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Sending code / getting paid

James Hodgkiss
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Joined: Jan 22, 2004
Posts: 401
I'm nearly at the end of phase 2 of a project and my client is asking me to send him my source code (and WAR file). Is it a really bad idea to do that before he's paid?

He paid for phase 1 ok (though it was via Elance so the funds for that part were held by a third party). But for phase 2 he's paying directly and also wants the source code, so may possibly throw up excuses / extra demands not to pay?...

Not been freelancing that long and haven't been in this situation before, so hoping someone may have some advice?

Joachim Rohde
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 27, 2006
Posts: 423

Don't you have a written contract?
Else try to agree with your customer that you send him the WAR-file and if everything is fine by him (functionality, etc.) you will deliver the source after he paid.
James Hodgkiss
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 22, 2004
Posts: 401
Thanks for the reply. We had a contract, bur it only applied to phase 1. I think I might follow your advice, but isn't decompilation a concern?
Joachim Rohde
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 27, 2006
Posts: 423

Have you ever tried to decompile some code? If you don't have any super-secret algorithms in your application I wouldn't mind about decompilation. You could also use an obfuscator (like ProGuard) to ... well... obfuscate your code. It would be still possible to decompile your code but in either cases it's not that you will get a compilable project from a decompiler.
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 37913
The law and usual custom vary from country to country, but surely you need to agree a price and specification before you deliver the remainder of the work?
Paul Clapham

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541

James Hodgkiss wrote:isn't decompilation a concern?

Why would it be a concern? Suppose your customer had a copy of the source code; what good would it be to them?
Henry Wong

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18506

Also, as a consultant, you own the business. And you, as the owner need to develop your business.

If you can't trust your clients to pay, then you need to change you business model to get better clients or give them incentive to pay. Doing legal stuff to get them to pay would work, but ultimately, it might hurt your reputation (and your ability to get repeat / new business), if you are heavy handed in this regard.


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
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subject: Sending code / getting paid
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