Saturday, December 4, 2010

A few changes on the horizon

It's been a while since I've last written a blog post.  Much to my amazement, there has been a few changes in the past n months that are scary and exciting at the same time.

I decided it is time to leave behind an old project and start to look ahead.  I'm starting by taking a 6 month contract position with someone, and be forced back into 8 hour shifts, so I can get my full day stamina back.  The past three years has been rather hectic with family woes and pulling many days on the road, not to mention, many late night coding/testing sessions to support a client base that I never had access to in the beginning.

A business contact discussed a new business venture with me that if all works well, we should be starting in the next six months, right after I finish the contract position with whichever company I choose to work with.  This venture is going to be a culmination of everything that I've done in the past 5 years, utilizing the recent education of learning how to properly deploy an application, how to use the latest and greatest in technology, and to even now be able to use some technology that is still being developed from the folks at Microsoft.  I can't wait to get started... it should be a wild ride.

As we go, the hope is to keep posting occasionally on the progress of the project, and maybe a tidbit or two of what the project is.  Again, I can't wait to get the project going, and to-market... it's going to be a wild ride!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Building a licensing system... thoughts on EULA's

In software development, it seems as if the devil is in the details.  You just get a great whizz-bang product built, spent 100's of hours on getting every last detail to work just the way it needs to in order to work in the market.  Now, it's time to sell the product.

Initial thoughts from potential customers are hopeful, but a few create a backlash with you.  They say that you're asking for too much for the product, and then come back and purchase a license anyhow.  What do you do to control them from distributing your product 100's of times?  Ahh... the need for product licensing just arose.

Now, although there are 1,000's of tools on the market for just this situation, I have decided to roll my own.  My reasoning comes from the not-invented-here attitude, meaning that I do want a bit of the god-like control over how the software system works.  I have special needs that I only know about, and that I don't want anyone to have the intellectual knowledge of how I did it just yet, because I want to avoid having an end user override my licensing scheme until after I have it written.  I have done many different projects, and they all have a custom list of what needs to be controlled.  I also don't like the fact that I've not seen much where the EULA can be created in a single format, and then exported to PDF/RTF/HTML/etc., so that's another sticking point.

The system will be constructed of the following:
  • a WPF application that will allow data entry.
  • a WCF web service to allow license key activation.
  • a website (v2) to allow end-users to purchase and issue their own keys.
  • 1 dll per product to handle licensing.  This will lend to better custom rules needed on a per-product or per-addin scenario, where buying an off-the-shelf product may not be able to handle this as well.
So far, I've adopted the use of Markdown for formatting the EULA's and can enter reseller information.  Adopting Markdown allows the quick and easy transformation of the text into HTML, and can then eventually have a converter written to move it to other formats, or use the HTML and create that into other formats.  Once I can complete the task of entering the rest of the product information, I will publish a few wireframe screenshots to the web for anyone that is interested in my progress as I go.

My hope is that I can get something respectable that will work for my needs, and maybe market this little tool to other software developers as time goes on.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

family woes... or how finances never seem to work out

It seems just when things in life are starting to get back to a better time, something worse starts in that puts you 5 steps behind where you started.  Again, that is the day for me today...

Things are going well, as my mother's surgery has finally turned life around for her.  She is handling the healing process, and is pulling through quite well all in all.  Then the issue of insurances has come around, and when it's time to pay the piper, we can't seem to get the finances in order to handle the incurred costs.

So, now it's time to whore myself out and try to help better support the folks until such a time as they can get back on their feet.  Looks like the road continues, although I thought that they finally got themselves to a point where they could handle things.  Bummer.