I was recently lucky enough to attend my first Aras Community Event or ACE. ACE 2024 took place in Fort Worth, Texas, from March 4-7, with a special invite-only event on March 4. The Tech Summit made its return this year after a hiatus since 2019, providing an opportunity for technical users, partners, and Aras employees to share and discuss top-of-mind topics. If you’re reading this and it seems like something you’d be interested in for the future, at the end of this post are links you can use to become more engaged.

The day started with everybody introducing themselves and explaining what they do with Aras Innovator® and what they wanted to get out of the session. The number one resounding answer to the latter question was that people were interested in what others were doing with the platform. Everyone uses Aras in such a unique way that learning how someone else utilizes the tools and capabilities can often lead to new ideas and initiatives.

The topics ranged from upcoming features like Configurable Web Services (CWS) and Responsive Forms to discussions about query builder and its many applications. It was an excellent opportunity to get some feedback on the implementation of Responsive Forms and show off some cool features coming down the line. We discussed ensuring we’re not removing any functionality when developing Responsive Forms. We’re very aware that users have done tons of cool things with forms in the past. The goal of Responsive Forms is to bridge the knowledge gap for newer users by making it easier to do things like conditionally hiding fields without the use of events and methods. We are not forcing the use of Responsive Forms but rather are providing additional options for our users. We aim to release features as fast as possible to make them as configurable as Classic Forms while allowing power users to do what they’ve always done. The same thing can be said about CWS. The standard REST API isn’t going anywhere. The ability to set up CWS endpoints with low code tools might not be the right solution for someone with intimate knowledge of their existing system. However, it certainly will help someone who needs an endpoint but isn’t as comfortable getting their hands dirty with the code.

The Aras Community is going strong

Since this was my first ACE, it was great to meet multiple attendees who mentioned reading one of my blogs or utilizing a Labs Community Project. That was great to hear! We haven’t had nearly as much time recently to spend on the community as we’d like, but that’s going to change. Meeting everyone at ACE put into perspective the importance of the community of developers we’ve created here. I will be spending more time actively monitoring the forums and creating community solutions. I talked to many customers and partners and walked away with a huge list of projects to investigate in the coming weeks. If you have ideas for community projects, please either leave a comment on this blog or feel free to submit it on the forums; that way, either another member of our community or I could take a stab at it.

The other topic that came up was community forums. Many customers and partners mentioned how a forum post from the last five years had saved them so much trouble. The forums are a great resource for everyone. We continuously aim to improve forum moderation and encourage new members. I’m going to be spending much more time on the forums, answering questions where I can and pointing people in the right direction when I’m not exactly sure. I hope to see more familiar faces helping us. Our community is full of experienced and insightful people and sharing knowledge helps everyone in the long run.

Become a more active member of the Aras Community

I want to thank everyone involved in the Tech Summit this year. It was the highlight of ACE for me personally. Keep an eye on the Aras Labs Github page in the coming weeks to see some cool projects from these discussions. If you weren’t invited to the Tech Summit and would like to participate next year, here are a few actions to make that happen. First of all, you can shoot me a message via email and include information about how you use Aras Innovator! I’d love to expand my network of Aras developers. I’d also recommend becoming active on the community forums. That is a great place to build connections and get your questions answered. Please reach out if you have any suggestions on ways we could improve any aspect of the online Aras community.

I look forward to meeting more of you and exchanging insights at next year’s event!