Web tools allow you to share your analysis with others in your organization's portal. Data is stored and processing occurs on a server that is federated with your portal, which makes it possible for a number of client apps in the ArcGIS platform to run the analysis, even at the same time.
A web tool can contain one or more tools that use input data specified in a client app, process it, and return output in the form of features, maps, reports, or files. These tools are first authored and run in ArcGIS Pro, typically as custom model or script tools, before being shared to a portal. Because a web tool can reference any geoprocessing tool, the possibilities for them are infinite. For example, a web tool can do any of the following:
- Calculate the probable evacuation area for a hazardous chemical spill
- Calculate the predicted track and strength of a hurricane
- Generate a report of land cover and soils within a specified watershed
- Produce a parcel map with historical details of ownership
- Geocode an address and feed into a permitting application for a home renovation system
Any user connected to a common portal can access and use the web tool. A web tool represents a geoprocessing service that is running on an ArcGIS server. You can make a connection to the portal's federated server and access and use the service directly via REST.
Web tools and desktop tools
If you have experience running and using geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS Pro, the experience is similar for web tools. The main difference between web tools and geoprocessing tools included in ArcGIS Pro is that when you run a web tool, it executes on a server computer using the resources of the server computer, as opposed to your desktop computer.
Author, publish, and use web tools
To author a web tool, you typically create and document a geoprocessing tool using ModelBuilder or Python. You do not have to create your own tool—you can also use one of the many tools included in ArcGIS.
Once you've authored a tool, you must next run it in ArcGIS Pro, and the tool must complete successfully. When the tool is finished running, it can be shared; sharing creates the web tool item in the portal and the back-end service on an ArcGIS server federated with the portal. You can add multiple tools that you've run to the same web tool during publishing.
After publishing the web tool, it can be used in any client app that connects to the portal. In ArcGIS Pro, you can find and use the web tool from the Portal section of the Project pane.
You can also connect directly to the federated server via REST to use the web tool's back-end geoprocessing service from other client apps, such as a web app you've created yourself or with Web AppBuilder.