New Cross Platform and Modern EP-Launch
EP-Launch Lite that is distributed on non-Windows installs of EnergyPlus is not functionally equivalent to EP-Launch on Windows. It does not support all the same utilities or options. EP-Launch has not had a significant GUI update in many years. EP-Launch would be rewritten to have a more modern GUI while supporting all the same utilities and options and would be made to be cross platform compatible.
Overall, existing EP-Launch program provides a graphical user interface for interacting with EnergyPlus and many of the utilities that are included with the installer. Users can browse to select input files and weather files or use the pull down lists to select from recently used files with full file paths so that they can be anywhere on the user's computer. Single buttons provide access to all the output files. In addition, the user can define buttons to open sets of files that they use frequently. The user can also use a single button to edit the selected input file via a text editor or the IDF Editor. The user can use automatically selected programs to open each type of file or can specifically select programs to open them. The types of files include text editor, drawing viewer, VRML viewer, spreadsheet, diagramming program, HTML browser, ESO viewer, PDF viewer, XML viewer. When running a file, EP-Launch checks to see if it from a previous version of EnergyPlus and can run the Transition program if the user wants. Like the CLI, it can runs ExpandObjects, EP-Macro, and Readvars. In addition it runs the old Basement and Slab preprocessing programs, the ParametricPreprocessor, convertESOMTR, and CSVproc. The user can use the Single Input File tab to select and run multiple IDF files or use the Group of Input Files to define a group of files that they want to run. The simulations can be run individually or simultaneously using as many simultaneous processes that the user selects. The user can also use a pause during simulation mode to help debug problems. The History tab allows previous simulation results to be accessed and viewed. The Utility tab allows other programs distributed with EnergyPlus to be used via a user interface. Those programs are Basement, CalcSoilSurfTemp, CoeffCheck, CoeffConv, Slab, Weather, AppGPostProcessor, IDFVersionUpdater, EPDrawGUI, and EP-Compare. The documentation is all accessible through the help menu. EP-Launch also automatically checks if a new version of EnergyPlus is available and notifies the user. Like the CLI, it displays the version number of EnergyPlus. The overall feature set for EP-Launch allows the user to have a single access point to the variety of programs and provide the user a simple way to use them.
The CLI can force a simulation to be run only design days or force the simulation to run an annual simulation which EP-Launch currently cannot do. The CLI also allows for several file naming options including using different input and output file names and using three different output suffix styles. Like the EP-Launch, it has options to run ExpandObjects, EP-Macro, and Readvars. Similar to EP-Launch the CLI can show the version number of EnergyPlus. Since it is a CLI, it does allow the user to take advantage of any file selecting approach that the console provides such as autocomplete.
Amir Roth commented
What does EP-Launch give you that EnergyPlus CLI doesn't?