How to Survive the Deprecation of Classic StoryMaps & Web AppBuilder

by | Apr 19, 2023

Classic StoryMaps have been in extended support since September of 2021. Because extended support will end in October of 2023, ESRI has been urging customers to transition their applications as soon as possible. What does this mean? When Extended Support ends, Mature Support begins. This means there are no longer any software updates, fixes for bugs or certifications for new operating systems or web browsers. This lack of support means issues will begin appearing and will continue to occur at higher frequencies until the applications are completely useless. By October of 2025, classic templates will start to be retired and their templates will begin disappearing from ArcGIS Online, along with the classic StoryMap items you configured.

Web AppBuilder software will begin retiring in July of 2024, which coincides with the retirement of ArcGIS API for JavaScript version 3.x. The retirement schedule of Web AppBuilder (WAB) will vary depending on the version of WAB you are using (see below table for more information). You won’t be able to create new apps, but the apps you have already configured will continue to work for some time. However, there will no longer be any technical support, fixes to bugs, or enhancements, which means functional and security issues will arise as updates to browsers are made, similar to the classic StoryMaps situation detailed above.

The questions remain:

What does all this mean and what should you do?

We can help.

We can help you learn how to configure new apps with StoryMaps and Experience Builder.
Start learning how to become productive in the new StoryMaps and Experience Builder (EB) now, then slowly begin your transition. Begin building your new apps a little at a time over the course of the next year. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with the sudden need to create a new app last minute due to your old application breaking beyond repair.

The combination of the new ArcGIS StoryMaps, Experience Builder, and ArcGIS Instant Apps already achieved parity with all the functionality that was available in Classic StoryMaps. Many Instant Apps also contain features and functionality that was available Web AppBuilder.

The WAB vs. EB functionality matrix below shows you what functions are available in EB and those that are not. But understand that just because a widget that was available in WAB is not available in EB does not mean you cannot get the same result. For instance, there is not a Public Notification widget in EB, but there is a spatial query buffer that can select records for you based on distance, at which time you can then export the selection to a spreadsheet to achieve the same result as the Public Notification widget.

Here are some resources to help you with the process:


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Kara Utter
Kara has over 10 years of experience in geospatial and data science and is the owner of Dynamic Visions GIS. She excels at systems thinking and has a diverse background, having provided services to all levels of government, wildfire, natural resources, fisheries, and nonprofits. Her capacity to complete GIS needs assessments, improve efficiency, increase public access to information, provide methods of asset tracking, and quickly adapt to a changing environment has resulted in many successful project resolutions and National recognition through ESRI’s Special Achievements in GIS awards.

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