eXpand: An open source framework built with XAF

Apostolis Bekiaris is a DX-Squad member whose focus is on our business application framework, XAF.

For almost 18 months, Tolis has been digging into XAF to uncover its capabilities and make it accessible for developers of all levels. To this end he has created the eXpand framework – the first open source project based on XAF.

Recently, eXpand was officially released into the wild. I asked Tolis if he could tell us a little more about eXpand and the on-going open source project.

What is eXpand?

eXpand is an open source extension framework for XAF and operates under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL).

Being DevExpress users at the inception of XAF, and accumulating a few years of experience, has made it easy for our team to understand how to apply best practices and design useful, abstract modules. We wanted to make that knowledge more accessible for other users of XAF. Using our own experiences and also gathering as much knowledge and feedback from other great minds out there, we have managed to design 51 well-architected and tested assemblies to distribute over our framework.

Although the eXpress App Framework is a very powerful, event-driven and extensible beast, it targets developers. In turn, they are responsible for moulding and extending XAF to build business solutions. But even a very simple business solution requires a lot of time to implement and commitment to learning the extent of XAF’s capabilities, in order to make modules abstract and reusable. Some users just don’t have that expertise or the time, so our framework guides users to help them achieve this. A Feature Center application is distributed along with our sources to help reduce the learning curve.

How long have you been working on the project?

Back in July 2009, myself, Martin Praxmarer (DX-Squad) and John Pouliezos started the project. Since then more members have joined us including Dima Jansen and Carlitos Melgar.

Our team members are using eXpand for everyday project needs, which is great because by using it every day we get ideas on how to evolve and develop it.

While we are mentioning the team, I would like to invite anyone from the XAF community that would like to join our team of volunteers to get in touch and participate. We can provide a great set of benefits in return (including a DXperience Universal license), but not only that, we have found that the best benefit of this project is the joy of helping a very active community!

Why did you select XAF?

XAF scaffolds the state-of-the-art components from DevExpress, as well as having a great architecture and look-and-feel.

Before XAF came into the picture, the powerful, yet very simple, XPO was my ORM of choice. Since XPO was used to provide the storage layer for XAF, it seemed a natural decision based on experiences with the ORM tool.

During the many years I have worked with DevExpress, I have been amazed at how the team has pushed technology beyond its limits. Those of you that have used XAF from day one will remember that at the time, there was no other framework built on MVC. And now, bringing the framework up-to-date, the Domain Components technology introduced lately is just amazing, and has no equal!

One of the biggest reasons for using DevExpress products is their support team. If you have a problem and you make good use of the Support Center, you are likely to get a resolution within a day.

Find out more about eXpand

eXpand has a seemingly endless number of features right now, and Tolis does as much as he can to keep the community up-to-date on what is happening on his blog.

New users can read the team’s recent release post to get up to speed.

The eXpand site is available at http://www.expandframework.com where users can find and read more about the modules available, and contribute to the eXpand wiki.

There are also forums where you can find and post eXpand and XAF-related answers and queries.

eXpand is an extensive project, and we all thank Tolis and the rest of the volunteer team working on it for open sourcing it.

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