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Toolbox Tools

version 1.2.1 (179 KB) by Laura Dempsey
A toolbox for developing custom toolboxes in MATLAB.


Updated 05 Jun 2020

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This toolbox provides tools to create a sandbox for developing custom MATLAB toolbox. It uses a convention enforcing best practices in order to help streamline and standardise your toolbox development and packaging process.

This version is for MATLAB release R2019a onwards.

Cite As

Laura Dempsey (2021). Toolbox Tools (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (15)

Ken Deeley

Chang hsiung

Laura Dempsey

Hi Rick, thank you for your feedback. In regards to #2, this issue should now be fixed in v.1.2.1. Please let me know if you continue to hit this error. As for #1, at the moment Toolbox Tools does not support special shorthand path characters (such as ~ for the home directory on Linux). We will consider this enhancement for a future release.

Rick Zuber

Thanks for setting this up.

I did notice a couple of minor issues when evaluating this latest 1.2 release:
1) Under Linux if the path variable includes a "~" character to reference the users home directory an error occurs.

>> mksandbox('foo', '~/dev/matlab/toolbox_test/')
Error using mksandbox (line 58)
Java exception occurred:
at java.util.Collections.addAll(
Using an absolute path resolves this issue (ie: `mksandbox('foo', '/home/user/dev/matlab/toolbox_test'`)

2) The template directory requires a new folder `releases` to be created, otherwise this error occurs:

>> mksandbox('foo', '/home/zuber/dev/matlab/toolbox_test/')
Error using matlab.project.Project/addFolderIncludingChildFiles
The file or folder "/home/zuber/dev/matlab/toolbox_test/foo_sandbox/releases" does not exist.

Error in mksandbox (line 74)
project.addFolderIncludingChildFiles( fullfile( toolboxRoot, "releases" ) );

Adding an empty directory in the Toolbox Tools source resolves this issue.


The easiest way to fix the "Undefined function 'year'" error is to replace `year(now)` with `year(datetime('now'))`

Larry Jones

Appears to have broken in R2018a. Error message: "Undefined function 'year' for input arguments of type 'double'. "

Vadim Frolov

There is a dependency on Financial Toolbox (at least in R2017b 64-bit). Function mksandbox, line 95, num2str(year(now)). Function year is in financial toolbox. See also:


Andrew Carmichael

Curtis Mayberry

A few other notes while I'm working on updating a release script generated by toolbox tools
* The release script asserts that the Matlab version is greater than 9.1 and then later it has code that checks if the release is less than 9.0. it seems that the second code can never be reached.
* I setup the release script to create a directory for each release so the documentation and other materials can be included along with the release
* I did manage to get the release script to also release a standalone executable of an application by using the mcc command.
* I changed the way you handle the current directory to minimize the changes in the current directory and make it less reliant on the current directory.

Curtis Mayberry

Why does the release script have the name of the toolbox as an input? The release script seems to be written so it needs to be customized for that specific toolbox.

I changed the input to a version number which is used to check that the version listed in the toolbox package matches the version I intended to release.

Amy Koh

Hi Curtis,

Many thanks for spotting that. The 'today' function does have a dependency on the Financial Toolbox, and I'll be updating the toolbox code shortly.

You can indeed package a standalone application using the same workflow or setup. In that case, you will have a MATLAB Compiler project file sitting in the same directory as your toolbox project file. Using the release.m script, you can automatically create a new version of the standalone application when you package a new version of the toolbox.


Curtis Mayberry

Thanks for the response and great suggestion about packaging apps!

I noticed that on line 82 of mksandbox.m you have the following code: "datestr(today)"
Every time I run the "mksandbox" function I get a warning that contents.m could not be written and if I try that bit of code I get a warning that today is only available with the Financial Toolbox. I don't think you meant to have that dependency. You might be able to use the "date" or "now" functions instead to avoid this dependency.

Have you included the compiling of applications in this flow using MATLAB compiler? It seems like it could be part of the flow similar to the packaging of apps so the compiled version is also released at the same time as the toolbox. Just with the output going to a separate location to be distributed separately. Just thought I would check to see if you have experience doing this before adding this customization.


Amy Koh

Hi Curtis,

Thanks for your comment. I’ll be talking about best practices on packaging MATLAB apps within a toolbox in an upcoming post on Developer Zone, so stay tuned! But essentially you want to avoid files being duplicated or packaged more than once in the toolbox(.mltbx) and app(.mlappinstall) files. My suggestion is to only package the app launcher or main file in the mlappinstall file. All other code and dependencies are packaged in the mltbx file. This is particularly relevant if you have more than one app that shares the same toolbox code.

Users can only install and access content of an mltbx file from within MATLAB. Standalone applications will have to be packaged and distributed separately to users who do not have access to MATLAB.


Curtis Mayberry

What are the best practices for including packaged apps and compiled applications in this workflow? These apps and compiled applications would be based on the code in the toolbox. The apps would need to be included as a part of the toolbox. The compiled applications would be used for users without access (or willingness to learn) Matlab.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2020a
Compatible with R2019a and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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