I must agree with all of you that ArcView 3.x should be supported for the foreseeable future. There are just to many tools and investments involved. If ESRI for example would quit support and AV3.x would prove to be incompatible with “LongHorn”, the next release of Windows, it would really mean BIG trouble for many of our customers.
As a developer, I have been involved in many ArcView 3.x projects during the past 5 years. And although ArcView has it’s limitations, I must agree with Daniel Sandhaus that most can be overcome by using DLL, ODBC and DDE effectively, just like with ArcGIS COM development environment.
And as for the future, it may not even be with geodatabases at all (or at least, not only…), but with OpenGIS WMS and WFS services distributed through the web. With a transactional WFS service, you can even edit across the web!… (for a nice example, see the GeoServer website http://geoserver.sourceforge.net/html/index.php) and the links to MoxiMedia (www.moximedia.com)
These services can be based on any data source: file based like shapefiles, AutoCAD files or database based like ArcSDE geodatabases, OpenSource and OpenGIS MySQL (http://www.mysql.com ) / PostGIS (www.postgis.org or http://postgis.refractions.net ) , Smallworld. As long as there is an application build to serve it, you can have a uniform and non proprietary data format served available for any application reading WMS and WFS.
As for ArcView and OpenGIS, I have already seen several examples for WMS support (e.g. http://www.refractions.net ), and wouldn’t be surprised to see WFS support coming up for ArcView, although that will definitely be much more difficult to implement, but technically speaking, I think it could be done…
As for the long awaited – but never to come – ArcView 4, I think you all should have a look at one of the products developed in our company. It is called Theme Browser and is an “ArcCatalog-like” extension for ArcView 3.2 or higher. It offers advanced data browsing, searching and cataloging facilities for ArcView and bridges the gap between AV3.x and ArcGIS. In some ways it even surpasses ArcCatalog, as for example it offers FGDC keyword searches on all major metadata formats (XML, SGML, HTML, TXT, NOAA HTML, NOAA MET) and not just XML. Metadata viewing is supported on 12 data formats, including XML styled with XSL. In addition, Theme Browser offers 8 powerful batch conversions and a user friendly Query Wizard. It is a real productivity booster.
I would be highly interested to hear some reactions to our product from you all, and I am also interested to know where you would like to see such a product go. For example, we’re thinking of adding ISO and CEN metadata search capabilities, as a supplement to the FGDC search capabilities, but any comments would be welcome.
A full working 15 days demo can be downloaded from:
Lastly, it will always be a long transition to any new software platform, many organizations only recently upgraded or implemented ArcGIS seriously (e.g. including ArcSDE, personally, I don’t think ArcGIS is anything worth without, considering it’s poor file based performance).
Looking from the development point of view, I think currently about 50% of our effort is invested in ArcGIS projects, the other still in ArcView. Only during the past year, we have seen serious growing interest from customers for developing ArcGIS products and extensions.
A friend of mine who actually works at the Dutch branch of ESRI told me that they recently even received an order to develop a small new AML application for some organization in the Netherlands, talking about “new developments” at ESRI! ;-)…
Well, for those of you interested in having a look at the Theme Browser, please visit: