In Part 1 of our series we looked at how to use pre-compiled add-ins to extend ArcGIS Explorer’s capabilities. In this post we’ll take customization a step further by looking at how you can control the appearance and behavior of ArcGIS Explorer using Application Configurations.
Application Configurations make it easy to create customized versions of Explorer that target different user groups or workflows. Using configurations you can do the following:
- Re-organize the functionality available on the ribbon. This could involve removing existing buttons, groups or entire tabs.
- Create your own tabs and groups, to which you can add existing Explorer controls and/or custom controls contained within add-ins.
- Control application permissions (e.g. open maps, printing, adding content, and more).
- Apply your own branding, such as a custom splash screen or logo.
- Load specific content when ArcGIS Explorer starts.
- Specify your own address/place finding or routing services.
Here’s an example of a configuration we designed specifically for a kiosk-style application targeted at school kids:
In the above example the ribbon has been simplified to only include capabilities which are appropriate to the application. The Home tab has been removed but a new Tools tab has been added which has two new groups containing out-of-the-box controls, custom controls, and a geoprocessing tool.
You don’t have to be a programmer to configure ArcGIS Explorer – you create and manage Explorer configurations using the Application Configuration Manager. This is a separate application that is installed during the ArcGIS Explorer installation and can be opened from the ArcGIS Explorer program group available under the Start menu:
After starting the Application Configuration Manager you can choose an existing application configuration to work with, or create a new configuration by clicking Add.
Here are the steps we used to create the application configuration shown earlier in this post:
Step 1 – Create a new Application Configuration
Click the Add button to create a new configuration then click the Modify button to edit the configuration.
Step 2 – General Settings
Under the General tab we defined the map document to open and restricted various application level permissions such as creating, opening, and saving maps. See the general properties help topic for more details.
Step 3 – Display Settings
Under the Display tab we set the application title and specified our own splash screen.
Step 4 – Add-ins
Using the Add-ins tab we specified the add-ins that we wanted to include in the application configuration. The custom controls contained within the add-ins are then available to be added to the ribbon.
Step 5 – Customizations
Under the Customization tab we re-organized the ribbon, cut down the application menu and prevented the use of many context menus. We started by expanding the items in the left hand panel then used the actions in the right hand panel to add or remove capabilities.
Once the changes had been made we clicked OK and then used the Preview button to try out the application configuration.
Step 6 – Deployment
One of the nice things about an application configuration is that it is a single file (with a .ncfg extension). This makes it easy to deploy to a local or central file system or to distribute via E-mail.
Check out the Application Configuration Manager and other related topics for more information.
In the next post in this series we’ll take a look at creating add-ins using the Explorer SDK.
(Mike Branscomb & Mike Rudden - ArcGIS Explorer product engineers)