Friday, July 10, 2015

ASP.NET Software Licensing Solutions

I recently had to evaluate an affordable software licensing solution for an ASP.NET MVC Web Application that supported the following 2 requirements:

  1. Support for module-based licensing
  2. Support for concurrent user licensing/floating licenses
  3. Support for customer and product data management

 I evaluated the following software licensing solutions:

  1. ElecKey: http://www.sciensoft.com/products/eleckey/
  2. DeployLX: http://xheo.com/products/copy-protection
  3. SoftwareShield: http://www.softwareshield.com/
  4. CryptoLicensing: http://www.ssware.com/cryptolicensing/cryptolicensing_net.htm
  5. Manco .NET Licensing System: http://www.mancosoftware.com/licensing/Index.htm  
  6. Infralution Licensing System: http://www.infralution.com/licensing.html
  7. IntelliLock: http://www.eziriz.com/intellilock.htm

ElecKey

After downloading and installing ElecKey, I was surprised to know that they, by far, had the most extensive set of code samples amongst all of the above vendors for supporting various different scenarios for licensing ASP.NET Web Applications including concurrent user licensing.

However, the code samples were extremely complex and convoluted and concurrent user licensing setup required setting up a separate network licensing server.  The support was not very responsive and the time it took to set up and get a particular code sample running was quite extensive.  In addition, all of the code samples were built using Visual Studio 2008 and the help documentation was very outdated referring to using Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008 as the development tools/development IDE.  Trying to understand all of the code in order to integrate it into my own solution was simply too difficult for me to continue working with the platform.

DeployLX

DeployLX did not ship ANY code samples with their product and instead relied on providing their code samples from their website.  The code samples that were provided on the website were very minimal and the support staff was not helpful at all in providing additional code samples or examples, thus making the decision to NOT choose DeployLX as a software licensing solution very easy.  In addition, there was no Customer or Product Management capabilities within the software reinforcing the decision to not choose this as a viable software licensing solution.



SoftwareShield

SoftwareShield was yet another software licensing solution which did not ship ANY code samples with their product.  Even worse, there were absolutely NO code samples/examples listed on their website.  Not choosing this product was a complete NO-BRAINER.

CryptoLicensing

CryptoLicensing provided a lot of functionality for managing licensing including the generation of license keys and serial codes/serial numbers.  It also supported storing license information in a SQL Server database as well as provided a list of custom features that you could select when creating/generating your license codes.  Like ElecKey, their code samples were very outdated--dating back to Visual Studio 2008 projects, however, their set of code samples were much smaller than the samples provided by ElecKey.  The biggest feature it was missing, however, was that the product was very license-oriented and provided very little functionality in terms of being able to manage customer and product data.  CryptoLicensing provided the ability to create custom User Data Fields, but there was no centralized management around managing all of this User Data as Customer Data.  This was a big reason for not choosing this product as a viable software licensing solution since customer and product data management was an ABSOLUTE MUST.



Manco .NET Licensing System

Shortly after installing Manco .NET Licensing system, I attempted to launch the License Manager.  I immediately got a SQL Server exception when attempting to launch the executable.  Browsing through the various tabs in License Manager gave me no insight as to how to use the product, so I immediately gave up on investigating it any further.  There were numerous code samples provided on the Manco .NET website for various different licensing scenarios, but if the product is not intuitive and easy-to-use from the very beginning, it will be difficult to support within nearly any organization especially for non-technical support and sales staff who will be generating the license keys for the products and the customers.



Infralution Licensing System

Infralution, without a doubt, had the best and most polished User Interface out of all the products in this list.  Unfortunately, much like the Manco .NET Licensing system, figuring out how to get started with using the tool was very non-intuitive.  Even after reviewing the Help documentation, I was not able to figure out how to set up my customers and products and associate them with generated license keys.   In addition, the code samples provided with the product were very bare-bones and minimalistic thereby providing very little help in getting up and running with the product.  As with the Manco .NET Licensing system, I finally gave up on investigating the product any further.

IntelliLock

Out of all the software licensing solutions evaluated, IntelliLock by far had the most helpful and responsive support staff.  Numerous code samples were shipped with the product for various different versions of Visual Studio and even though there were no code samples for module-based licensing or concurrent user licensing for an ASP.NET Web Application, the support staff was kind enough to provide code samples/examples on how to complete these tasks.  Overall, the code was easy enough to understand that it was a relatively simple task to incorporate the licensing solution into my own ASP.NET Web Application.

The excellent support and ease-of-use earned big bonus points for IntelliLock amongst all the vendors to make this software licensing product my solution of choice!!






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