Licensing Systems for Xojo Applications

For years we’ve been using eSellerate for purchasing and licensing and registration of our apps.  We’ve recommended it to clients too and, for the most part, it’s worked quietly, steadily, and hassle-free for many years.  Their plugin is still using the old Real Studio format and they’ve said in several emails that they will not support Xojo going forward.  With Xojo moving to 64 bit in the R3 release it’s time for us to look at alternatives.

We liked eSellerate for a number of reasons.  For one, it was pretty simple.  Once you learned the intricacies of their web portal it was easy to add products.  Their sample app sucked but we figured out a better sample and offered it as an example for others on our website.  After years of using them I could set a new product up in as little as five minutes.  Then, they handled all of the various sales taxes and VAT for the states and countries that need it.

After the purchase, eSellerate would send an email to the user with purchase details.  This included license code, download instructions, and any other messages that we wanted to give them.  And all of this without any intervention on our part.  It just worked.

eSellerate also has an in-application purchase which we found to be pretty useful.  Users could purchase the application without ever having to leave the application.  For some people this was a nice feature but I’m not sure how necessary this is any more.  Lot’s of people purchase things over the internet with no qualms.

When it came to the registration part of things they had a number of nice features.  I could control how many machines could be activated with a single license.  This led to some instances where users didn’t deactivate a license on an old machine and couldn’t activate it on a new one.  However, a 30 second trip to the eSellerate web portal usually solved this.

On very rare occasions we’d get a user that couldn’t activate an app because of security restrictions on their network.  To solve this eSellerate had a manual activation process that would bypass all of that.  It was kind of tedious but then that’s why it’s called a ‘manual’ activation.

Bundling products together was pretty simple and even setting up payments to a third party was easy.  It was flexible and I know it was used in a number of bundle offerings over the years because of its simplicity.

So now we are on the hunt for the next purchasing/licensing/registration system.  We could write our own but I really don’t want to do that for a lot of reasons I won’t go into here.  Ideally, we’d find an existing system that integrates into our website that takes a variety of payment types and also handles sales taxes.  The last thing I want is to get hounded by a government entity – I just want that to happen automatically.

I’d also like to keep the per machine registration with restrictions on how many activations a single license can do.  It must work on Mac OS X, Windows, and the most popular Linux distributions.  Not that we have a lot of Linux applications but we have some and I don’t want two different systems if I can help it.

The in-application purchase and registration was nice but that’s not necessary any more.  I think most people are comfortable now buying over the internet.  However, offline activation is still something that is a requirement.  There’s no telling where customers are and what security restrictions are in place.

I guess the other part of the equation is that I, nor or customers, need something them an arm and a leg.  I’ve see a few licensing schemes that want $300 per product per month.  While they seem really nice, that’s above and beyond what we want and need.

A few names that have come up recently are LimeLM, Paddle, FastSpring, and I suppose even the venerable Kagi is in play.  FastSpring is more of an eCommerce front end so what are you using for application licensing?

What I’d like, Dear Readers, is for you to share your experiences, both positive and negative for any of the services listed.  Have any missed any that should be on the list?

6 thoughts on “Licensing Systems for Xojo Applications

  1. I am a bit disappointed about nobody sharing an idea.

    So I can only suggest two ways:

    Put in a button for Paypal, use their API to get a cgi called with purchase record on successful payment and have a cgi put it in a database and email client the code.

    Or using Share-It and deposit a key generator app, so they can email clients the key for purchases.

    For the key generator I would highly suggest using a signature built with a private key and verified in app against a public key.

    To order from app, open the order website in a HTMLViewer. Be sure to not link directly to shop, but to your own website, so you can later change shop URL and redirect to current shop from your website.

    Probably a couple of people did those steps before and may share code or give help? This would also make a good article for the Xojo developer magazine.

    Greetings from Sweden. Christian

    • Yes, it’s quite possible to roll our own. But I don’t want to get into that business. On the eCommerce side of things I don’t want to deal with all of the taxing entities. That’s one of the big bonuses of using eSellerate or FastSpring they automatically do that for you. On the licensing side of things I don’t want the support headaches for either end users or developers.

  2. i would love to see the Paypal solution. I am using Paypal since month and it looks like my customers using it, people without Paypal buying the MAS version, so Paypal is ok for me. But at the moment, i use it manually , that means, i write an email to each customer with its key…. thats not a really good solution.

    i would very happy with a Paypal solution

    Greetings from german!

    Stefan

  3. I have enjoyed using FastSpring for processing sales and the Enigma Protector (http://enigmaprotector.com) for registration key generation and order fulfillment. While this arrangement worked nicely for my Real Studio applications, I haven’t gotten Enigma Protector to work with Xojo apps. (Also, Enigma Protector is Windows only.) I’m currently looking for a replacement as well.

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