Version Numbering

Since the dawn of time I have been using one of the more traditional types of version numbering systems for all my software developments. Recently however I have ‘enhanced’ my methodology and now use something slightly different.

To the outside world not a lot will appear to have changed, the N.N.N methodology will still be used, albeit with a slightly different interpretation. Internally however I will be using the full version numbering system shown below:

Aside from building the release date and time into the version number and swapping out Revision Number for Restricted Release Number, the main benefits to me are building an ascending Feature Number and Fix Number into the version number.

These numbers will only ever increase, regardless of the program status changing from (for example) Version 1 to Version 2. This means that at a glance I can see how  features and fixes have been applied to this particular program since day one, without having to go to Version Control for this information.

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Spanish Language Beta of oneSql Available

Finally !  English, French, German, Italian and now Spanish are all supported by the latest Beta of oneSql, our Cross Platform, Multi-Database SQL and Database Tool.

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Always interested in additional Beta Testers, if you are interested you can go to this page to register your interest.

Besides the addition of Spanish as a supported language, there are just a few more changes ‘under the hood’ so to speak.

  • New Default Logon for MariaDB: root
  • New Default Logon for PostGreSQL: postgres
  • New Windows Menu
  • Main Window Area Zoom Facility
  • Logon Window, Cleaner User Interface
  • Logon Window, Removed the Connections Log
  • Did I mention Spanish Language Support ?

Existing Beta Testers can download from the Build List in the Trello project as usual. Please let me know of any issues as the Release Version is due very soon now … 🙂 Your time and efforts are much appreciated.

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Software Licensing and Software Piracy: Part 1

Your favourite piece of software was created by someone, or many someones, who used their time and hard won expertise to build something useful or enjoyable, or both. With the exception of Free Software or Open Source Software, that someone is entitled to, expects and deserves to be rewarded for their efforts.

If a price is attached to the software and you use the software without paying the price that is asked, then that is Software Piracy. Many would argue that it amounts to nothing less than theft.

If I sell physical products, lets say Widgets, then if I have 10 and you take 10 without paying for them, then I now have 0, you have 10 and hopefully a guilty conscience as well. That is theft. If however you use my software without paying for it then I am not directly affected by it. I still have it. Would you have bought it if you couldn’t have obtained a pirate copy ? Maybe. Maybe Not. In my opinion that is why Software Piracy differs from traditional theft. What you have actually done is taken away my chance of receiving income from you for that software sometime in the future. It just isn’t clear cut either way, with laws, policies and attitudes being firmly rooted in the ‘pre digital media’ 20th century.

Having established that there is a cost to producing software and that the developer does deserve to be rewarded for their time and efforts, it stands to reason that we have to have a mechanism in place that makes this possible. That mechanism is generally known as Software Licensing.

I’ve been developing software for financial reward for nearly as long as I’ve been using computers, getting on for thirty years, and I have never wavered in my belief that whatever form of licensing you use, you should never punish the genuine, fee paying customer for the actions of the Software Pirate.

Seriously, I have bought software in the past that had licensing schemes so restricting or complex or time consuming (or just plain ridiculous), that I have saved time and effort by downloading a cracked copy of the software and using that instead, all the time cursing the software developers for making me waste my time and effort. In effect punishing me for my honesty.  As a Software Developer or Software Publisher that’s not an experience you want for your customers.

Whatever Software Licensing mechanism is used, there will always be some who do not like it and resent it being used. If as a developer you have done your best to minimise the impact on the genuine customer, whilst making some effort to thwart the Software Pirate, then you have done all you can and any customer who is going kick up a fuss about your licensing mechanism is unlikely to be a customer you actually want. Most customers would actually like you to stay in business and realise that to do that, it is necessary to be paid for the work you do, and / or the products you sell. Sacking your customer can sometimes be a good thing. But that’s a subject for another blog post 🙂

So what is a fair software license, for both the supplier and the customer ?  What is it fair to expect your customer to do to license their copy of your product, and so help protect your product, your sales, your livelihood and the future investment and development in a product that is important to both you ?

Part 2 Soon …

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A Good Friday. Life is Good.

Finishing the week on a couple of high points;  Firstly I saw this tweet from a customer, Abacus Belper, when I got home from the office tonight:

abacustwitter

Thank-you very much for that ladies – much appreciated 🙂

The second event although far less important, nevertheless makes me happy – see the image below for the results of my Broadband Speed Test.  My ISP (BT) rocks 😉

bbspeeds

Happy customers, fast internet and the weekend to look forward to. Life is good. Happy Weekend. 🙂

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Customer Feedback

All I did was send this customer a new license for R10Cipher after he lost his license during a reformat of his hard disk.  This was his reply:

Thank you, Steven. Looking forward to your next gem. – Joe

www.r10cipher.com

It means a lot to get thanked like that. Cheers Joe.

 

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DataViewer 1.3.0 [Update]

This latest update to the DataViewer components for Xojo and REALStudio contains the following enhancements:

  • List View Configurations Saved on Exit
  • DB Objects Now Available from the Tab Area
  • Database Objects List, Now Double Click to Insert
  • Option to prefix Columns with Table Name
  • Option to append a Comma to the Column Names
  • User Input Prompts [[T-xxxxx]]
  • DML now Supported as well as Queries
  • Parsing of Multiple Statements with Sequential Execution
  • Multiple Small Bug Fixes

DataViewer is a small collection of components that allow a Xojo or RealStudio Developer to put a full featured SQL Query and DML tool into their own applications for a one time payment. There are no restrictions on use. The images below are from the latest version.

Click here to download the Demonstration App for Mac, Windows and Linux.

www.stevencholerton.com

 

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Sorting and Archiving

Sell Some • Bin Some • Keep Some

In my ongoing quest to reinvent myself this year I’ve been sorting out my Software Products and archiving Source Code, Documentation, Images, Demo Movies etc. The image below is most of the software products I have written since 2009, mostly in Xojo / Realstudio, some in VB.Net, C#.Net and a couple in CoronaSDK.

I would never have guessed there would be quite so many 🙂

www.stevencholerton.com

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Mutual Appreciation

I am writing this on my Macbook Pro, sitting at a desk in the office of one of my customers. I have a desk, chair and a cup of coffee.  Why am I here, doing this ?

The customer is Evolve Automotive and I am here for a few hours whilst they add dark tints to my car windows. Yes they look cooler than Frozen Vodka, but the main reason for the tinting is the increased security they offer.

This post is not about window tinting however (or the gorgeous dipping and wrapping services they offer – see the Facebook Images)

This post is about mutual appreciation, co-operation and the benefits of working with and appreciating your customers and suppliers.  If I didn’t have the relationship with them that I have then I wouldn’t be sitting here tapping my foot to Shania Twain who apparently ‘Feels like a Women’.  From what I remember she’s a fine specimen of one as well, but I digress …

Join Hands

Despite the image above (which reminds me of a Coca Cola advert from the 70’s) I am not advocating that we all sit around with acoustic guitars and tambourines and sing ‘Kumbaya’ together.

What I am saying is that whether they are a supplier or a customer you have a relationship with them. Take advantage of that existing relationship and turn to them first when you see an opportunity for business to be reciprocated. They might even let you work from their office for free for the day 🙂

Whilst here this morning I have commented on a blog post written by one of my customers – also an active member of the #avyoursay local business group, contacted another customer who is heavily involved in the voluntary sector – with a view to working together on a future project, emailed yet another customer who is also part of my Mastermind Group, – regarding building a mailing list, spoken to a supplier of office space on behalf of a customer who needs office space and made contact with the Director and the Chairman of the governments new Year of Code initiative.

If your day job can become more like chatting to, meeting and hanging out with friends then how much better does does that make your quality of life ?

It’s a no-brainer as the Americans would say 🙂

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Knowledge Is Power

Scientia est Potentia is the common translation. Not that that matters in the slightest, unless of course anyone ever asks you the question and then you may gain from knowing, maybe credibility, maybe respect – maybe both. After all, Knowledge is power.

www.stevencholerton.com

In business, knowledge is key. Knowledge of your products is very important, knowledge of your competitors is important, knowledge of when taxes need to be paid is also important. Of over-riding importance however is knowledge of your customers and of your target market(s).

Knowledge in these areas more than any other determine whether your employees are paid this month, or not. Whether you drive a nice car, or ride an old pushbike. Whether you live in a house or sleep on a park bench.

CRM has been described in many different ways. To me it is simple. CRM should provide the tools to help you obtain, retain and use the knowledge of your customers and your target markets, to allow you to better serve those customers and markets and to help you make your own business successful.

With knowledge comes the ability to service those customers and those markets more effectively. To look after them and become known as a company who cares. You can’t care about what you don’t know.

Knowledge gives you the tools to become successful. Use them wisely.

Because Knowledge *IS* Power.

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Xojo Developers: Top Contributor

I was rather pleased when I saw this when logging into the Xojo Developers Group Forum recently 🙂

www.stevencholerton.com

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Too Expensive ?

As a person who creates software products and solutions for a living I am always looking for the tool that will make me faster, more efficient, better, more productive or just something different for a change. A challenge is as good as a rest 🙂

I came across this product yesterday, which pretty much does what my existing development software does – however after my clicks, deep within the site I came across the price …

stevencholerton.com

Image used without permission. Please don’t tell …

For nearly £4000 I have no idea who on earth would use this product. Not the Independent Software Developer that’s for sure. That only leaves the large consultancy companies and the corporates with in-house development teams.  Is that really a big enough market to sustain a product costing that much ?

Obviously I support the right for anyone to charge whatever they want for any product or service. That’s fundamental to Capitalism and the way the Western World works.  A few years ago I was the guy billing £100 per hour and supplying the information to the ‘Forensic Accountant’ who was tidying it up, putting his name at the top of the page and billing £350 per hour … and that’s fine, I was happy with my fee and I’m sure he was happy with his 🙂

Still, I am astounded by the price of this development product – but good luck to them.  I would be interested to know how many units they are shipping though …

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Success or Failure?

A friend of mine has just written a very interesting article on ‘Failure and Success’.  It’s worth a read.

While I agree mostly with what is said I do think it is possible sometimes to become too focused on ‘Success’ without realising that Success is a very personal thing and can mean very different things to different people.

Like the General who landed his army on the beaches and made them burn their boats so that they would fight a lot harder knowing that there was literally no way back – ‘Failure is not a option’ is a powerful mantra that can contribute to increased Success and hopefully victory.

Sun Tsu talked about this also in his book ‘The Art of War’ – he educated Generals to not block off *all* the avenues of retreat for the enemy, as like the burning of the boats, this leaves no way back and so makes the enemy fight so much harder.

I agree with this and with the sentiment expressed in the article. I would however point out that Success and Failure are relative as well as being moving targets. It is in my opinion fine to slide backwards and forwards between Success and Failure in your quest to achieve what it is you want to achieve.

It’s important to remember that Failure is not a static event and what once you may have considered Failure could in fact be Success and Success can surprise you by being not at all what you anticipated.

So don’t be too hard on yourself when chasing goals – take time to constantly evaluate what it is you define as Success and Failure and make sure you are actually chasing something worthwhile.

Andy Brice of Successful Software wrote an article recently talking about how it was all to easy to give up on a product and start on something new and ‘Shiny’. He is of course 100% correct and that temptation is always going to be there.

Where I disagree with him is where he states that ‘Continually abandoning work in progress for a new idea is also a form of cowardice. ‘ In my opinion you have to constantly re-assess the viability of your product during the development phase and if you no longer think it is viable, this can be for many reasons, then shutting down the project and ceasing development is far from cowardice – it is good business sense.

Like the need to continually reassess what constitutes Success and Failure for us, we also need to do that for our creations, Failure may be stopping development and doing something else or having analysed that the game has changed and our product is no longer relevant – then stopping development and doing something else is not Failure, it’s a form of success. Failure would have been carrying on and releasing a pointless product.

Success or Failure

 

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