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Shared Add-Ins Not Updating - Possible Cause

Question asked by dobrien on Jun 30, 2014
Latest reply on Sep 28, 2015 by SEria-esristaff
An "undocumented feature" of ArcGIS I have found dealing with shared add-ins can give you the impression updating from the shared folder is not working. One cause of this is older versions of the add-in in sub-folders of the shared folder.

Example scenario:
- Add-in "myArcMapTools.esriAddIn" stored in a shared folder "G:\ESRI\SharedAddins\"
- When updating the add-in, you archive the old add-ins to a sub-folder of this folder so that you can revert back to an old copy
- ie. Backup add-in "myArcMapTools.esriAddIn.bak" stored in sub-folder "G:\ESRI\SharedAddins\Archive\"

When ArcGIS opens, it not only searches the shared folder, but sub-folders of that shared folder, and also locates any add-in files regardless if whether the file extension is ".esriAddIn" or not. ArcGIS will install the add-in (with the same CLSID) with the oldest created date, thus in the above scenario, the backup add-in will be installed, and not the updated add-in.

This is possibly expected behavior, but it is undocumented. It is also possible that the search for add-ins is recursive and thus if you have your add-in in the root of a shared drive, ArcGIS will search all folders and sub-folders within that drive for add-ins (which may produce performance issues and undesirable results.)

The fix/workaround for the above scenario is to not have the backup versions in a sub-folder, but in a different folder altogether
- Add-in "myArcMapTools.esriAddIn" stored in a shared folder "G:\ESRI\SharedAddins\"
- Backup add-in "myArcMapTools.esriAddIn.bak" stored in folder "G:\ESRI\ArchivedAddins\"