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How to build application for evaluation/trial copy

nixsan sannix
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 11, 2011
Posts: 2
Hello experts,

I would like to present the situation that I would be facing for the
first time.

We group of novice have build a core java and swing based software and want to send
it to few of prospects an evaluation copy next month. Can please someone
guide how professionally and securely we should be doing this?

e.g. We have 5 main java classes and total 25 methods, each one representing
a feature.

Now, for evaluation copy we want only 12 of them to be available and
not all. How we should be doing that?

One option for beginner is to build a separate build for that and
send, is it the only option?

Thanks a lot in advance for helping.
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

In this case, since the software has no real value to anybody, there is no reason to bother with "evaluation copies". At best what you have written so far might be of some use for evaluation, but what is being evaluated is the finished product which you have not yet written.

At least that's my interpretation of the situation -- you are a group of novices and you have written a very small amount of code, so it's extremely unlikely be of any value. Perhaps you're doing this "evaluation copy" thing as some kind of theoretical exercise, but you didn't mention that in your post. In real life? Don't bother with that.
nixsan sannix
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 11, 2011
Posts: 2
Hello Paul,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, at present it's of no value but we are thinking of putting a few features next and if we can think of something on design level it will help us redesign once we are done with that. Can you post something on solution aspect please?
Riaan Nel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 23, 2009
Posts: 157

nixsan sannix wrote:
Now, for evaluation copy we want only 12 of them to be available and
not all. How we should be doing that?

One option for beginner is to build a separate build for that and
send, is it the only option?

You would have to have separate builds, yes. You could also wrap everything in if statements and keep a "trial" flag somewhere.

This might not be the cleanest solution though.


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw
Akhilesh Trivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1526
You release an evaluation-copy when things at your end are done and you expect to win more chances of selling by releasing an evaluation version. It is like a soup before the meal, it should not be too good that actual food fades in its comparison, at the same time it should not be too worse that there are no more orders.

Well, that is my idea, a true businessman will sell just the soups too.

As Paul suggested, it will be too early to think of sales when things at your end is not yet complete. It will be different if you are working on an order, because then you can negotiate on what to put, how much to put and your terms. But if you do not have a customer yet, there is no point of thinking about him and hiding something that is not yet complete.

Still, Evaluation copies, in my opinion are two kinds, (I suppose I read somewhere here at ranch itself)

1. Doesn't have full features - no code at all.
2. Has full but suppressed features - has code (like full version) but is disabled.


Keep Smiling Always — My life is smoother when running silent. -paul
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Winston Gutkowski
Bartender

Joined: Mar 17, 2011
Posts: 7542
    
  18

nixsan sannix wrote:We have 5 main java classes and total 25 methods, each one representing
a feature.
Now, for evaluation copy we want only 12 of them to be available and
not all. How we should be doing that?

One possibility is to simply provide stub methods that throw UnsupportedOperationException (or display a similar message to the user) if called. However, like Paul, I question the need for it when you have so little code.

One thing I would advise: Before you send out evaluation copies, make sure:
(a) You have a very good idea how long it will take to turn your evaluation copy into a fully functional application.
(b) Prospective clients understand that what they are getting is a prototype and nothing more. They should also know how long it's going to take to turn into a proper application, and how much it will cost.

Winston


Isn't it funny how there's always time and money enough to do it WRONG?
Articles by Winston can be found here
 
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