What’s New in Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS (September 2016)

The astrological sign for people who are born in September is Virgo – the 6th sign in the zodiac. Virgos are typically known to be analytical, kind, hardworking and practical. They also like to do detailed work and want to improve things. With this September update, the main theme was to improve the user experience for several popular widgets based on feedback from the Web AppBuilder user community. Like Virgos, we are always striving to make things better in Web AppBuilder.

Edit widget – The biggest enhancement is the much requested ability to edit related records with the Edit widget. When feature layers with related tables are accessed, you have the option to enable editing on the related tables when configuring the widget. The widget supports editing from origin to destination tables for “one-to-one” and “one-to-many” relationships.

Filter and Group Filter widgets – Both of these widgets now include the option to remove any preset filters that were defined in the web map. This may be useful in cases where you access a web map that shows a specific data subset. For example, a web map that only displays cities with populations of 100,000 or less; but it uses a web service that contains cities with greater populations. By removing any filters set in the web map, you can now work with all of its data. Continuing the example, when web map filters are removed, it allows you to access all cities, even those with populations above 100,000. You could then apply your own filters to the data, based on the entire dataset.

Filter and Query widgets – Both of these widgets now support filtering unique values based on previous expressions, if the widget has more than one expression. As you enter criteria for the first expression, the widget begins to generate a subset of results, then as you input the criteria for the second expression, it will only be applied on the previously returned subset. This greatly improves the user experience for both these widgets, because it reduces the number of returned results even before you execute the filter or query.

In the figure above, a Query widget is configured on the Cities layer with two expressions. The first finds cities with populations greater than 250,000 (by default); the second searches for a specific city by name. In the center graphic, when the expression to find cities with populations greater than 1,000,000 is entered into the Query widget, the second expression will only be applied to the results subset returned by the first expression. In other words, only cities with a population greater than 1,000,000 will appear in the dropdown list of the second expression. Once both expressions are filled in, you can run the query.

Near Me widget – Its user experience has been improved: layers with zero results returned will no longer be displayed in the results list. We’ve also reduced the number of clicks to view returned results.

Search widget – A new option called “local search” enables you to set a minimum map scale for the widget. It is meant to work with the Esri World Locator service. When you perform a geocode search, returned results are ranked based on how closely they match the geocode request. You can now control the threshold map scale that helps to prioritize the returned results.

For example, when the map display zooms to a map scale that is equal to or greater than the minimum scale (in this case 1:300,000), then the results of the geocode will prioritize (and therefore give a higher ranking) to returned results for features that are within the minimum map scale. This is useful for when you want the search to occur within a smaller area. This option is disabled for custom locator services.

Select widget – Based on many user requests, we have added more feature selection tools. Now you can select features with a polyline, polygon, and a circle in addition to the rectangle select tool.

Smart Editor widget – Some enhancements include: the option to restrict editing to just the feature owner; checks if the signed in user belongs to an editing role, if not the widget will be disabled; and the template picker is based on layer visibility.

Splash widget – Its configuration options have been extended to enable you to create more customized splash screen displays. More options for configuring the appearance include the ability to specify its size, background, transparency, button and text colors.

For 3D web apps, the 3DFx widget has a new visualization type for area extrusions, which can provide some new unique visualizations. In the figure below, it shows world populations for each country. Currently, the visualization is limited to a single color, but we’re looking into extending the rendering capabilities of the 3DFx widget in a future release.

Lastly, Web AppBuilder web apps now fully support ArcGIS Online groups with the update capability that enables its members to update all items in the group. This means that one or more group members can collaborate to create and modify web apps.

We think you’ll like many of these new features.

The Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS Dev team

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Leave a Reply


  1. jrob76 says:

    Great job on getting related table editing added! When will this be available in the Dev edition? Also, is it possible to edit a multi level related tables, a table which is related to another table which is related to a feature layer?

  2. odalaigh says:

    Add a customizable feature layer destination for the directions widget, please. Things are looking great keep it up!

  3. Fahad says:

    These enhancements are great.
    One question regarding the smart editor, when I started to edit a new feature of institutions (point feature), a new layer has been created and added to the Legend and Layer list called “institutions-Editor Cache”. I don’t know how to get rid of this layer from showing up. Please guide me.

  4. arpa_piemonte_geoportal says:

    great work!
    I seem that the “edit related records”functionis not avilable in the smart editor widget. is it so?
    In general I think that editor widget and smart editor widget shoud be unified .

  5. rpulis says:

    What’s the timeframe for getting this function in the Web AppBuilder built into Portal for ArcGIS?

    • Law says:

      Hi rpulis – These new enhancements to Web AppBuilder in ArcGIS Online will be part of the Portal for ArcGIS 10.5 release. This release is tentatively scheduled for sometime 2016 Q4 to 2017 Q1.

  6. danielchantlos says:

    I was curious about this update, so I tried to edit related tables in WAB from AGOL. No luck.

    Related records are not displayed for FS layers, and the MS layers that do show related records are not editable. Any ideas?

    • Law says:

      Hi danielchantlos – When I add the feature service to the web map, its associated related table is also added. Are you sure you’re editing from origin to destination tables for “one-to-one” and “one-to-many” relationships?

  7. ahmed18881 says:

    what about the “Filter and Query widgets”, is it going to be added anytime soon to the Portal for ArcGIS or developer edition ??

    • Law says:

      Hi ahmed18881 – For the enhancements to the “Filter and Query widgets”, they will be included in the next Web AppBuilder Developer Edition update, in approx. 4-5 weeks. These enhancements will be included with Web AppBuilder in Portal for ArcGIS 10.5.

  8. vpsheth says:

    Hi Law, great updates! In regards to “You could then apply your own filters to the data, based on the entire dataset.” for Filters, can you please clarify what this means? When they remove a predifined filter, will they see a ‘query builder’ like interface to be able to build their own filters? Thank you.

  9. stc_poweldk says:

    Hi WAB Team,
    As always we’re very happy with the many new features in WAB. However I have to raise a flag when functions that has been working fine for months, suddenly fails to work:
    These last couple of months we have experienced that GP-services executed with WAB on an iOS-device (typically for field workers using ÍPADs) are taking an extreme amount of time to return a result. For instance approx 5 seconds on a PC or Andoid device, but maybe 10 minutes or more on an IPAD. In reality it means that eg. running a ‘Find valves that should be closed’-job is not possible on IPAD.
    We cannot be the only people who have observed this?

    • Law says:

      Hi stc_powldk,

      We have an open bug #000098903 on this issue and we are actively investigating to try and resolve it. Can you please contact Esri Tech Support and open an incident? If you could share some data/workflow/repro steps it will help.


      • stc_poweldk says:

        We’ve already got a couple of old support cases running related to this, and I submitted one for a new customer yesterday including link to a WAB-app with a GP-tool. I realize that this incident is probably related to iOS-updates, but it is a serious showstopper and we can’t just tell customers to buy Android tablets instead…

  10. jenelstrott says:

    I love the Smart Editor widget but I’m having a problem where my feature templates won’t show up in the template picker window. How do I configure which attributes show up as templates? I have used this before and it automatically populated the template picker with the attribute that the legend also showed. The one difference I see is that I had a drop-down configured for this attribute before, so you could only select a value in the domain, but now there is now drop-down in the editor for this attribute. How do I configure the domain for this attribute? Will this make the templates for features show up in the smart editor template picker?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Previn Wong says:

      @jenelstrott, The template picker is now honors scale dependency. Make sure the layer you are editing is visible at the map scale you are working. Then it will show in the picker.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Also, the edit templates are set in the feature service. These are created when you publish the service or when you change them using the ArcGIS.com app. A drop down is presented if the field has a domain. When you create the feature service, ensure the field has a domain. If you are using subtypes, make sure the symbology of the service is based on the subtype field and the domain is set on the subtype values.