How to apply schema changes to a geodatabase hosted by ArcGIS Online hosted services

Discussion created by cornetski on Jan 4, 2013
What is a best practice to apply schema changes to a geodatabase hosted by ArcGIS Online hosted services (a.k.a. for Organizations)?

(Note: the hosted feature service is editable and is CRUD'd by various clients, e.g. via ArcGIS Online viewer, ArcGIS for iOS, etc.)

My current method is:
I maintain an XML Workspace Document of my FGDB schema. When a schema change is necessary I first connect ArcGIS Desktop 10.1 to my ArcGIS Online hosted feature service and export the GDB via Create Local Copy For Editing. The data is copied to a new temporary single replica FGDB that is created for me automatically. Next I create a new empty FGDB based on my XML Workspace Document and then make the changes to its schema (via GP tools, e.g. Add Coded Value to Domain). Next I transfer the data (via Load Data) from the single replica local copy FGDB (the one from Create Local Copy For Editing) to my newly-schema'd empty FGDB. Lastly, my new FGDB goes back up to AGO when I publish (or overwrite) the feature service. (I disconnect the single replica local copy FGDB and abandon it.) This method works.

However, I'm interested to learn if ArcGIS Online hosted feature services are compatible with the Export/Compare/Import Replica Schema tools. If they are compatible, it seems there may be an alternate method of changing the schema, say: Create Local Copy For Editing; change the schema of the Local Copy; do an Export/Compare/Import Replica Schema against the GDB hosted on AGO; then synchronize my Local Copy back to AGO hosted services.

Or is there some other method?