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Thread: runtime license

  1. #1
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    Default runtime license

    Hi

    according to the help file "If you install a file called “license.key” which contains the license number as the first line in the file, then Alpha Five
    will not prompt for the license number. It will read the license number for this file, rather than from the Registry."

    Can someone tell me how to create this file.

    thanks

    Ian

  2. #2
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    Default Re: runtime license

    It is supposed to be just a plain text file. Use any text editor. Notepad will work as long as you make sure the file extension is correct.

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Keith Hubert's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Hi Ian,

    Use Notepad to create file. Save it as License. When you save it will have the .TXT extension.

    Rename the file with the .KEY as the extension. Windows will say that it does not like it but will save the file.

    Whether it will be recognized by the runtime or not I do not know.
    Regards
    Keith Hubert
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Hi

    no matter if I create a text file in notepad or in another editor it does not seem to work.

    If i create the setup program and include thefile called licence.key the install works ok but when I run the program I get the message error 4127 program not installed correctly. If I then create a set program without including the file licence.key the program starts and asks me for my serial number.

    It seems the fault is in the licence.key file yet all it includes is one line with my serial number.

    Any ideas anyone?

    thanks

    Ian

  5. #5
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Has anyone used this approach, where you place the "license.key" file into the "C:\Program Files\a5v9 Runtime" directory?

    I am just getting around to using the V9 Runtime, and this approach for Runtime to access the license number does not seem to function. I still get the dialog box asking for the license number. Using Windows XP.

    Ed

  6. #6
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Ed, you are correct. Placing the "license.key" file in the program files\a5v9 run engine directory does it. I just
    tested it on one of the computers in our office. You still
    must activate it however. Hopefully, Alpha will come out
    with some sort of control file to eliminate this need.

    John

  7. #7
    Member pencak's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    This wasn't clear in the documentation for the Run Engine that we got. I created the install package with the runtime files included and installed it on one machine. Important note - it doesn't work properly until you open the database with the runtime, close it and then go back into the developer and create the install. Anyway, the request for my copy of the runtime program license key and then the request for activation surprised me. It asked for this on every user, even when I just copied the shortcut to another user on the same machine.

    There should be a way to bypass this for installs that I send to my other office or applications I create for outsiders. The license key for the product that we purchased shouldn't be given to somebody else. If it must be done this way then it should be in an encrypted file that is referenced by the install routine.

    Also, If we got an unlimited runtime program why does it have to "call home" to Alpha 5 to activate? This is a great copy protection feature and I understand it but shouldn't the developer of the specific application (myself) also be informed when one of his applications is being activated?

    Larry

  8. #8
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by pencak View Post
    This wasn't clear in the documentation for the Run Engine that we got. I created the install package with the runtime files included and installed it on one machine. Important note - it doesn't work properly until you open the database with the runtime, close it and then go back into the developer and create the install. Anyway, the request for my copy of the runtime program license key and then the request for activation surprised me. It asked for this on every user, even when I just copied the shortcut to another user on the same machine.

    There should be a way to bypass this for installs that I send to my other office or applications I create for outsiders. The license key for the product that we purchased shouldn't be given to somebody else. If it must be done this way then it should be in an encrypted file that is referenced by the install routine.

    Also, If we got an unlimited runtime program why does it have to "call home" to Alpha 5 to activate? This is a great copy protection feature and I understand it but shouldn't the developer of the specific application (myself) also be informed when one of his applications is being activated?

    Larry

    Larry:
    I agree that this should be revised by Alpha. There should NOT be an activation required for each client workstation on which it is installed under the "unlimited" distribution license. For those developers who 'hide' all references to Alpha, it is a "bust". We don't hide the Alpha reference, but the requirement to activate is a definate problem. I think that once the developer activates HIS/HER license, a file indicating that should be created that the developer can put into the application directory, along with the license.key file so that end users do not have to do anything except install the a5v9 run engine and open the application.
    my 2 cents

    John

  9. #9
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    Default Re: runtime license

    The license.key file should be encrypted. I don't want them knowing what my original license number is for my unlimited runtime. This seems like an easy fix. They can still leave the activation window but allow us to create a custom interface and give the ability to limit choices or something so you could lock it down to a web only activation.
    The ideal fix for the unlimited runtime install creation package would be as follows:
    Make "license.key" any filename you want and make it encrypted.
    Allow the creation of a custom registration screen for your application where you can make a script that either emails or prints user information you want for your application and a web only activation that runs silent with the ability to have a custom confirmation dialog.

    Larry

  10. #10
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Since the unlimited runtime is so new, I am sure that Alpha is already redesigning how things should be done for the registration process. It would probably be a great idea for anyone who is currently doing the runtimes and coming up with some good ideas like this that they post them in the "Features Wishlist". I am sure they would love all the ideas they can get right now so that they can cover all the bases that can be thought of.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: runtime license

    I just used the throttle control and set the user count to 10
    I then started an application and it showed that the valid number of users was, in fact, 10
    I then removed (deleted) the 'startup.control' file from the a5v9 run engine directory
    I then started the same application and now it shows the valid user count as 9999
    A marginally astute user could very easily figure this out and increase their valid user count to the 'max'....so, of what value is this feature (which was one of the motivations for purchasing it)? There are a couple of things regarding this 'unlimited' license:
    1. Once the developer has purchased a license, there should be NO requirement for the user to enter a license number (as with prior versions)
    2. There should be NO activation required on the 'unlimited' license (at lease for the client-as with prior versions)
    3. The throttle feature should be set in either the settings (require some protection), autoexec (or other file that can be protected, such as a script that can be converted to *.aex) and should be placed (and searched for) in the application's directory, not in program files

    my "additional 2 cents"

  12. #12
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Page View Post
    Since the unlimited runtime is so new, I am sure that Alpha is already redesigning how things should be done for the registration process. It would probably be a great idea for anyone who is currently doing the runtimes and coming up with some good ideas like this that they post them in the "Features Wishlist". I am sure they would love all the ideas they can get right now so that they can cover all the bases that can be thought of.
    thanks for the input

    The activation is actually going to be removed in the next patch which hopefully will be out early next week.



    Thanks



    Brett
    Richard Rabins
    Co Chairman
    Alpha Software

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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rabins View Post
    thanks for the input

    The activation is actually going to be removed in the next patch which hopefully will be out early next week.



    Thanks



    Brett
    That is definately a step in the right direction...thanks.
    Now, how about incorporating the license number in the 'startup.control' file (since it is encrypted), and have the run engine look for it in the APPLICATION directory, rather than the a5v9 run engine program directory?
    This would mean that as a developer, you create the startup control file as instructed and you ship it along with the application files. When a client needs more seats, you simply create a new startup.control file and place it in the application directory, replacing the old one. It should (of course) only look for a startup.control file if it is the run engine (not a full version)

  14. #14
    Alpha Software Employee Richard Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    we will review this with the development team John
    thanks
    Richard Rabins
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    Alpha Software

  15. #15
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by John Lemisch View Post
    I just used the throttle control and set the user count to 10
    I then started an application and it showed that the valid number of users was, in fact, 10
    I then removed (deleted) the 'startup.control' file from the a5v9 run engine directory
    I then started the same application and now it shows the valid user count as 9999
    A marginally astute user could very easily figure this out and increase their valid user count to the 'max'....so, of what value is this feature (which was one of the motivations for purchasing it)? There are a couple of things regarding this 'unlimited' license:
    1. Once the developer has purchased a license, there should be NO requirement for the user to enter a license number (as with prior versions)
    2. There should be NO activation required on the 'unlimited' license (at lease for the client-as with prior versions)
    3. The throttle feature should be set in either the settings (require some protection), autoexec (or other file that can be protected, such as a script that can be converted to *.aex) and should be placed (and searched for) in the application's directory, not in program files

    my "additional 2 cents"
    yes, true, but a marginally skilled developer would put code in his autoexec that said that if the startup.control file was missing then the application cannot start :):)

    and as Richard points out, the activation requirement has been removed (as of the next update)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    yes, true, but a marginally skilled developer would put code in his autoexec that said that if the startup.control file was missing then the application cannot start :):)

    and as Richard points out, the activation requirement has been removed (as of the next update)
    That is true, but you had better add the if a5_is_runtime()
    to your autoexec or removing the startup.control file from the a5v9 run engine directory will cause the developer edition to close as well.

    if a5_is_runtime()=.t. then
    if a5_check_throttle_file() = .f. then
    a5.close()
    But, I think an equally important issue is to have the control file in the application directory rather than the program directory to avoid having to copy the control file to each of 15-20 workstations (or more). Also, the license number (if within the control file) will be encrypted which I think would prevent a user (client) from taking the installation of the unlimited run engine and using it wherever wanted.

  17. #17
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by John Lemisch View Post
    That is true, but you had better add the if a5_is_runtime()
    to your autoexec or removing the startup.control file from the a5v9 run engine directory will cause the developer edition to close as well.

    if a5_is_runtime()=.t. then
    if a5_check_throttle_file() = .f. then
    a5.close()
    But, I think an equally important issue is to have the control file in the application directory rather than the program directory to avoid having to copy the control file to each of 15-20 workstations (or more). Also, the license number (if within the control file) will be encrypted which I think would prevent a user (client) from taking the installation of the unlimited run engine and using it wherever wanted.
    when a5 starts up, at the time the startup.control file is read, the application has not been loaded and a5 therefore has no idea what the application folder is, or will be. so it is not possible to put the startup.control file in the application folder.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    when a5 starts up, at the time the startup.control file is read, the application has not been loaded and a5 therefore has no idea what the application folder is, or will be. so it is not possible to put the startup.control file in the application folder.
    Selwyn: thanks. So we have to copy to control file to each and every work station...that's a shame, but if it has to be, it has to be. What about the license number issue? Would it be possible to store the license number within the control file?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Just a thought... what about putting a small check in the autoexec to check if the COPY of a startup.control file in the apps directory is the same as the one in the Alpha directory. This would always make sure that things don't get switched behind you and would allow for a simple way to distribute the new file to each workstation. As they log in, it would get updated.

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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Barley View Post
    Has anyone used this approach, where you place the "license.key" file into the "C:\Program Files\a5v9 Runtime" directory?

    I am just getting around to using the V9 Runtime, and this approach for Runtime to access the license number does not seem to function. I still get the dialog box asking for the license number. Using Windows XP.

    Ed
    When building the install, you have to remember to include the file in the list of additional files to install, at least that did the trick for us.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: runtime license

    As far as I can tell, (And I can't tell that far) The only way to throttle the user count is to create the startup.control file and place it in the Run Engine installation directory.

    This allows you to limit the amount of users that can access the data files of Alpha applications.

    This does not make sense to me. Shouldn't this file be placed in the root of the application directory?

    If I create an app for a client and I sell them a 10 User license, I put the 10 user startup.control in the Run Engine install directory. If I or another developer then sells the client a 20 user license to a different application, the startup.control file will change to a 20 user license. Then the client now has a 20 user license for my 10 user application.

    Now I understand that we can create a different name for the startup.control, but what if a different developer uses the same startup.control filename as I do.

    If the startup.control file was placed in the app directory this would not be an issue and would allow the developer to sell different license counts for different apps.

    Any thoughts?
    __________________
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    This was posted in the wish list forum some time ago. We do have situations where we have more than one application within a client's company. If we sell the application by number of users, those who should be limited to say 10 users, would no longer be limited if the other application is sold as 20 users? Is this correct?

  22. #22
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by John Lemisch View Post
    As far as I can tell, (And I can't tell that far) The only way to throttle the user count is to create the startup.control file and place it in the Run Engine installation directory.

    This allows you to limit the amount of users that can access the data files of Alpha applications.

    This does not make sense to me. Shouldn't this file be placed in the root of the application directory?

    If I create an app for a client and I sell them a 10 User license, I put the 10 user startup.control in the Run Engine install directory. If I or another developer then sells the client a 20 user license to a different application, the startup.control file will change to a 20 user license. Then the client now has a 20 user license for my 10 user application.

    Now I understand that we can create a different name for the startup.control, but what if a different developer uses the same startup.control filename as I do.

    If the startup.control file was placed in the app directory this would not be an issue and would allow the developer to sell different license counts for different apps.

    Any thoughts?
    __________________
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    Barry Kucher
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    This was posted in the wish list forum some time ago. We do have situations where we have more than one application within a client's company. If we sell the application by number of users, those who should be limited to say 10 users, would no longer be limited if the other application is sold as 20 users? Is this correct?
    if you want to have a run engine on a user's machine and then run multiple different applications using the run engine and control how many users can concurrently use each app, then the new 'throttle' feature of the run engine is NOT the solution.

    the solution is to use techniques that a5 users have been using for years now - put logic into your application that codes your own control.

    the run engine throttle was designed to throttle the number of users of the run engine. it was designed to solve one problem only - which is this:

    a user bought a 10 user runtime, but for some customers he wants a a 3 user runtime. rather than making the user buy a 10 user and a 3 user runtime, we let them turn their 10 user runtime into a 3 user runtime by including the throttle logic file in the runtime program folder.

    that's the problem that the throttle feature was intentded to sove and that's the problem that it does solve. to repeat: it is not designed to throttle user count at the application level - that's a problem easily solved with custom xbasic in your individual applications.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: runtime license

    John.

    My 20 user v7 runtime with app is sold as a 1 user, 5 user, 10 user, etc and it is all done with xbasic at the app level. I think that is what Selwynn is talking about.

    So I understand, We can throttle a machine to whatever we want, but a seperate machine could have a different throttle number in v9?

    .
    Dave Mason
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Dave,
    Can you tell me what method you use to accomplish the restriction?
    A table that you identify that they've logged in and count them that way, something else?
    I think if the problem can be solved easily with some code, then everyone should be happy, at least it would make sense to me.
    Alan

  25. #25
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    Default Re: runtime license

    I have given this in a prior thread somewhere, but cannot find it. I send demo disks out with v7 and make a few sales. I have to do 2 things and want it changeable quickly and without fuss.

    I include 2 files. One has a date to expire and the other has a user count. They are both text files disguised as a jpg and a dll. One could also put them in the registry or hide them in an encrypted table. There are other ways too, like just hard coding them and simply replacing the db files. edit: could be put in a sql table too.

    Here is the code to accomplish.

    Code:
     
    cpath = a5.Get_Path()
    cmast = a5.GET_MASTER_PATh()
    regusers = a5_registration_license_inuse(cmast+"\sales.muf") ' main prog
    runtimeusers = a5_registration_license_inuse(cmast+"\sales.rmuf") ' runtime muf
    totalusers = runtimeusers+regusers+1 'so they don't error out with one extra
     
     
    if file.exists(cpath+"\a_rbitrate.dll") then
     fileis = FILE.open(cpath+"\a_rbitrate.dll",FILE_RO_SHARED)
     numuse = trim(fileis.read_line())
     numuser = str(numuse,2,0)
     numberusernow = val(numuser)
    else
     UI_MSG_BOX("Bad Start","You are mssing a required file(s) to run UpsLog.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK) 
     sleep(5)
     a5.Close() 
    end if
    if file.exists(cpath+"\Stylesheet Bitmaps\grayyy.jpg") then
    thisis = FILE.OPEN(cpath+"\Stylesheet Bitmaps\grayyy.jpg",FILE_RW_EXCLUSIVE)
    getdate = thisis.READ_LINE()
    thedate = ctod(alltrim(getdate))
    dayslefttorun = thedate-date()
    select
    case thedate-date()=10
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 10 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=9
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 9 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=8
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 8 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=7
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 7 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=6
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 6 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=5
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 5 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=4
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 4 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=3
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 3 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=2
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 2 days.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-date()=1
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation expires in 1 day.  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
     case thedate-DATE()<=0
      UI_MSG_BOX("Time is up for demo","Your time for evaluation has expired!  UpsLog will terminate in 20 seconds  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
      sleep(5)
      a5.close()
    end select    
    else
      UI_MSG_BOX("You may have a bad install! - Closing!","Call 352-302-2015 for help",UI_OK)
      sleep(5)
      a5.close()
    end if
    if totalusers > numberusernow then
      UI_MSG_BOX("User Count","Your User count has been exceeded!  UpsLog will terminate in 5 seconds  Call 352-302-2015",UI_OK)
      sleep(5)
      a5.close()
    end if
    It is real simple to do.

    Hope it helps.

    .
    Last edited by DaveM; 08-25-2008 at 08:07 PM.
    Dave Mason
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Thanks for the information.
    Looks pretty easy to accomplish.
    Alan

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    Default Re: runtime license

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    regusers = a5_registration_license_inuse(cmast+"\sales.muf") ' main prog
    runtimeusers = a5_registration_license_inuse(cmast+"\sales.rmuf") ' runtime muf
    totalusers = runtimeusers+regusers+1 'so they don't error out with one extra
    This won't work the way it logically should.

    If you run this from the full version, the "runtimeusers" will ALWAYS be 0.
    If you run this from the runtime version, the "regusers" will ALWAYS be 0.
    Therefore, the totalusers will only be equal to whichever version you are currently in. (+1 of course)

    Apparently this is hard to fix because I've mentioned it on this message board at least once before and have sent it in on a bug report but it still isn't fixed.

    Also, to make it more generic, the initial counts should not be based on "cmast" because it's possible that someone could be running the application directly on the server. Instead, I'd use the "datapath":
    Code:
    DIM datapath as C
    IF a5.Get_Master_Path() = ""
         datapath = a5.Get_Path()
    ELSE
         datapath = a5.Get_Master_Path()
    END IF
    Note: My standard is to add "+chr(92)" to each datapath definition so I don't need the backslash before the file name.

    For awhile I was thinking that there might be a situation where you would want to leave "cmast" as-is so a developer could work on the server even if the full allotment of users are already logged in. However, because of the initial issue I mentioned, it really won't matter if the other users are on a runtime and the developer is on a full version.

    Not to take away from Dave's method - which is great for what it does and the price is right - but if anyone needs something more robust that tracks both full and runtime users plus many other features, it might be worth checking out my AIMS Registration routines. (No, it's definitely not free.)
    Last edited by CALocklin; 08-31-2008 at 12:29 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: runtime license

    Cal,
    I had a hard time finding the cost of your AIMS Registration routines on your site. What is the cost?
    Thanks,
    Larry

  29. #29
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    David Mason
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    Jul 2000
    Location
    Hudson, FL
    Posts
    4,402

    Default Re: runtime license

    Cal,

    Cmast is a variable.

    There is no possibility in runtime for someone to be working inside the folder on the server directly. Any server use that would come up is mapped from a runtime in a different folder.

    the server folder only holds the data.

    Said another way: everything else is a shadow with the runtime installed either from a different computer or at least a different folder.

    All checks run on it have come up accurate so far + 1. Could it be better? Sure it could, but it has not been found necessary.



    .
    Dave Mason
    car_man46@yahoo.com

    The one who thinks outside the box(cheats) the most wins the race. Ask any racer.

  30. #30
    "Certified" Alphaholic
    Real Name
    Cal Locklin
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    S.E. Michigan
    Posts
    5,719

    Default Re: runtime license

    RE: Cmast is a variable: I figured this was probably working fine for your situation. I didn't intend to imply anything bad about what you did - just wanted to point that out for others who may permit someone to work on the server data directly. If someone uses the original script when accessing the main data folder directly, it won't cause an error but the count will always come up +1 because cmast will be blank and the effective result, a5_registration_license_inuse("\sales.rmuf"), will return 0 rather than an error.

    As far as the count coming out right, it will work in your situation because people are only using the runtime. If both a full and runtime version are used on the same network, the total count will not include both - this is a problem with A5 that they apparently don't want to fix because most people don't care. Perhaps because most either don't understand the issue or don't have customers running both the runtime and full version. Personally, I don't like and won't use those 'count' commands because some of my apps run on networks that have both versions.

    And, just for those not completely familiar with the runtime and network optimization, here's a nit-picking clarification:
    The following is probably true the way Dave has set his up but it isn't a requirement of Alpha: "There is no possibility in runtime for someone to be working inside the folder on the server directly". Although seldom done and not usually the best way to do things, it is entirely possible to set up the runtime to access the data folder directly - either from the server or from a workstation. The "runtime" and "shadowing / network optimize" are two separate things either one of which can be used without the other. It is also entirely possible to have a full version of A5 on a workstation running a shadowed version. I've even been known to run a full version against a shadowed copy on the server just for testing. (Be very careful when shadowing to the server NOT to overwrite your original data files!) Although generally used together, remember that "runtime" and "shadowed" are separate features.

    Larry - the cost is $150 but you can't buy it without contacting me first. I don't want to post any info on the internet that might make it easier for someone to figure out how it works so anyone truly interested should contact me personally for additional info. I also don't want anyone to pay that much without understanding what is required to set it up. It isn't terribly difficult but isn't a matter of just "drop it into the addins installed folder and your app is ready for registrations." It does require some additional setup which can easily be done - even to an otherwise completed application.

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