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Unable to clone layer

06-06-2023 12:24 PM
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New Contributor III

-Goal: I am trying to create a script to access a layer on portal and clone it. After cloning it I would like to overwrite a layer in either a SQL database or back in portal. 

-Reason: As the original layer updates I would like to run the script to update the copy in which I have view layers created from.

-What I have tried: I have tried a multitude of things, but have not found a way to clone the layer without hitting a type error or a way to save the layer in a SQL DB or portal.

-Here is some code and errors for creating a clone:

source_layer =, item_type="Feature Layer")[0]
temporary_copy = ContentManager.clone_items(source_layer)

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<string>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: clone_items() missing 1 required positional argument: 'items'

temporary_copy = ContentManager.clone_items(items=source_layer)

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<string>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: clone_items() missing 1 required positional argument: 'self'


-For saving the layer I have really only tried publish(), but it doesn't seem to take a layer as an input.

How do you save a layer in portal? in a SQL DB? using arcgis api for python?


-Here is what the entire script I have been working with:

def overwrite_existing_layer(source_layer_name, sql_database, layer_name):

        # Connect to the ArcGIS Portal
        gis = GIS('pro')
        portal_dstore = gis.datastore

        # Retrieve the feature layer you want to clone
        source_layer =, item_type="Feature Layer")[0]
        # Create a temporary copy of the layer or use clone_item() shown above
        temporary_copy = source_layer.layers[0].query()
        # Save the temporary copy to overwrite the existing layer in the SQL database

        print("Temporary copy overwritten in SQL database.")

        # Delete the temporary copy
        # portal_dstore.delete_layers(temporary_copy)

        # if not temporary_copy.exists:
        #     print("Temporary copy deleted.") 
        print('Finished running script')

    except Exception as e:
        # Handle any errors that occur during the process
        print(f"An error occurred: {str(e)}")

-Any and all advice is appreciated. I'm pretty new to using python within the ArcGIS suite. I have not found the esri documentation very useful so if there is any other recommended resources, those would be appreciated!

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