How do we define SDE Connection for workspace in Python Scripting?


4 Answers 4


Examples 3 through 5 on this page are amazing for this problem: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//0017000000q7000000

Here is a simplified version I made that lets me do on the fly connections in python using Sql Server direct connect only.

Name: sdeconn.py
Description: Utility functions for sde connections

# Import system modules
import arcpy, os, sys

def connect(database, server="<default server>", username="<default user>", password="<default password>", version="SDE.DEFAULT"):
    # Check if value entered for option
        #Usage parameters for spatial database connection to upgrade
        service = "sde:sqlserver:" + server 
        account_authentication = 'DATABASE_AUTH'
        version = version.upper()
        database = database.lower()

        # Check if direct connection
        if service.find(":") <> -1:  #This is direct connect
            ServiceConnFileName = service.replace(":", "")
            ServiceConnFileName = ServiceConnFileName.replace(";", "")
            ServiceConnFileName = ServiceConnFileName.replace("=", "")
            ServiceConnFileName = ServiceConnFileName.replace("/", "")
            ServiceConnFileName = ServiceConnFileName.replace("\\", "")
            sys.exit("\nSyntax for a direct connection in the Service parameter is required for geodatabase upgrade.")

        # Local variables
        Conn_File_NameT = server + "_" + ServiceConnFileName + "_" + database + "_" + username    

        if os.environ.get("TEMP") == None:
            temp = "c:\\temp"   
            temp = os.environ.get("TEMP")

        if os.environ.get("TMP") == None:
            temp = "/usr/tmp"       
            temp = os.environ.get("TMP")  

        Connection_File_Name = temp + os.sep + Conn_File_NameT + ".sde"
        if os.path.isfile(Connection_File_Name):
            return Connection_File_Name

        # Check for the .sde file and delete it if present

        # Variables defined within the script; other variable options commented out at the end of the line
        saveVersionInfo = "SAVE_VERSION" #DO_NOT_SAVE_VERSION

        print "\nCreating ArcSDE Connection File...\n"
        # Process: Create ArcSDE Connection File...
        # Usage: out_folder_path, out_name, server, service, database, account_authentication, username, password, save_username_password, version,   save_version_info
        print temp
        print Conn_File_NameT
        print server
        print service
        print database
        print account_authentication
        print username
        print password
        print saveUserInfo
        print version
        print saveVersionInfo
        arcpy.CreateArcSDEConnectionFile_management(temp, Conn_File_NameT, server, service, database, account_authentication, username, password, saveUserInfo, version, saveVersionInfo)
        for i in range(arcpy.GetMessageCount()):
            if "000565" in arcpy.GetMessage(i):   #Check if database connection was successful
                return Connection_File_Name
    #Check if no value entered for option   
    except SystemExit as e:
        print e.code

Using this script, I can make a connection file on the fly by simply calling:

import arcpy, sdeconn
myconnect1 = sdeconn.connect("database1", "server")
myconnect2 = sdeconn.connect("database2", "server")

This eliminates the problem of database connection files being inconsistent from machine to machine or user profile to user profile.

  • Great script, but I found a few minor issues with it during my development. - It saves the password, but not as part of the file name, so when I supplied a different password the code found a connection file for the database but did not know the password was different. I changed the name to md5.new( server + "_" + ServiceConnFileName + "_" + database + "-" + version + "_" + username + password).hexdigest() - The indentation on the posting for the return is incorrect, so I didn't know my connection was failing. - The code changes the version to upper case, my version was lower case
    – Bryan
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 17:13
  • Yeah, if I made the script now it would have some more options for things like forcing file creation (for when you change the password). Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 19:54

D.E.Wright just beat me to it, he's right on, use a connection just like in ArcCatalog. But here's my take, done at the Python prompt in ArcMap, using the direct full path to a sde connection file:

>>> import arcpy
>>> arcpy.env.workspace = "C:\\Users\\chad\\AppData\\Roaming\\ESRI\\Desktop10.0\\ArcCatalog\\anrc_water (anrcuser).sde"
>>> fdlist = arcpy.ListDatasets()
>>> for fd in fdlist:
...     print fd


To get the path to my sde connection file, I just right-clicked on my SDE database in the Catalog tree, went to properties, then on the General tab, copy the path from the Name field:

enter image description here

  • Thank you sir I got it now. i really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot. Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 20:07
  • 6
    If you're using the Python window in ArcCatalog to create your scripts, you can drag & drop your connection into the Python window and it will format the path properly. Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 16:53
  • @TimothyMichael You just saved my life. Thank you.
    – ketar
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 18:28

You need to define your SDE connection document as you would normally in ArcCatalog; Then you will create the path to the layer in Python like this:

DataConnections = "C:\\AGS_GCSS_Tools\\DatabaseConnections\\" 
TCA_Connection = "prod_sde.sde\\prod_SDE.GIS.PropertyTax" + CAPSYear + "\\prod_SDE.GIS.Tca"
TCA_Layer = DataConnections + TCA_Connection

This will set your path to where your .SDE file lives, but then you set the path inside that connection to the layer you are looking for. In my case I also set a Year variable.

  • Hi Wright,Thanks for your response i really dont understand what you are saying, I need to run geoprocessing from my local desktop accessing my sde connection on a different server. I have connection created for the sde service on arc catalog. what should i do if want to access data from the sde connection. Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 19:56
  • Nowadays Esri recommends using os.path.join for joining the .sde connection file (sdeworkspace) variable and the object name. So it will be indata = os.path.join(sdeworkspace,"FeatureClass"). Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:14

you can also define the path of connection directly in your Query .

PathSdeConnection= "C:\\Users\\{Username Of windows}\\AppData\\Roaming\\ESRI\\Desktop10.2\\ArcCatalog\\{name of ConenctionString}.sde

and use it in Search and etc.

with arcpy.da.SearchCursor(PathSdeConnection,("OBJECTID","SHAPE@","SHAPE@JSON"),{WhereClause})as cursor:
     for row in cursor:

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