eaForms Community Edition – alpha release

eaForms(tm) has been around for some time, and although not a major commercial success in its own right, it has proved useful to me and others.  For budding AddIn developers my experience is that you only make money from AddIns when somebody else pays for the development(!), although they can be really useful in supporting your projects.

Since the demand for new features has stopped, we haven’t been doing much development, and have no plans for further development on the commercial product.  However, I felt that it may be useful to make available a version that may be of use to a wider audience – hence this Community Edition of eaForms.

This version is similar to the existing commercial product, a few functions have been removed, there are significant changes in the Form Designers’ user interface, and there are some underlying changes which provide greater flexibility when making enhancements and using some of the components in isolation.  And most importantly, we have removed all license menus/options have been removed – it’s free to download and use!

Interested? – you can download an early access version on the eaForms(TM) Community Edition download page. This is not a production release but provided to allow users to test and gives us some feedback; keep an eye on the download page for further updates.

Other changes

For those customers familiar with the existing product the following changes should be noted:

  • There is now only a single version with no difference between the designer and user versions; just an additional menu option
  • The format of the Form Definition files has changed to make it easier to add new control types – we have produced a Form Definition convertor to help.
  • Editing of controls has moved from individual dialogs to a common approach using property grids dialogs
  • Some menu options have been removed, specifically those where we no longer see a need for the function (please let us know if there is something you really need!)

One of the areas we are keen to get feedback relates to the multiple windows i.e. the FormDesigner, control properties window, trace window; at present they exist as windows forms outside of EA but would it be preferred if one or all were EA tabs/addin windows?

Open source / toolkit?

When deciding to release this version of eaForms I thought about how much I have learnt from  its development.  There were odds and ends with EA, but more significant and challenging was Windows; I’ve always found that writing AddIns has always been more about Windows programming than EA!!

With the learnings in mind I am toying with the idea of making this version (or parts) availanle as open source.  This would allow me to share my learnings, and it may be that others would wish to enhance the product or use some its components in their work.  However, I see little point in doing this unless there is real interest as it will no doubt involve me with some work and potentially lots of questions!

What next?

Give it a go and provide me with your feedback so that I can review options for the next step.

In the meantime, have fun, and if your project requires EA support drop me an email!