Remove ambiguity between renaming tools and labeling tools - model builder

04-03-2014 02:28 PM
Status: Open
Regular Contributor
It is difficult to follow or reproduce models if one of the tools in the model has been renamed.  For example if someone hands you a model and one of the tools was renamed to "Do some GIS Magic" then there is no way to really know for sure what the original tool was.  In this case was the tool really "Copy" or "Merge" or something else.

Current system:
Tools can be renamed, which hide the actual underlying functionally / name of the tool.
Labels can be added to describe tool.  This is redundant to the rename functionality.  In addition labels can hover above other tools, which makes the model more ambiguous and difficult to follow.

Requested change:

Remove the rename functionality on tools and datasets.
If a label is created then it should show INSIDE of the tool as an alias.
Include a (longer) description field.
Add a button on Model builder that allows users to toggle between tool names and the tool aliases (labels).

  • Name Mode:  True tool and dataset names are shown.  Parameters (similar to what is already done in the yellow box) are shown when you hover over a tool.
  • Alias Mode:  Tool and dataset labels are shown.  The longer description is shown when you hover over a tool.
  • If a tool does not have a custom label, or description then the true tool name and description will be shown in alias mode.
  • There will no longer be any silly long labels that might get placed over several tools.
  • There will be no option for users to label a tool via renaming it.  Which is inconsistent with others that label a tool using "create label"
  • It will be easier for coders to figure out what underlying tools are used in the model, which will make it easier to reproduce or fix a model.
  • It will be easy to switch between labels and data names for those that sometimes like labels, but other times like to know the real names of the underlying tools and datasets.
  • It will be easy for people who new users that only care about the labels...   They will not have to wonder why some people have labels that might speared over other tools.
  • It will be easier for distributers.  They won’t need to have to worry about customizing the names of tools to cater to multiple clients that might prefer the tools to be renamed or not.
When I first started to learn modelbuilder I fell into this trap, renaming the tool means you've lost the textual description of the tool.

So when I build models I never change the name of the tool itself.  Not much help if you are receiving the model from someone who has changed the text.

Now I would suggest a sneaky method of  using the tooltip property of the model element but if you read this idea then this bug sort of negates that idea until it is fixed!
Being considered. Thanks for your comments and idea.