As we are gearing up for the launch of the next version of our Data Abstract and RemObjects SDK products, internally code named ‘Vinci’, i thought it might be interesting to start a new series of blog posts, outlining some of the more exciting features we’re planning to ship with version 5.

i concentrate in describing one feature per blog post, which could be a major new thing for ‘Vinci’, or a more incremental improvement. All the features i’ll be describing are things we’re already shipping as “usable” in our internal betas, so chances are high they will make it into the initial 5.0.21 release as discussed here. But, as always when discussing betas, things are subject to change, and things might get scrapped, reworked or deferred to subsequent releases.

Change #1: The Licensing Model
Starting off this list with a non-tech feature, we are planning some slight changes to the licensing model, starting with ‘Vinci’ (and all other future product releases such as Chrome ‘Joyride’). Worry not, these changes are for the better, and will provide several benefits to both you, our customers, as well as us.

In the past, our product licenses have been sold on a by-version basis. You purchased a license for a particular product and version, and got access to all releases of that version. For example if you bought Data Abstract 3.0, you got the latest version at the time of purchase, plus access to all incremental 3.0.x builds we released later on, for bugfixes. Once we released version 4.0, an upgrade was required.

Starting with ‘Vinci’, we are changing this to a yearly subscription model. I can hear you cry out, but please hear me out, first! In the future, when you purchase a license for Data Abstract, you are not getting a license limited to version 5 (or whatever later version is current at the time), but a license for all versions of Data Abstract released within the next 365 days of purchase. This includes interim updates for the current version, but in all likelihood, it will also include the next major version, since we have major releases planned once every year.

After the year is passed, a (significantly lower, although we are not announcing prices yet) renewal fee will extend your subscription for another year, again giving you access to all the interim releases and major releases published in that time frame. If you chose not to renew your subscription, you can of course continue using the versions you have, but will not get access to subsequent releases (minor or major).

What are the upsides?

For once, the new system will allow us to new features, minor and major, in a much more incremental way. In the past, any major feature that wasn’t ready for the 5.0.21 release at the end of June would probably have been held back to version 6. With the new subscription model, the lines between minor and major releases are blurred, and new features will be added in many, if not all, of the planned bi-monthly builds we are doing.

From the financial side, it’s a big win for customers. In addition to the interim releases you got thru the old model, most customers will also get the next major version as part of the same purchase. At the very least (if your purchase is on the day of initial release), you get a full year of updates, just as with the old model. Renewal pricing will also be lower than our upgrade pricing has traditionally been, saving you more money in the long run.

On our side, we will benefit from a more regular cash flow across the year, allowing us to better plan and manage our resources. Using the old model, sales decline as we near the launch of a new release, as customers are waiting to purchase the new version, rather than a version that will be superseded in just a few months (a problem that in fact keeps many companies from pre-announcing new versions at all). Using the new subscription model, a customer can feel confident to purchase licenses even a month or a few weeks before a new release is imminent – no matter what time of the year he purchases, he gets the same value.

Finally, the incremental release approach will also make it easier for us to schedule our technical resources and get new features into the product at a pace that best suits our development cycle, rather then having one big “feature rush” once a year.

What are the downsides?

Frankly, i don’t think there are any. this is a win/win solution for both our customers and our company.

Feedback? Comments? Worries?

Feedback? Comments? Worries? Please let me know, either by commenting here or sending us a mail.

Coming up next: The new New HttpSysServerChannel for RO/.NET.