Quick Update / FogBugz & LDAP / Selling Beta Software

Working hard on getting the final few things sorted for CaseDetective 1.0.

Just got to learn about and write some LDAP code for Active Directory and OpenLDAP authentication now that FB4SP1 has it, add automatic version update checks, and update all my Help Docs and I’ll be all set ;-)

I’ve already knocked off a few other little bits and bobs, but still have quite a bit to go by the looks of things!

The final beta has proven to be a real non-event, which is great! Eh? Well, no one has raised any bugs at all on this version, there’s only been a couple of questions about how things may go in the future and some really nice comments. So I’m very happy.

I’m obviously going to be taking a little bit of a risk by adding the LDAP stuff to v1.0 without having a public beta, but before going live I’ll seed it out to a few current testers that I know use domains etc and might be using this new FogBugz feature.

The thing is, I doubt a huge number of FogBugz users will start using this LDAP authentication straight away, it does take a little bit of planning to make sure existing users are correctly configured for when you switch. I found this out the hard way, locking myself out of FogBugz in the process. It was easy to get back in by updating a couple of records directly in the database though. Second attempt worked much better once I’d sorted out how the user names should be set. I guess a network professional would have no problems, but I’m not one of those by any stretch of the imagination.

One disappointing but expected thing about the betas is that I’ve made no sales. Well, I say no sales, I know of plenty beta users who have said they’ll be buying it, but none have yet.

I kind of expected this, it won’t be until v1.0 is out the door before I actually start to get sales. As I see it there are two primary reasons:

Firstly, people don’t like to pay for something which is in Beta as that label means “not quite finished” and who knows when it actually will be finished? Paying up is a risk.

Secondly, I gave the beta users way too much trial time to play with. 60 usage days of trial time is a very long time, I should have kept it at the default of 30 days. But it’s too late now, the deal was done and I promised 60 days, and a further 30 once v1.0 was out there, so that’s what I’ll do.

If someone uses CaseDetective only once every month they’ll be able to use the v1.0 trial for over two and a half years! It’s a very unlikely scenario, but is possible. I’ll just have to work hard to make CaseDetective irresistible and so useful that people will feel like paying for it just to say thank you :-)

No comments.

  1. How easy or hard was it to do the LDAP stuff? I’ve never looked into LDAP too much, but I’ve thought it might make a nice feature in RB some day. It’d be interesting to hear your experiences with it.

  2. Haven’t done it yet, just been reading up on the MS APIs so far, not looking too bad.

    Have been chatting to Norman Palardy about his old plugin for OS 9 and Windows, sounds like he had to do some funky stuff with C structures etc. C/C++ just isn’t my bag though.

    Me, I’m going to use Soft Declares (which by the way I think are one of the best things to come along for RB just recently) and use the MS or OpenLDAP libraries depending on build target.

    Should be fun, let’s hope it’s a bit quicker to get the basics done than when I implemented UNIX Crypt! :-)

  3. Well keep me informed on how well it works out for you — I’m interested to see what other’s perspectives are.

  4. Will do Aaron, hopefully it won’t be too long until I get something up and running.

  5. Ian,

    For God’s sake, use OpenLDAP! I really want to have LDAP access in RB on OS X, and I have often considered writing something myself. If you do it with OpenLDAP then I’ll be able and willing to help debug using my servers.

    Good luck!

  6. Charlie,

    Of course I’m using OpenLDAP, but that’s because it’s what OS X uses. On Windows clients you obviously need to use whatever is available there, but luckily the api seems to be almost identical (surprise surprise), so I don’t expect to have any major problems there.

    I’ve already got started on this, although a little later than I had hoped and with only about an hour of work so far. But it’s going OK, seems to be doable, just need to work out a kink or two before driving forward with the very basic functionality I need and integrating with CaseDetective.