How to deploy using the Add-In Manager

In your organization, it is likely that add-ins you develop will need to be shared amongst many individuals. The predefined well-known location used by all ArcGIS for Desktop applications is a local profile that is unique for each individual's machine. The Add-In Manager's Options tab offers an alternative approach to this individual deployment mechanism. It allows for a single location to be shared amongst all employees who utilize add-ins. This topic shows how this can be achieved and explores some additional considerations that should be made when utilizing this approach.

In this topic

About setting up an add-in file share

This topic guides you through the process of setting up a file share location that can be used by many individuals in an organization. The advantage of this approach is that there is one common deployment location and many individuals (typically end users) can utilize this location at once. The other two deployment approaches require each individual to deploy the add-in into their personal profiles on their machines and can be cumbersome if a large number of individuals use the customizations. This scenario works with an add-in project defined for ArcMap that contains a single button, but applies to any .esriaddin file that is deployed. The workflow presented uses ArcMap; although, the steps apply to all desktop applications. The file share, following universal naming conventions for Windows, will be \\MachineName\TEST\ADDINS for demonstration purposes. However, this share can be anything your organization requires it to be.

Defining the file share

You will use the Add-In Manager for the desktop application that you want to set the file share for. Do the following steps in ArcMap to define the file share:
  1. Click the Customize menu, then click Add-In Manager. The Add-In Manager dialog box appears.
  2. On the Add-In Manager dialog box, click the Options tab. See the following screen shot:

  1. Click Add Folder on the Options tab. The Browse For Folder dialog box appears.
  2. Type \\MachineName\\TEST\ADDINS in the Folder text box.
  3. Click OK to add the folder location. Under the section, also look for add-ins in these folders. The new shared location will be listed. Every time ArcMap is loaded, in this instance, this location will also be considered in conjunction with the well-known location as potential places that a deployed add-in can be located.
  4. Deploy your add-in to the file share location.
Since this is a shared file location, only individuals with the appropriate permissions will be allowed to deploy the .esriaddin file to that location. Make sure you have permissions to write to this shared location before attempting to deploy there.
  1. Start or restart ArcMap (this is necessary if ArcMap was opened when the add-in was deployed).
The Using the customization section in this topic describes how to use the add-in in ArcMap. Before you explore that section, the following section looks at a number of considerations you should contemplate before using this approach as a deployment mechanism in your organization.

File share considerations

When using the Add-In Manager to add a shared location, several considerations should be made before implementing this push model for add-in deployment. These considerations are as follows, but it is up to your organization's policies and practices to decide how to proceed with this push mechanism:
Ultimately, these considerations must be thoroughly thought through if your organization is to utilize this shared location push model for add-in deployment.

Using the customization

Once you have successfully deployed your add-in to the well-known location, you are now ready to use the add-in in the ArcGIS for Desktop application for which it was designed. Since the previous add-in was designed for ArcMap, the following shows you how to work with the add-in through ArcMap.
  1. Start ArcMap.
  2. Click the Customize menu, then click Add-In Manager. See the following screen shot:

    One way to verify that the add-in you have deployed works is to access the Add-In Manager. The Add-In Manager lists all of the add-ins that it has registered under the Add-Ins tab. On the right, more metadata about the add-in is available. You can see by the example that an ArcMap Button has been deployed as part of the add-in project. Each desktop application only identifies add-ins that are designed for it. In this case, you should never see an ArcCatalog or any other add-in type on ArcMap's Add-In Manager list.
  3. Click Customize on the Add-In Manager. The Customize dialog box appears.
If you click the Customize menu in ArcMap and choose Customize Mode, the same Customize dialog box appears as in Step 3.
  1. On the Customize dialog box, click the Commands tab. See the following screen shot:

  1. Under the Categories section, select the ArcMap Add-Ins category.
The category you supplied in your add-in determines the name that is shown here. For this example, ArcMap Add-Ins was the category provided for the defined button and is shown under the Categories section on the Commands tab.
  1. Select the ArcMap Button on the right, then drag it on to an existing toolbar on ArcMap's graphical user interface (GUI).
  2. Click the Custom button. A message dialog box appears with the "Hello, World!" message. Similarly, tools can also be found in the same location as buttons. Toolbars will be found on the Toolbars tab on the Customize dialog box. All other add-ins are exposed using different techniques and are discussed in each topic that describes each add-in customization.

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