produce, for example, a quick viewing application that can easily call complex ARC/INFO analysis.

$200 million revenues

On the UNIX platform, the API facilitates linking of ARC/INFO to other applications using Motif, Tcl/Tk, C, C++, or other standard UNIX programming tools. The ARC/INFO Open Development Environment will be released as Version 7.1.2 and will be automatically shipped to all ARC/INFO users under current maintenance in the second quarter of 1997. A recent survey (Geographic Information Systems Markets and Opportunities) by Daratech Inc. gives ESRI 35.2 percent of the total GIS software to the North American market in 1996 putting it in the number one slot. Total GIS software revenue of North American GIS vendors grew a "healthy" 7.9 percent in 1996 to $591 million. The Daratech study revealed that ESRI commanded, making the company the number one North American software vendor in the GIS market as a whole. ESRI's estimated software revenues reached upward of $207.7 million.

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