It was difficult to start with, though. I didn’t realize that the actual API (.js files and images mostly) doesn’t come with the AGS installation discs – you have to request that separately. I have no idea why they won’t just let you download an installation zip, as anyone is free to use the API via this link here. Our internal network doesn’t have an Internet connection, and even if it did, I wouldn’t want to rely on unneeded external resources in my application.
Well, I finally got the bits and “installed” them – and by that I mean followed the readme.html file that comes with the disc and tells you to copy this directory over there, and edit that .js file and that .CSS file. An installation script would have been in order, and now I have to create one myself, which I am too lazy to do, but I will. I promise.
The outcome is that the code is a lot more extensible. It took me a few minutes to change this code to use the RadToolbar control. In the Web ADF, on the other hand, the controls are meant to use as-is (preferably with the cool-yet-kinda-silly “application builder” they have inside the manager application. Or at least the VS2005 designer). Therefore they are a lot less extensible. Yes, they give you more out of the box, like a TOC control. But it will cost you dearly to try to do something different. For this current application I have to build a dynamic TOC which can hold up to 200 layers, coming from different map objects, depending on the user. The prospect of making that work with the Web ADF is a bit daunting, but combining the js API and the REST services of ArcGIS 9.3 should make this a lot simpler.