Turning Pro

Esri Partner in Russia Migrates ArcMap Extension to ArcGIS Pro

More than 2,500 current XTools Pro users have already downloaded, installed, and started using the new XTools AGP extension.

Based in Novosibirsk, Russia, Esri partner Data East, LLC, provides software and professional services to help its clients create innovative GIS and spatial database management solutions. Specializing in GIS implementation and customization, digital spatial data creation, development, and processing services, Data East has more than 10,000 software customers and approximately 20 partners around the world.

One of the products that Data East develops is XTools Pro, which has more than 80 features to extend the capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop. More and more, Data East’s clients began asking when the company planned to migrate XTools Pro from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro, Esri’s multithreaded, 64-bit desktop GIS app. About two years ago, Data East set out to do just that.

“We decided that we were all ready to finally do this,” said Eugene Moiseev, chief technology officer at Data East.

Because the company had an in-depth background with code migration services, plus necessary experience with ArcObjects development, the team was well-equipped to make XTools Pro work with ArcGIS Pro.

The Migration

To migrate its XTools Pro solution tools to ArcGIS Pro, Data East used ArcGIS Pro SDK for the Microsoft .NET Framework. For users like Data East that have built custom apps for ArcMap, they can now build those same apps in ArcGIS Pro using ArcGIS Pro SDK for .NET. It works in the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment with the .NET Framework, allowing developers to create custom tools and workflows that extend the functionality of ArcGIS Pro with add-ins.

As the Data East development team worked on the migration, it found that ArcGIS Pro SDK for .NET offered many advantages over Esri’s traditional ArcObjects SDK, which is what the company used before to develop XTools Pro.

“Working with ArcGIS Pro SDK is much more comfortable, as [a] number of…procedures are easier and more intuitive,” said Moiseev. “Just to name a few, there are not so many COM interfaces, and there is no need to determine the version for any implemented interface.”

Data East’s migration of its XTools Pro functionality to ArcGIS Pro was a success. The company’s new product, XTools AGP, an ArcGIS Pro add-in, took just nine months to develop. And Data East continues to extend the capabilities of ArcGIS Pro by using ArcGIS Pro SDK for .NET to develop new functionality in XTools AGP.

The Effects

Now that the company is on the other side of its initial development project, it is evident that the multithreaded capabilities in ArcGIS Pro and the asynchronous programming capacity of ArcGIS Pro SDK for .NET were beneficial.

“Generally speaking, the proper use of the asynchronous operations and the 64-bit nature of ArcGIS Pro made many things easier,” said Yuri Tkachov, chief software architect at Data East, calling attention to updating geodatabases, editing features, changing symbology, and more. “We are now starting to develop our own techniques for using the SDK.”

Already, more than 2,500 current XTools Pro users have downloaded, installed, and started using the new XTools AGP extension.

“The number of…XTools AGP users increases with every new release of ArcGIS Pro,” said Andrei Elobogoev, head of sales at XTools, LLC, the Data East affiliate that distributes XTools Pro and provides maintenance services for it. “Many of our customers know that we successfully migrated part of the XTools Pro tools and features to ArcGIS Pro. They really like the idea that they can keep using their favorite and familiar tools in the new environment. Now they are asking how they can migrate their own products and services to ArcGIS Pro.”

After developing the XTools AGP, Data East decided to create a new service migrating customers’ ArcObjects SDK code to ArcGIS Pro SDK for .NET.

“Today, migration to ArcGIS Pro seems to be a quite promising service,” said Tkachov. “We are experienced enough to handle any issues that may arise during the development.”

For more information on how Data East employs ArcGIS Pro SDK for .NET, email Tkachov at ytkachov@dataeast.com.