This post is really about how useful the Australian .NET Developer mailing list is.
Last night, Saturday night, (OK, us old fogies should have been watching The Bill), I posted the following plea for help to the mailing list:
Has anyone had any experience with distributing a .NET application via the InstallShield Activation Service? Or is there a better alternative for .NET?
The background to my problem is this:
1. I have a number of clients for whom I have written VB6 applications. (No, donâ€™t laugh. Iâ€™m probably older than you.)ÂAll this is very good exceptâ€¦ Now hereâ€™s the problem:Â
2. They then wrap my .exe with the InstallShield Activation Service (IAS) and distribute the “wrapped” exe.
3. End users can install a trial which allows either “n” days trial period or “x” uses.
4. After payment is received, my clients upload serial numbers to the IAS website.
5. End users then “unlock” my exe by registering their Serial Number either online to the IAS web service or via phone or e-mail.
6. My clients get alerted when an end-user tries to install on another machine; my clients make a lot of extra sales this way.
We have all agreed that the applications should be upgraded/rewritten for .NET. Unfortunately, the IAS “Quick Start Guide” warns thatâ€¦
“Note that interpreted languages such as Java, .NET, and PowerBuilder do not support trialware. Therefore, if you develop your application in Java, .NET, or PowerBuilder, you cannot build a trialware version of it in InstallShield.”
This is a show-stopper. My clients love IAS. If I cannot use it with .NET or offer them a better alternative, Iâ€™ll never get to upgrade these applications.
So has anyone successfully used IAS with a .NET app? Or is there a better trialware distribution/registration/activation method?
Any advice/suggestions gratefully accepted.
Within 30 mins, I had a straightforward reply from Matthew Hooper at ICsoft:
Microsoft has recognised this problem and has addressed it with the Shareware Starter Kit (SSK)
Is that good or what? Thanks Matt and thanks to everyone who takes time to respond to queries on the mailing list.
The aus-dotnet mailing list once again lives up to its promise of “help from your peers, in your time-zone”. (Even if your time-zone is Saturday night.)
More on the Shareware Starter Kit as I learn about it. It’s in Beta, but it looks fairly mature and may well be ready by the time I need it.