Ozri Update: Moving from VB to Python

Ozri 2012 Update

Ozri has kicked off early for 14 GIS professionals from around the country, having just finished the “Moving from VB to Python” pre-conference tutorial. Ebony Wickramanayake and I outlined a path for migrating unsupported legacy VBA-based customisations to more user-friendly, maintainable and future-proofed add-ins.

While VBA customisations still function under 10.1, they are no longer officially supported and require the installation of added components and licenses. Since version 10.0, add-ins have been the recommended way of building and distributing custom functionality. As of version 10.1, it’s possible to use the Python programming language to build these add-ins. The high-level nature of Python makes it an ideal language to develop in.

In the tutorial we covered the basics of add-ins, and how participants’ existing VBA customisations would fit in to the add-in framework. We then went on to building a basic add-in using Python, before going through a more advanced example covering modifying layer symbology, changing map extents, and interacting with layout elements. We then discussed the management and distribution of add-ins in an enterprise setting, focusing on the improvements over the VBA way.

The participants came out of the workshop with a clear idea of why they should migrate to the add-in archictecture, whether Python was the right tool for them, and how they would enact the transition. And with the Ozri 2012 program officially kicking off tomorrow, there’s still a lot to look forward to!

Thom M.

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