"Hey did you know this?"  Tool Results on steroids...

Blog Post created by Dan_Patterson Champion on Aug 31, 2016

This blog is inspired by this thread https://community.esri.com/docs/DOC-2436#comment-9031 by Steve Offermann (Esri).  He suggested a very simple way to extend the capabilities of tool results and how to parse arguments for them.  I recommended the use of the Results window outputs in a previous blog.  Hats off to Steve.


I am only going to scratch the surface by presenting a fairly simple script...which could easily be turned into a tool.

In this example, a simple shapefile of hexagons, (presented in another blog post) was processed to yield:


  • an extent file, giving the bounds of each of the input hexagons,
  • the hexagon corners as points and sent to a shapefile, and,
  • the centroids of each hexagon was treated in a similar fashion


The whole trick is to parse your processes down into parameters that can be shared amongst tools.  In this case, tools that can be categorized as:


  • one parameter tools like:  AddXY_management and CopyFeatures_management
  • two parameter tools like:
    • FeatureEnvelopeToPolygon_management,
    • FeatureToPoint_management and
    • FeatureVerticesToPoints_management


This can then be amended by, or supplemented with, information on the input/output shape geometries.  I demonstrate this by calculating the X,Y coordinates for the point files.


So you are saying ... I don't do that stuff ... well remember, I don't do that webby stuff either.   Everyone has a different workflow and if my students are reading this, just think how you could batch project a bunch of files whilst simultaneously renaming them etc etc.  The imagination is only limited by its owner...


First the output....




And now the script....

Script:   run_tools_demo.py
Author:   Dan.Patterson@carleton.ca

Source:   Stefan Offermann
Thread:   https://community.esri.com/docs/DOC-2436

Purpose:  Results window on steroids
  - take a polygon shapefile, determine its envelop,
  - convert the feature to centroids,
  - convert to feature points
  - calculate X,Y for all of the above
  - then make a back of everything
  - a source file
  - an output folder
  - a list of tools to run
import os
import arcpy
arcpy.env.overwriteOutput = True
in_FC = "c:/!BlogPosts/Runtools_Demo/Shapefiles/pointy_hex.shp"
path,in_File = os.path.split(in_FC)
path += "/"
backup = "c:/temp/shapefiles/"    # some output folder
# file endings
end = ["_env","_fp","_vert"]      # envelop, feature to point, feature vertices
# two argument tools
two_arg = ["FeatureEnvelopeToPolygon_management",
# one argument tools
one_arg =["AddXY_management", "CopyFeatures_management"]
outputs = [in_FC.replace(".shp", end[i]+".shp") for i in range(len(end))]
backups =  [outputs[i].replace(path, backup) for i in range(len(end))]
polygons = []
points = []
for i in range(len(two_arg)):                  # run the two argument tools
    args = [in_FC, outputs[i]]                 # select the output file
    result = getattr(arcpy, two_arg[i])(*args) # run the tool...and pray
    frmt = '\Processing tool: {}\n  Input: {}\n  Output: {}'
    print(frmt.format(tools[i], args[0], args[1]))
for i in range(len(outputs)):
    args = [outputs[i]]
    print(outputs[i], arcpy.Describe(outputs[i]).shapeType)
    if arcpy.Describe(outputs[i]).shapeType == 'Point':
        result = getattr(arcpy, one_arg[0])(*args) # calculate XY
    result_bak = getattr(arcpy, one_arg[1])(result, backups[i]) # backup
    print('Calculate XY for: {}'.format(result))
    print('Create Backups: {}\n  Output: {}'.format(result,result_bak))

Enjoy and experiment with your workflows.