Mastering the Transition: From ArcGIS Web AppBuilder to ArcGIS Experience Builder (2023)

In the wake of the announcement of ArcGIS Web AppBuilder's retiral, dedicated users are presented with a strategic opportunity to seamlessly transition to ArcGIS Experience Builder. Navigating this shift can be perceived as daunting, especially for those accustomed to the familiarity of Web AppBuilder. However, as someone who has successfully made this transition, I am here to guide you through the process, dispelling any apprehensions along the way.

Embracing the Evolution: Experience Builder vs. Web AppBuilder

Unveiling the Capabilities

As you explore the Experience Builder Gallery, you'll notice a departure from traditional Web AppBuilder apps. The amalgamation of scrolling pages and non-map centric layouts showcases the enhanced capabilities offered by JavaScript 4.x. Experience Builder harnesses the best features from across the ArcGIS system, consolidating them into a single app that grants users complete design control.

Templates as Your Launchpad

The journey begins with the selection of a template, each providing a partially configured structure to kickstart your experience. Whether you opt for a blank canvas or a scrolling website, the templates cater to diverse use cases and audiences. Notably, Experience Builder allows you to filter templates to align with the classic Web AppBuilder style, ensuring a seamless transition.

Crafting the Canvas: A Design Odyssey

The Interface Unveiled

As you delve into Experience Builder's editing interface, familiarize yourself with key components:

  • Builder Toolbar: Houses tools for layout control, previewing, saving, undo/redo, and publishing.
  • Side Bar and Left Panel: Opens panels for widgets, pages, data, utility, and theme adjustments.
  • Canvas: The creative space where you build and design your app layout.
  • Configuration Panel: Displays settings for each widget or page, facilitating content, style, and action modifications.

Designing a Layout with Finesse

For classic Web AppBuilder templates, Experience Builder seamlessly integrates a widget controller or sidebar for layout clarity. Utilize widgets from Menu and Toolbars, Page elements, and Layout sections to structure your application, ensuring optimal viewing on various screen sizes.

Connecting the Dots: Adding Data and Widgets

Seamless Data Integration

Before diving into edits, establish a data source by connecting it to the application. Quick and straightforward, this step sets the foundation for widgets to link seamlessly with referenced data.

Widget Wizardry

Within widget containers, configure existing widgets or introduce new ones through a simple drag-and-drop mechanism. Unlike Web AppBuilder, Experience Builder empowers users to 'unlock' the template layout, offering creative freedom without the need for coding.

Aesthetics Matter: Choosing Themes and Customization

Tailoring the Look

Once your template is set, choose a theme from the existing list or unleash your creativity by customizing the color palette, font, and font size. This heightened level of customization, absent in Web AppBuilder, ensures your apps align perfectly with your organization's branding.

Preview, Test, and Publish: Bringing Your Vision to Life

Testing the Waters

Experience Builder's Live View feature enables real-time interaction with your app, allowing you to ensure each widget functions as intended. Remember to toggle off Live View when you're ready to make further edits.

Mobile Adaptability

Experience Builder goes beyond Web AppBuilder's preview capabilities by offering mobile-adaptive design. Preview and customize your app's layout for different screen sizes, ensuring a seamless user experience across devices.

The Finale: From Draft to Live

Saving Your Masterpiece

All edits and design choices are automatically saved as a draft in Experience Builder. Once satisfied, hit the Publish button to share your application with the world. Notably, Experience Builder allows changes to be tested in a draft version before republishing, eliminating downtime and potential errors.

Congratulations! You've seamlessly transitioned from Web AppBuilder to Experience Builder, equipped with a solid foundation to explore the myriad functionalities that Experience Builder has to offer. Start confidently creating experiences that push the boundaries of geospatial applications.


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