I have personally seen people do it many ways and the two you mention both have values and difficulties.
Option 1: Requires a fair amount toolbox configuration if you really need to have some variable data driven into the datacards or people monitoring them if so required. However, it does allow for ease of standard toolbox definitions and deployments across sites if replication is a consideration. The three options that toolbox configuration gives you also would potentially allow you to do both 1 manage in the vault, but yet allow custom creates.(See your administration guide)
• Create Configurations: A configuration is added when you use a new fastener size.
• Create Parts: A part file is created when you use a new fastener size.
• Create Parts on Ctrl-Drag: A part file is create when you CTRL+drag a fastener from the Toolbox
Option 2: Works well for some and especially when they don't need to share data for projects and they don't need to worry about duplication. It is also a good point if all users don't have the licensing to support it...
Personally, I have a larger group of people with common product line designs and not project based so having a singular toolbox with configuations and all managed in the vault has worked well for us. We replicate to other sites and find it very convient that when a person needs to use it they aren't doing something that the other users won't have at their disposal.
Thanks for your input
I'm curious... How do you deal with SPR 602855? Don't you have customized toolbox parts?
Do you have a special user that puts in all the properties in advanced (using Toolbox->Configure)? Or are the users filling in the properties as the new configuration is created?
Do you work with "create parts" or "create configurations"? (from my experience, it is better not to mix both methods...)
Do you have a property for "part number" or are you using the file's name? (BOM consideration).
By the way, regarding your statement - ..."they aren't doing something that the other users won't have at their disposal." - using what I called "method 2", the fasteners are part of the vault, in a central location (under "library" folder for example) - so they are common to everyone as well.
I think to answer your question about the SPR there are no files managed outside the vault for us. Everything we do related to SolidWorks is inside the vault and our toolbox location hasn't changed. Let me say that with the new toolbox environment in 2012 and not really investigating it too much, I'm not sure how this will all apply...
We have done a little of both. We have completed some toolbox configuration and pre-loading of configurations and properties into the toolbox configuration as well as have some users given the ability to add data to the EPDM datacard post configuration creation.
We do have a property for part number and use it several different ways.
To comment back on your response to my statement. I guess what I was saying is that anytime you have some people outside the system that are allowed to do something and pull it into the vault without the other(s) knowing there is that chance that they will create and use it prior to pulling it into the vault for one and I suppose the other would be that depending on how you create the part from the toolbox. If others than one can do it then depending on their independent toolbox configuration, etc. you could possibly have two identical parts created then pulled into your library that would be identical.