January 12, 2005

New version of Digger Solutions Newsletter coming out soon.

Over the last few days I have taken a break from porting my intranet application from ASP to ASP.NET to do the same with my newsletter application.  I decided to take a detour from the intranet because it is just simply becoming tiring.  I hadn't realized how large that application had grown.  The newsletter, on the other hand, is a fairly small app.

The current ASP version of the newsletter is called Newsletter Open Source (NOS for short) and the .NET version will be NOS.Net.  You'll notice that I'll be dropping the “open source” from the title - that's primarily for one reason - it will not be open source.  With classic ASP applications you really have no other option but to make them open source (open as in the code can be seen, copied, “borrowed”) because the code is there for the world to see.  With ASP.NET you have the option of distributing the source or not.  I'm deciding against distributing the source code except for limited circumstances.  My primary reason behind this is because I'm tired of the blatant misuse of my “free” products and the disregard for any licensing requirements pertaining to them. 

In the previous version of the newsletter, I gave away the front-end of the application and then charged a small fee for administrative add-ons.  The free version is a fully-functional tool, but requires making changes directly to the database.  The add-on tools simply provided a GUI for making those changes.  People are welcome to download and use the free versions as they see fit provided they follow a couple of simple rules spelled out in my open source licensing agreement.  Basically they just needed to keep a link (usually the image) to the Digger Solutions site.  This in turn drives other people to the site and cycle continues.  Hopefully a percentage, though it is small, decides to purchase the admin tools and I am thusly rewarded for my efforts.  I never anticipated being able to make the sales my sole income, but it pays for itself.  The problem is that I've stumbled across way too many sites in the past that simply remove any reference to the Digger Solutions site and claim the work as their own.  I've even run across one despicable company that made a few changes here and there to the applications and sold them as their own work.  Bastards!

So, the new model will be changed a little with the .NET versions.  I will probably still offer a “free” version that just includes the front end, but now will include no source code and will have strict requirements on usage.  I will also sell the full product with administrative interface but with no source code for about the same price as I am selling the admin paks now - about $100.  I am also planning to offer the source code in developer/education packages that will include provisions stating “educational use only - no commercial usage”.  And finally at the top of the heap I will sell full packages with source code and no restrictions at a much higher price which will be based on a per project/product basis.

Enough with the ranting. 

For the most part the first .NET version of NOS.Net will simply be a straight port from the ASP version, though I am adding a few new features.  I have added RSS support - what good is an online newsletter without RSS!!?!?  Additionally, I've added better support for managing subscribers.  Finally the last new feature will be role-based security for the administrative section of the site. There really haven't been a lot of requests for new features since the products initial inception, but security has been the most requested by far.

I'll go ahead and get back to work and try to get this thing wrapped up.  I should have a good version for beta in a day or two.  I imagine a good release candidate will be ready a day or two later and finally I should be able to post the new product on the site next week.  Then comes the hard work, which I am dreading - making a ton of updates to the Digger Solutions site to support the new product.  Oh yeah, and writing some documenation... I'm really looking forward to that. :) 

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