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Monthly Fee for Standard Client Server Software

4 posts in Commercial ISV's Last posting was on 2009-05-15 17:47:05.0Z
Jeff Gibson Posted on 2009-05-11 23:05:20.0Z
Reply-To: "Jeff Gibson" <jgibson@interceptsolutions.com>
From: "Jeff Gibson" <jgibson@interceptsolutions.com>
Newsgroups: sybase.public.commercial-isv.general
Subject: Monthly Fee for Standard Client Server Software
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Just looking to see if I can glean any ideas for anyone out there on
Licensing software in such a way where you would charge a monthly fee for
the software (SaaS style), but deploying standard Client Server based
software.

I realize that we can always go down the road of the smart client (I really
like this idea), and force them to have to download the code each time they
use it. However, I'm looking for some type of third party component that
would have to do some sort of phone home everything thirty to sixty days to
see if the user has paid their monthly user fee.

If they had, the software would continue to function. If they had not, we
would warn them, and after a specific grace period, we would not allow the
software to run.

Anybody ever done anything like this?

We're just trying to look at all our options here. Maybe somebody has
rolled their own. If that is the case then maybe you could throw some ideas
my way.

TIA.

Jeff Gibson
Intercept Solutions - Sybase SQL Anywhere OEM Partner
Nashville, TN


Roland Smith [TeamSybase] Posted on 2009-05-12 20:03:39.0Z
From: "Roland Smith [TeamSybase]" <rsmith_at_trusthss_dot_com>
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Subject: Re: Monthly Fee for Standard Client Server Software
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You can do the phone home with GetURL. If the URL you point it at is an .ASP
file, the code is executed on the server and then returned to the app. You
could pass an identifier like MAC address or Hard Drive serial number and
return a value that told the app whether they were up to date.

Example URL:

http://www.mywebsite.com/checklicense.asp?serial=abcdefg

.ASP is a very simple. It can be done in Notepad and uses VBScript as it's
language. All you need is an IIS based webserver and a database to connect
to.

It could be as simple as this:


<%
set cn = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")

cn.Open "PROVIDER=SQLOLEDB;DATA
SOURCE=servername;DATABASE=database;UID=userid;PWD=password"

set rs = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.recordset")

strSQL = "SELECT STATUS_CODE FROM LICENSE WHERE SERIAL = " &
Request("serial")

rs.Open strSQL, cn
If rs.EOF = False Then
status_code = rs.Fields("STATUS_CODE")
Else
status_code = "N"
End If
rs.Close

Response.Write status_code
%>


Wim Dewulf Posted on 2009-05-15 17:47:05.0Z
From: Wim Dewulf <wim.nospam.dewulf@nospam.shaded.be>
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Jeff Gibson wrote:
> Just looking to see if I can glean any ideas for anyone out there on
> Licensing software in such a way where you would charge a monthly fee for
> the software (SaaS style), but deploying standard Client Server based
> software.
>
> I realize that we can always go down the road of the smart client (I really
> like this idea), and force them to have to download the code each time they
> use it. However, I'm looking for some type of third party component that
> would have to do some sort of phone home everything thirty to sixty days to
> see if the user has paid their monthly user fee.
>
> If they had, the software would continue to function. If they had not, we
> would warn them, and after a specific grace period, we would not allow the
> software to run.
>
> Anybody ever done anything like this?
>
> We're just trying to look at all our options here. Maybe somebody has
> rolled their own. If that is the case then maybe you could throw some ideas
> my way.
>
> TIA.
>
> Jeff Gibson
> Intercept Solutions - Sybase SQL Anywhere OEM Partner
> Nashville, TN
>
>

Hi,

A while ago I worked on an application (not Powerbuilder though but 4D)
that had a monthly license fee. In fact there was even no difference
between the trial version and the full version. When installed you got a
license for 30 days. When the application launched it tried to connect
to a server over the internet and checked with the registration number
if the license could be prolonged. Each time a successful connection was
made and the user got authenticated, the internal counter was reset.
When the user didn't connect for 30 days, he got a warning he should
connect as soon as possible. Finally after another 30 days the
application fell back to trial mode (without loss of data though). A
side effect was that a number of extra services were only available
through the connection with that internet server, rendering the main
application less desirable if it was not connected.

Regards

Wim


jrlandau Posted on 2009-05-15 05:54:12.0Z
From: jrlandau <jrlandau@verizon.net>
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Jeff Gibson wrote:
> Just looking to see if I can glean any ideas for anyone out there on
> Licensing software in such a way where you would charge a monthly fee for
> the software (SaaS style), but deploying standard Client Server based
> software.
>
> I realize that we can always go down the road of the smart client (I really
> like this idea), and force them to have to download the code each time they
> use it. However, I'm looking for some type of third party component that
> would have to do some sort of phone home everything thirty to sixty days to
> see if the user has paid their monthly user fee.
>
> If they had, the software would continue to function. If they had not, we
> would warn them, and after a specific grace period, we would not allow the
> software to run.
>
> Anybody ever done anything like this?
>
> We're just trying to look at all our options here. Maybe somebody has
> rolled their own. If that is the case then maybe you could throw some ideas
> my way.
>
> TIA.
>
> Jeff Gibson
> Intercept Solutions - Sybase SQL Anywhere OEM Partner
> Nashville, TN
>
>

I have done this--rolled my own. Client side, I did what Roland Smith
advises, no problem. I used our own customer number as the
identification. The app stores a license expiration date and makes a
call to the server before the license expires to get a new date. So the
transaction is: send customer id, then read the date.

On the server side I wrote a Python app (about 1 page) that calls a DLL
that reads a legacy database to get the date. It (the Python app) runs
in Apache that is running on a VM (for portability) on my everyday
development machine.

If this sounds like a Rube Goldberg solution, it is. My first try was
to use ASP to do the server, but the book I bought was so obtuse and I
am so dumb I couldn't figure out what it (ASP) was supposed to do.

Contact me if I can help. jrl@versaform.com, 408 370 2662 x 118

Joe Landau