ArcObjects is the development platform for the ArcGIS suite of applications developed by ESRI, which includes ArcReader, ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Server. The ArcObjects software components expose the full range of functionality available in the ArcInfo, ArcEditor, and ArcView licensing levels to software developers.
The functionality of ArcObjects can be accessed using four APIs: COM, .NET, Java, and C++. The choice of which API to use is not a simple one and will depend on a number of factors, including the ArcGIS product that you are developing with, the end user functionality that you are developing, and your development experience with particular languages. ArcGIS Desktop supports the following APIs: COM—Any COM-compliant language (for example, Visual Basic, Visual C++) can be used with this API. .NET—Visual Basic .NET and C# are supported by this API. When working with ArcObjects, developers can consume functionality exposed by ArcObjects or extend the functionality of ArcObjects with their own components. When referring to these APIs, there are differences with respect to consuming and extending the ArcObjects architecture.
- ↑ Consuming and extending ArcObjects