Today sees the release of version 4.x of ag-Grid. This is the first release offering both free and enterprise versions. From now on, the ag-Grid core project (formally ag-Grid) is split into ag-Grid (free and covered by MIT license) and ag-Grid-Enterprise (not free, covered by a Commercial license).

A lot of thought has gone into this change. I understand that this will upset some people in the community. However, I believe this change was needed for a project like ag-Grid to exist. Let me share some light on what is actually happening:

During 2015, ag-Grid was a pet project, it was what I spent most hours doing outside of my day job. I estimate 20 hours per week on average was put into ag-Grid. This meant my personal life took a back seat.

In 2016 I had to choose between my personal life, my job and ag-Grid, so I quit my job to focus on ag-Grid full time and get back my life. So far during this time I have taken a step back from the code and implemented large changes to keep the codebase healthy. For example one of the major changes is ag-Grid now has its own IoC container and Component library — the frameworks out there, in my opinion, are not suitable for a complex widget like ag-Grid. My full-time commitment allows this technical ownership and what is allowing ag-Grid to excel over other grids. Grids are complex systems, ag-Grid is one of the most complex projects I have worked on.

I do not accept PRs without going through them all with a fine tooth comb. I do not release code without doing full regression testing (takes about one full day). I constantly refactor as complexity grows to keep the foundations capable of managing a complex system. Large features that I implement take me days of undistracted full dedication, the dedication that would not be given if this project was to remain a pet project.

So in summary, this project only has a future if I can work on it full time. If this doesn’t turn into a revenue stream, then I’m going to have to find a job, and this project will stagnate. On the other hand, if this project succeeds, well we are just getting started. There is so much more we can do. I am excited about the prospects of where next. It would be great if I could get a small team hired to help me, really taking things forward and killing the ‘what grid do we use’ question once and for all.

Some questions and answers that I have anticipated:

How do you decide what features go into ag-Grid-Enterprise?
In my head, I asked “what features are above and beyond what the other grids are offering” and decided to have that as a reference point on what should be provided for free vs paid. So if you are looking for a grid that pretty much matches the other free ones for features (but kills them on performance and quality!) then you can use the ag-Grid free version if you are on a budget.

Are there new enterprise features, or did you just move items around?
There are plenty of new enterprise features in version 4 for example clipboard interaction, range cell selection, status panel (to autoaggregation of selected ranges), the documentation has a new section for ag-Grid-Enterprise where you can see all the features included. Future releases will contain more enterprise features as this area is explored. From the previous version, I moved row grouping, aggregation, setFilter, and toolPanel into the ag-Grid-Enterprise (I do not intend to move anything else). If you are using these features currently, then you have the choice of a) do not upgrade and continue to use the version you are on b) upgrade and stop using these features or c) get a license for and start using ag-Grid-Enterprise.

ag-Grid-Enterprise is on Github, is it open source?
No, ag-Grid-Enterprise code is available to view on Github, however, it is not open source in such that it is not free. Everyone can view the code, but you are not allowed to use or copy it as it is copyright. If you pay a license then you are free to fork the code and make changes for your own personal use.

What is the future of the free version?
The enterprise version depends on the free version, there is no duplication of logic. So going forward the free version will continue to receive new features to the core grid along with normal maintenance and bug fixes.

don’t agree with what you have done…
Feel free to use ui-Grid or slickGrid, grids that come to mind who do not have a commercial model around them.

But I gave you a sizable donation through PayPal, and I now have to pay?
I am very grateful to anyone who has donated over the past year. If / when you enquire about an enterprise license, please note to me who you are so I can match your kindness with a discount (not one for one, I’ll be nicer!!).

What about support?
Support for the free version will stay the same, you are free to raise issues in the ag-Grid forum, and someone from ag-Grid may help with no guarantee. For the enterprise version, an new members forum now exists where members can post and get guaranteed support.

I hope this will be the first step in getting ag-Grid onto a whole new level. I plan in one year from now to have ag-Grid explode with regards features capabilities. If we can get funding via sales, well the sky is the limit.

Best regards,
Niall Crosby.