A quick tour of sharing tools

Nothing is more satisfying to you as a tool author than to distribute your tools to others and have them report back that everything worked great and that you saved them months of work (It happens). And nothing is more disappointing than to hear that users couldn't get your tools to work and it was all a waste of their time. The latter situation can be easily avoided with some insight and a few simple guidelines.

The biggest stumbling block to sharing tools are the resources that your tool uses. Resource, in this case, means datasets, layers in map documents, toolboxes, scripts, layer files, graphic files, and documentation files that your tools use—everything but the data the user provides to your tool parameters. Resources that existed on your computer when you created your tool may not be accessible when others use your tool. Seemingly minor issues with data access that you encounter running your tools locally become major issues when sharing your tools. These data access issues are not specific to ArcGIS—they are generic issues found in all software applications.

Guide to topics

The topic links below give you the insight to determine the best way to share your tools, as well as guidelines for structuring your toolboxes, data, scripts, script libraries, compiled help files, graphics, layer files, and map documents in such a way that they can be easily delivered, installed, and used by your clients.



Methods for distributing tools

Discusses the methods for sharing your tools and the resources they use.

An overview of the Package toolset

This toolset resides in the Data Management toolbox and contains tools for consolidating, packaging, and sharing layers and map documents.

Paths explained: Absolute, relative, UNC, and URL

You deal with paths every day to navigate to your data and toolboxes. You probably don't give them much thought, nor do you need to, until it comes time to share your tools and data. The section on paths goes through the basics and describes how ArcGIS manages paths.

A structure for sharing tools

Organizing your tools and data into a well-structured folder is the first step in sharing your tools. This topic suggests a folder structure, the ToolShare folder, that you can use as a template for a well-organized folder.

A quick tour of documenting tools and toolboxes

Good tool documentation is a must when your share your tools.

Geoprocessing Considerations for ArcSDE data

Methods and techniques for sharing tools that use ArcSDE data.

Techniques for sharing Python scripts

This topic describes techniques to make your Python scripts and libraries portable.

Managing intermediate data in shared models

This topic goes into the details of how geoprocessing determines where to write intermediate data created by models. This is especially important when authoring tools for ArcGIS server.

An overview of sharing tools on an ArcGIS Server

Your tools can be shared and used across the Internet by using ArcGIS Server technology. ArcGIS Server is a separate product that works with ArcGIS, and once it is installed at your workplace, you can use it to share your tools as services available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Checklist for sharing tools and toolboxes

Use this checklist to help you share your tools and toolboxes.

Related Topics

Published 6/7/2010