In this letter, I would like to describe the progress that we’ve made since the 9th of June as a mean to reduce downtimes, how our licensing model has changed, how it affects current customers, and finally some of the new functionality that are currently available and those that will be available soon.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who took their time to reply to the questionnaire that was attached to the previous post. It has been really helpful and has affected the way the plan was executed. Generally, most of us share the opinion that we should have new servers and to allow SKM to be hosted on private servers. Within the same week, we changed the infrastructure from being in a shared environment to a virtual private server provided by Microsoft Azure. From now on, no more downtimes should occur as the environment is highly compatible with our application. In addition, the response speed should be a lot faster than before.
Some of the advantages of the change of infrastructure is that it makes SKM even more reliable for critical operations such as instant license validation and payment processment. However, security and reliability improvements have affected the licensing model of our application. Now, instead of just offering a cloud based software licensing system, there will be an option to host SKM on your own servers. This is particularly good for enterprises with policies that require data to be stored in the infrastructure of the company.
If you choose to host SKM on your own, there are two ways it can be achieved: dedicated and on premise. The first option gives you SKM that is specifically hosted for your company, but which is maintained and hosted by us. The latter allows you to host SKM on your own servers. Maintenance is still included in this case.
Since we have three new types of subscriptions: Standard, Professional and Ultimate, the old Premium subscription is now longer available for new customers. Thanks to all current Premium subscribers, SKM has continuously grown from just being a way to avoid duplicates in Software Protector (SKGL) to an advanced, competitive, affordable, developer friendly licensing solution with tools that ensure that you reduce the time needed to maintain software licensing and distribution. Your friendly feedback and loyalty has encouraged us to keep on adding new features in order to deliver you a great service. Therefore, all current Premium subscribers will be able to upgrade their subscriptions in the same way as before. However, if you would like to get our newest features, you are always welcome to upgrade to any other subscription!
Now, let’s have a look at what’s new in SKM. Clearly, the design has changed in many parts of the application, in order to ensure that you get a great user experience. It’s not yet perfect, but we do our best to make it as great as possible (and you are always encouraged to let us know your thoughts on the forum!). Since we want SKM to be as simple as possible, we’ve added support for a fluent interface in SKGL Extension (read more here). Moreover, to simplify customer management, we’ve added the ability to assign keys to a customer, which removes the hassle that can occur when you have to manage many licenses. From now on, it’s the customer, not the license key that should be in centre. Later this year, we will extended the Web API to allow it to be more customer based. In addition, there is support for a new algorithm for key generation, namely SKM15. This algorithm is more adjusted to an online licensing system such as SKM. Our Web API is not entirely compatible with SKM15, but everything is made to change this (here is compatibility list).
In the nearest future, we plan to open up a new version of the Web API with support for token based authentication, simplified versioning and documentation. A final date is not set because even if it set, more time will be required to review and test it, which would make the initial prediction incorrect. It will be released, that’s what can be said at the moment. In addition, we’ve started working on a cool feature that allows you to analyse the usage of your application (during activation for instance). By setting up a script, you can track down potential violations of a certain license quite easily. Again, it will be released, but there is still no solid deadline. If you would like to test our current progress, please let us know!
In conclusion, here’s what we’ve gone through. First of all, the infrastructure has changed to avoid downtimes. Secondly, support for dedicated and on premise hosting was added for those that prefer to have a private SKM server. Thirdly, current Premium customers will be able to keep their subscription as before, however, there is always an option to get new features by upgrading to a different subscription. Fourthly, we mentioned that there is an added support for customer management and there is also a new key generation algorithm optimized for SKM. Finally, it was announced that a new Web API will be released with support for token based authentication (and much more), and that soon you will be able to track down potential license violations using simple scripts. Finally, I would like to thank all of you for providing constructive feedback and suggesting new features. It has been fun to work with you, and I’m looking forward to continue working with you in order to ensure that your products are secured with a modern licensing system!