Saturday, March 07, 2009

I Must Have Dosed Off for a Year

Wow... what just happened.  I think I must have dosed off for a year there... Just kidding.  I have been a bit busy and I recently thought I might start blogging again.  First an update.  I looked at my last post... it was a depressing entry about writing our license server with Xheo.  Well, just as a way of update date here is how the story plays out.

In fact, in the end I did get my license server working.   Basically it allows us to install a single application that manages all licenses.  When a customer buys a product we give him a license server that he uses on his site to manage all his applications.  A license administation client uploads licenses to the server which stores them in a secure way.  The license server also talks to my local license activation server every once in a while so I can have an idea of how many purchased licenses are actually being deployed.  Licenced applications don't have to worry about installing licenses.  They simply ask my server for a license by user name and machine id.  If they own a license, they are authorized, otherwise they will aquire a license if one is available.  If none are available, the application stops.  

In the comming weeks we will be running a beta test with a new product.  The product uses a project server hosted on our site that licenses our remote beta testers by accessing a local license server (the product is a desktop application).  The beta tester don't even know that they are using a licensed product.

Overall, the licensing system works pretty well.  I don't think I understand everything about Xheo and sometime trying to resolve problems is like playing baseball in the dark (a swing and a miss) but Xheo does provide a lot of features and it can be coerced into working.

Funning thing is, a year after I implemented and tested this, I was forced to reactivate a licence service.  Unfortunatly someone had changed the network setting of my server (we have an internet facing project server accessing a license server behind the firewall.  It took us almost a week to unravel the network mess before finally figuring out what was wrong.  The only thing we knew was the we didn't have a valid license...