Real Studio Now Free

Real World News Part 6

The current editions of Real Studio, Personal, Professional, Enterprise and Web is a confusing mix for many users because some editions have certain IDE features (think encryptions, secure sockets, container controls, etc) along with features that users don’t need/want. Real Software, starting with 2012 Release 2, will now give away Real Studio and charge á la carte for licenses depending on what sort of application you want to build (note that this does not affect debug apps).

The new licensing model makes only 4 distinctions. Desktop, Console, and Web applications. You’ll be able to build for any platform that the license covers. One additional license is required to connect to database servers. This doesn’t affect the REALSQLDatabase (SQLite) as it will be the native database available for all servers.

Here are the build types and the new/renewal prices:
Console Apps $100/$50
Desktop Apps $300/$150
Web Apps $400/$200
Database Servers $300/$150

Real announced that they will migrate existing licenses to the new plan automatically.

I was fairly shocked at this new licensing scheme. I think the existing $99 Personal license is very cheap, but this change promises to get Real Studio in the hands of more new users than ever before. I believe that most users will spend less on licensing with consultants like me probably spending a bit more (since I use all of those build types and databases).

Only time will tell how well this works for Real Software. I wish them well as it should increase the number of people who at least want to take a look at Real Studio. How well this translates into licenses will take a while to figure out. However, with the recent addition of Web Edition and the future iOS builds this model makes sense.

What are your thoughts?

105 thoughts on “Real Studio Now Free

  1. Geoff Perlman :
    Ian – not all users build database server applications. That’s why we price that feature separately.

    With all due respect, that’s not a very good reason for pricing a language feature separately, otherwise you’d be separately pricing each area of the language to give developers a full “A la Carte” menu.

    Who’s for serial port access for $100, File and Math for $50 each and so on? 🙂

    In all seriousness, I do understand why you’re doing it this way, the database stuff is certainly a large area that many developers may not need, and those that do need it may initially need extra support as they get to grips with the database classes. And as those database servers are ever changing third party products (in a similar way to the third party OS APIs <– pulling the rug from under my argument) they need constant development. I get it, but it still feels weird that the other price points are all easily identifiable build targets, but database server support is a language feature that can be used across all build targets.

  2. As a customer I can only evaluate price versus product when I know what the product is actually offering. Until than it’s a pure academic discussion. I’m still very confused why a specific DB Server license will be required.

    Also, in which direction is RS going? What will RS offer Windows developers? It seems that all is still up in the air and therefore we can just wait and see.

  3. Talked to a “hobbyist” friend about the new pricing. He programs some utilities for himself like a recipe collection app. He won’t renew with the new pricing.

  4. Beatrix, and the good news is that he won’t have to renew as the IDE will be free. He can run his projects in the IDE without having to buy a license at all. Our surveys showed that about half the Personal edition users don’t build apps so we expect that about half of them will not buy a license. If they don’t need to build, that’s fine. If, OTOH, your friend needs to build, he can renew his license now for an additional two years at the current price.

    No pricing model is perfect for everyone. But with a free IDE, everyone can use Real Studio.

  5. I really don’t mind the model, as a whole, as I can see and appreciate the merit. I believe, for what it is, the categories are fairly priced. Even hobbyists, if they plan on building, I don’t think the price is wholly unfair. I’m a hobbyist sailor and canoeist… but the boats still cost the same price, and I don’t need to keep my vessels with all the latest gear. It’s not like you can’t build if you don’t have the latest version of RS.

    The only conflict I have are is the price of databases… I’d be essentially paying $300/$150 for a PostgreSQL plugin. That seems steep. Unless I misunderstand, not a lot of time goes into those plugins (comparatively speaking). It just seems like paying for those — at that price — came a bit out of left field.

  6. Jason :

    The only conflict I have are is the price of databases… I’d be essentially paying $300/$150 for a PostgreSQL plugin. That seems steep. Unless I misunderstand, not a lot of time goes into those plugins (comparatively speaking). It just seems like paying for those — at that price — came a bit out of left field.

    If does seem a bit high, but Norman was hinting in his presentation at some of the ORM stuff they could be doing in medium-term future. This might be strictly to be able to gauge the demand and pay for those features. If it’s a huge seller then they know putting time and resources into it make sense. If no one pays for it then it’s not. Currently they really have no way to tell.

    Like all of the other license discussion, you can develop *without* the license until you do a build. That might save some people a fair amount of money in the long run.

  7. Hi Jason. It’s really not just for the database plugin. There’s a lot of work we do to support all databases and there’s more coming. So what you are paying for us database support in general.

    I did look at a model where each database plugin was pricing separately but it didn’t really work well and was too complex. A major goal of the new model is simplicity.

  8. Well, I definitely need to build. Ultimately, I don’t presently use console applications, so the final cost for me will be +$5/year. I can live with this. I guess I hadn’t stopped and considered that a 1/3 of the price I was paying for with Enterprise was database support.

    But I understand your model, Geoff, and your desire to feed both your family and your employees. I, too, am a fan of food. 🙂

  9. Seems to me that keeping my Professional features will require a 100% increase in renewal fees.

    Frankly I see this ‘change’ as a cash-grab just like subscriptions (to report bugs, even!) and removing existing features from Professional.

    Talk of ‘Unlimited workstations’ and ‘free IDE’ are not value propositions to the small shops who will beat

  10. Crud. (continued) I meant BEAR the largest cost increase. My 0.02 now 0.04.

  11. VaughnSC, for some the price will increase, for some it will remain the same while for others, it will decrease. However, you can effectively delay the pricing increase for up to 2 years by renewing before the price change goes into effect. Also consider that there are features in the Enterprise Edition that your professional license does not include but that WILL be included in your license under the new model. The purpose of the price model change is to provide a model that is easy to understand. No pricing model will please everyone of course and this is why so many companies fear changing it.

    Regarding reporting bugs, it’s not that we charge to report them. It’s that we don’t want to hear reports from users that are not using the current version. The issues they report may very well have been resolved in the current release. Allowing them to report bugs without investigating the current version creates needless busy work for our resources that would otherwise be put to better use.

  12. Geoff

    I just happened to (today) stumble upon this new information
    This allot of info to absorb from here and on the forums

    Can you please clear the air for me…..

    So Enterprise subscribers (if they have a current license in October) when the new pricing model rolls out they will be upgraded to the components that at least match what they have now : Desktop + console + Database + Web ?

    If so it is basically a price increase for the people that invested in Enterprise (if they decide to keep all components)

  13. Hi Brian,

    Yes, Enterprise users will get four licenses (desktop, console, database and web) if they have a current license when R2 ships. It’s a slight price increase if you use everything. However, our surveys indicate that most Enterprise users don’t use everything. For most, they will pay the same or less than they have in the past.

  14. Deja Vu All Over Again

    If you’ll permit a quasi-outsider view. (I started with RealBasic version 3.0, and used it actively, though part-time, until March of 2009. I haven’t done anything with it since then. I’ve checked in every 90 days to see how things are going and to update my backups.)

    March 2009:

    • Cocoa support was being released in beta.
    • Cocoa release was imminent — expected in the fall or winter of that year with 2009r3 or r4.
    • Real was introducing a new “Studio” edition — by stealing some feature from the current top of the line “Professional” edition and adding one seat of a DB server.
    • Professional edition users who wanted to keep the stolen features, would have to move to the Studio edition and see their subscription price triple to $1500/750.

    May 2012:

    • Cocoa support is in beta.
    • Cocoa release is imminent — expected the end of summer this year with 2012r1.
    • Real is introducing a new a la carte pricing scheme.
    • Personal edition users will see their subscription prices triple to $300/150.

    I don’t use RealBasic on a daily basis any more, so I don’t see the incremental changes that have taken place (most) every 90 days during these three year. But from the outside, it really looks like Real hasn’t moved the ball, or the promises, in all this time.

    Looking at the Cocoa beta way back then, it became obvious that Cocoa was nowhere near ready to release. I renewed my subscription for two years, beating the trebling of the price and, with 2 1/2 years to go, insuring I would be able to evaluate the real release of Cocoa. And then I moved on to other tools, checking in every 90 days mostly to update my backups and see if Cocoa was released. My subscription lapsed last year, never seeing that final release.

    But, hey, I can upgrade for 2 more years now to avoid the pricing scheme change, and enjoy all the Cocoay goodness when it is finally released.

    Sorry, but as an outsider this is just hilarious. :o)

  15. So will it be legal for any size company to use as many freee licenses as they like for development and to purchase just one ‘enterprise equivalent’ license for building purposes?

  16. jjb :

    So will it be legal for any size company to use as many freee licenses as they like for development and to purchase just one ‘enterprise equivalent’ license for building purposes?

    So far that is what we’ve been told publicly. I guess we’ll have a ‘build’ computer available for all employees via remote connection and that should cut my license expense.

    I can’t see how this is revenue neutral for RS in regards to the Enterprise users.

  17. Bob Keeney :
    I can’t see how this is revenue neutral for RS in regards to the Enterprise users.

    I guess it’s revenue neutral because they’re taking it out on us personal edition users.

    Geoff and RS have always been good at responding to criticism from their customers when they get something wrong (case in point: the compromise on the EULA changes not too long ago), I really hope they back down from this a little bit. $300 is such a huge step-up from the free edition simply to compile. As has been suggested above, a cheaper single-platform desktop compiler would be a great intermediate step and keep a lot of customers happy.

  18. If the planned desktop pricing goes into place without a modification to offer a single-platform version at a price at or near where we are today, I’m out. I can’t afford the investment of money nor time waiting for features like Cocoa that were promised years ago (and bugs unfixed from years ago). Porting to a new language isn’t going to be easy but in the end my users and I will probably be much happier.

  19. As Real Software has re-evaluated their business direction, sales strategy, marketing plan, and pricing, it’s time for us users/developers to do the same. It might be that RS is no longer the best tool for what you are wanting to accomplish with your business and products.

    I’m certainly having second thoughts given what I’ve learned recently and the fact that I’ve had to read blogs or forums to learn this new information. It’s also surprising to hear that Real World only attracted 100 attendees.

    It’s time to take a look at the strategies of Apple, Microsoft (possibly Google with Android) as they will continue to be the leaders. Is what they are planning for their future OSes, mobile devices, etc. something a smaller company like RS can really keep up with?

  20. Thom McGrath:
    @Ian M. Jones
    Enterprise was never “everything we can deliver”, it was “everything we have to deliver at the moment.” This was part of the problem, how do we price iOS? The Enterprise price made sense for what features we could offer, but not if you add in iOS.

    So I’m wondering… I have that license but I don’t use databases (and I never will). When the iOS compilation becomes available, I’d ideally like to replace the database option with the iOS one (I think this would be arguable, as the number of options available for the current license would stay the same). How am I wrong here?

  21. Arnaud – what you can do is not renew your database license and purchase an iOS license. That’s another advantage of the new pricing is that you can better customize it to what you need.

  22. @Geoff Perlman
    I think Arnaud means he’ll *get* Database as part of converting his current license to the new scheme, but he doesn’t want to get Database but iOS instead. When the license changes, he’d rather not have Database (which he has right to when converted) and have iOS.

    Although I’d be interested to know, I currently have Pro so I couldn’t get it either way, but I really want iOS. I don’t plan on becoming rich with it, though. It’s probably too soon to ask, but what’s the price range you’re considering for iOS? I’d expect the same as Desktop and not Web (to tell you the truth, I feel Web should be priced like Desktop but I don’t mind either way because I don’t plan to use it, whereas iOS is currently my #1 feature request).

  23. Geoff Perlman :
    Arnaud – what you can do is not renew your database license and purchase an iOS license. That’s another advantage of the new pricing is that you can better customize it to what you need.

    @Geoff Perlman
    Thanks for your answer, Geoff, but I don’t fully understand . At the moment, I don’t have a database license because this one doesn’t exist yet (I have an ent. license). When the new licensing scheme comes into play in a few months, this license will be divided into four components (desktop, console, web, and databases (since iOS won’t exist at that time)), correct?
    Then, iOS support will appear in RB, some months later, but for changing an option (from databases to iOS), I’ll have to wait for renewing my license (RS won’t allow changing an option in the middle of a current license), again correct?

    If I’m correct for both sentences, then I think my better option is to wait for iOS support before renewing. But am I right?

  24. eduo :
    @Geoff Perlman
    I think Arnaud means he’ll *get* Database as part of converting his current license to the new scheme, but he doesn’t want to get Database but iOS instead. When the license changes, he’d rather not have Database (which he has right to when converted) and have iOS.</p

    Thanks, that’s exactly my question, but in a better english than mine 😉

    Sorry for posting twice, but I’ve made a mistake in the previous post (one reply is inside the quoted block). Perhaps the moderator might correct that and delete my second message (this one)?

  25. This is interesting, I think it will lose them more renewals than expected because it appears people using *any* features can just run from within the IDE, so current Professional users who have a utility app to run can do that without needing to build. I suspect you can launch and run using AppleScript to get close to a built app experience, at least for Mac users.

    On the flip side, provided the experience delivered is sufficiently robust, it could be a very powerful accelerator with a lot more eyeballs on the product.

    I wonder what it will do to educational sales, there must be at least a nominal per-seat license now being forgone.

    For myself, it means I don’t need to renew RB because I get to keep my little utilities going in the latest version. All my retail work will be so firmly committed to native C++ cores and Cocoa/WPF (or XAML Metro) front ends by then that the promise of a better delivery is a moot point.

  26. I’m opting to renew for two years to “minimize” the pain. But before doing so I would like to know when the current pricing/structure and license transfer plan will be official. I hear Geoff saying one thing (as if it’s set in stone); hear Norm saying the final details may be in flux still. I don’t want to have to swallow hard twice; once with this announcement, and then again shortly thereafter saying; “oh well the changes are not exactly what we mentioned a month or so ago and the transition from existing licenses to new licenses is now this…” So when do we know what exactly is set in stone, and how that looks like. Don’t know about anybody else, but I prefer to swallow the pill once and move on…

  27. Andy Dent:
    This is interesting, I think it will lose them more renewals than expected because it appears people using *any* features can just run from within the IDE, so current Professional users who have a utility app to run can do that without needing to build. I suspect you can launch and run using AppleScript to get close to a built app experience, at least for Mac users.

    Well, if you consider how long it takes to debug (the first time per session), running an utility as a debug app may be felt like a pain (instead of having it run immediately).

  28. @Arnaud

    Arnaud,

    When R2 ships, you will get a Database license if you currently have a Professional or Enterprise license. However, that Database license will expire on the date your Professional/Enterprise license does as of the date R2 ships. For example, if your current license is set to expire on January 1st, 2013, when R2 ships, the Database license you receive will also expire on January 1st, 2013. So what you can do is simply NOT renew that license again and apply that money to an iOS license once we have that shipping.

  29. @languer

    languer, when R2 ships, you will receive licenses for the platforms your current license allows you to build. Those licenses will expire on the same date that your current license expires on as of the day R2 ships. So if you renew today (for example) for 2 years, when R2 ships the license(s) you receive will expire on June 4th, 2014.

  30. Geoff Perlman :
    @Arnaud
    Arnaud,
    When R2 ships, you will get a Database license if you currently have a Professional or Enterprise license. However, that Database license will expire on the date your Professional/Enterprise license does as of the date R2 ships. For example, if your current license is set to expire on January 1st, 2013, when R2 ships, the Database license you receive will also expire on January 1st, 2013. So what you can do is simply NOT renew that license again and apply that money to an iOS license once we have that shipping.

    Ok, so if my license ends in August this year (2012) for example, I better have to wait for R2 to ship to renew the license because otherwise, I’d pay for two years of databases that I don’t need, and can’t change to an iOS option, correct?
    Thank you.

  31. Arnaud :

    Geoff Perlman :
    @Arnaud
    Arnaud,
    When R2 ships, you will get a Database license if you currently have a Professional or Enterprise license. However, that Database license will expire on the date your Professional/Enterprise license does as of the date R2 ships. For example, if your current license is set to expire on January 1st, 2013, when R2 ships, the Database license you receive will also expire on January 1st, 2013. So what you can do is simply NOT renew that license again and apply that money to an iOS license once we have that shipping.

    Ok, so if my license ends in August this year (2012) for example, I better have to wait for R2 to ship to renew the license because otherwise, I’d pay for two years of databases that I don’t need, and can’t change to an iOS option, correct?
    Thank you.

    That depends. What kind of license do you currently have?

  32. Geoff Perlman :

    Arnaud :

    Geoff Perlman :
    @Arnaud
    Arnaud,
    When R2 ships, you will get a Database license if you currently have a Professional or Enterprise license. However, that Database license will expire on the date your Professional/Enterprise license does as of the date R2 ships. For example, if your current license is set to expire on January 1st, 2013, when R2 ships, the Database license you receive will also expire on January 1st, 2013. So what you can do is simply NOT renew that license again and apply that money to an iOS license once we have that shipping.

    Ok, so if my license ends in August this year (2012) for example, I better have to wait for R2 to ship to renew the license because otherwise, I’d pay for two years of databases that I don’t need, and can’t change to an iOS option, correct?
    Thank you.

    That depends. What kind of license do you currently have?

    I’m about to renew an enterprise edition.

  33. Yikes, this makes my head hurt. I have an Enterprise license and I think some of the posters here are correct, I’m going to come out smelling like a rose at the expense of other users (assuming what they say about revenue neutral is correct). The free IDE is a good idea IMO, exposes a lot more people to REAL, but other areas seem like the worng direction. I would think that most developers on an Enterprise license have one because they are building code to sell or use at the commercial / industrial level. Seems like we would be the *least* ones concerned about price. Geoff just send me a bill, I need to get back to coding.

  34. Geoff Perlman :
    @languer
    languer, when R2 ships, you will receive licenses for the platforms your current license allows you to build. Those licenses will expire on the same date that your current license expires on as of the day R2 ships. So if you renew today (for example) for 2 years, when R2 ships the license(s) you receive will expire on June 4th, 2014.

    All fine and dandy but does not answer his question: Are the prices you stated official? Or are they still in flux as stated by Norm?

  35. Thanks Geoff! Even though I’m feeling a bit stung by the price changes I appreciate your work to clear any confusion.

  36. Merv :
    I would think that most developers on an Enterprise license have one because they are building code to sell or use at the commercial / industrial level.

    I suspect that there are probably more Enterprise license holders NOT in that category than you think… Well I’m one at least! 😉

    I agonized a lot about upgrading to Enterprise from Pro back when they had a very attractive deal to do so because of the cost of on-going support. Still do.

  37. Geoff Perlman :
    The pricing I announced at Real World last week is official and I do not expect it to change.

    Well, it was fun while it lasted – I’ll use my current version until it no meets my needs.

    In my opinion a company that doubles the price of the product on their loyal users is greedy, desperate or out of touch – or all three…

  38. Still like the interface, like the overall community, i’m ok with the current and new pricing structure. Just took the two year plunge – could’ve waited until August; but I had budgeted for an upgrade on May and if I wait until August I will likely find something else to use the money on 🙂

    Best wishes and continued success to RS…

  39. @David G

    No one likes paying a higher price than they did before. But I would like to point out that for half of our Personal Edition users, the price is going from $50 for renewal to zero. And for most Enterprise Edition users, the price is going to stay the same or decrease. For some Professional Edition users, the price will increase and for some it will stay the same. But for all, with a free IDE, they get all the features of the IDE and can run it on multiple platforms.

    While the price of Personal Edition has never changed in the past, the price of the Professional Edition has gone up and down. It has been as low as $200 and as high as $500. Enterprise Edition has gone down in price. As you can see, historically we have not only raised prices. Finding the right pricing model is not easy and most product companies don’t reexamine their pricing once it’s been established. I believe that a free IDE and simpler pricing is better for everyone in the long run. It should grow the community. To do that, I’m willing to bet on a simpler pricing model.

    I realize that means a price increase for some users. That’s why we are announcing the change in advance so users can renew for up to 2 years at the current price.

  40. Geoff has said this multiple times in this blog…. and I for one took advantage of it… Currently I have a Personal Editon for OSX…. and it costs me $50 a year to renew it. That renewal cost is going to go up to $150 a year (but yeah I get x-platform and a few other goodies that I don’t have now).

    BUT…… I purposely just extended my current license by 2 years as he suggested.
    So instead of paying $150 to renew for 2013, and another $!50 to renew for 2014 (a total of $300 in renewal cost)…. I just spent $88 (don’t ask me why it wasn’t $100)… but the point is I have access to the new “Desktop” version until the end of 2014, and didn’t pay anymore than I would have paid for the OSX personal edition over that same period. Saving $212.

    Now starting the end of 2014… THEN my investment goes up…. but I put off the extra cost for 2 years… and who knows…. alot could change before then.

  41. @Geoff Perlman
    I like your product and the feature set it provides and I have upgraded/renewed for the last 4 years. That being said there is no way I’m going to up and pay double the price without any significant change in features. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the cocoa/new IDE/delayed release quagmire that is currently taking place.

    I understand pricing changes and that 99% of the time that means an increase. But to double the price just seems odd….and this whole (paraphrasing) “it’s not so bad and hey, guess what, we’ll let you renew for two years at the current price” seems like a desperate attempt to increase your cash flow in the short term.

    Please understand it’s not the dollar amount – I can afford the price increase. It’s your actions – you have convinced me to not spend anymore money on your product, a product that I like.

  42. @David G

    I understand that it’s not the dollar amount. And FWIW, announcing the price change in advance was an effort to avoid users feeling like we were suddenly increasing prices on them. We wanted to provide a way to put off the price increase because they are current users. It’s not about generating an influx of cash and I don’t expect it to make much of a difference in that regard. But we do need simple and consistent pricing that makes it easier for people to buy. While some users will no longer have to pay anything and others pay the same or less, some will pay more. That’s just the way it worked out. We looked at many other ways to do it but keeping it simple and making it such that no existing users would pay more wasn’t possible.

  43. @Geoff Perlman
    for me it _is_ the dollar amount!

    I am reading all the blocks an the mailinglist, but could not attend the Real World this year, unfortunatly. So I do not have all information about the new pricing model.
    I cannot find in all the blogs and mails in the mailinglist any information about the migration from the licences now to the new model. There are some direct information, if a person asks, but no generall statement.

    Can you give these information clear and exactly, please?

    Personal => ?
    Professional => ?
    Enterprise => ?
    Web => ?

    I am a hobbyistic user of the Professional version for Windows. I decided to use this version, because I wanted to train my development knowledge and learn more about this. I decided to develop one (!) application for a friend of mine. This should use a database, which does have more feature than a SQLite database (and Real Database is only based on that). So I do need to have the ability to use MySQL, PostGreSQL or MaxDB. This project should have been usable on a Windows PC and Mac. So I searched for a development IDE which could give that things to me. So I came to RS. I want to train my development knowledge and this small project was a good start.

    I think – only running would not be enough for me, so I do have to pay for building and I do need databases. So, if I understood the postings correctly, I need to triple pay for a licence that I need.

    That is a huge increase and will make me not to stick with RS because I am not able to afford this as a hobbyist. Sorry for that. Is’s a very big pity, because I thought I have found _the_ IDE to develop some small programms and I could haved imagined to do more with it.

  44. @Marion

    The best suggestion I have for you, however, is this: renew your license now for 2 years. That way, you will be unaffected by the price change for the next two years and you even get some features in the IDE that you currently don’t have access to. Who knows what you will be doing in two years. You are a hobbyist now but two years from now you might be making money from an application you have created in Real Studio in which case the license cost may be an non-issue.

  45. @Marion
    With personal on WIndows you still would not have been able to connect to mySQL, PostgreSQL, MaxDB etc.
    You would have needed a professional license at the very least.

    With the new pricing you WILL be able to use anything in the debugger (see )

    To build a compiled application for distribution you will need an appropriate license(s).

    This really is about the same as before EXCEPT now you can try out your ideas & get everything ready and decide when you’re ready to build the compiled application to buy the license instead of having to decide what you need when you get the IDE when you maybe don’t know what you need.

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