The Web AppBuilder For ArcGIS Makes Tailoring Your Organisation’s Portal Easier.

The Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS (Beta)makes tailoring your organisation’s Portal easier. In a previous post Carmel showed how easy it is to create custom application using the Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS (Beta). It allows you to tailor the style and functions of applications more closely to the needs of your users. Not only that but the application uses JavaScript and HTML, making it cross platform. Users are no longer constrained to using a PC to access the application and the Web AppBuilder includes a preview tool to check how well the application will work on different devices. If you want to use the same configuration for multiple applications you can export it as a template. So where does this fit in to setting up and managing a Portal? It allows you to create your own organisation application templates. Not only can you specify the widgets in the applications, but also set some basic branding.

Create an organisation template
The starting point is to configure an example web application using the Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS (I used the current Beta version within ArcGIS Online). Once you are happy with it, choose the export option from the Saved menu. This launches a wizard that allows you to choose what things will be configurable by your publishers when they create an application using your template. The items in the right hand panel are the ones that will be configurable, click the blue plus to add other things: 

In this example the title and subtitle will be configurable, but not the logo. There is only one link and both the label and url can be set. Only the Directions widget can be switched on and off. The others, chosen from a wider list, will always be included in applications created from this template.

Making it available
In order to make the template available you (or your Portal’s administrator) will need to create a group for your organisation’s templates. Share your new template with the group. As part of setting this as the template gallery there is the option to include the Esri defaults automatically. So, in the Portal’s edit settings pane choose the Map tab and scroll to the Web App Template section. Choose the new template group and tick the box to include the default templates: 
The default templates are created to meet common workflows but some of these may not be applicable or appropriate to your organisation. By removing these from your new template group they will no longer be available. In ArcGIS Online, new templates are added in the updates and you may need to update your group to include these. If at any time you want to revert to the full set of default templates just check the box again and click save.

Taking things further 
The Web AppBuilder is built with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript and Dojo, allowing the apps to be customised and extended. If you need a specialised function not in the current out-of-the-box widget set then you can build and host custom widgets and themes yourself. There is more information on the developer options here.

For now though, I’m happy to have added a new web application template to my organisation just through configuration screens.