How do I offer a trial / evaluation / demo of my software?
Each SoftwareKey license client allows you to have your software automatically start up as a trial or evaluation. In most cases, this trial is limited to run for a certain number of days, and it is also possible to limit what features are available in your application while it is running as a trial.
If you want more control over who can use your trial software, you may want to require activation for the trial instead of having it start as a trial automatically. Read our blog post for more information on both approaches: When licensing software, should I require customers to activate my software evaluations?
The following instructions are for creating a free trial that starts up automatically on any new computer:
Protection PLUS 5 SDK
With Protection PLUS 5 SDK, you can have your application create a writable license file that runs the software as a time-limited evaluation. When your software runs on a computer that doesn't have a license or alias files, it will automatically create the files to start a new trial. You can refer to the writable license file manual topics for PLUSManaged or PLUSNative for more information, and the included sample projects also demonstrate this process.
Instant Protection PLUS 3
On the Trial Options step of the Instant Protection PLUS 3 wizard, you can choose whether your software will start as a trial when installed on any new computer. You can set the number of days for the trial and/or the number of allowed runs. Once the number of days or runs reaches zero, then the user will be required to activate the software to continue using it.
On the Trial Options step of the AutoCrypt SL wizard, you can choose whether your software will start as a trial when installed on any new computer. You can set the number of days for the trial and/or the number of allowed runs. Once the number of days or runs reaches zero, then the user will be required to activate the software to continue using it.
How can I prevent trial re-installation to gain additional usage of my trial?
The most common way is to use license file aliases. Even if the main license file is deleted, one or more of these synchronized backup license files will stick around after your application is uninstalled, preserving the existing trial/license data and preventing the user from starting over with another trial period. Another option is to require users to activate the trial.
With Instant Protection PLUS 3 and AutoCrypt SL, alias files are created for you automatically with the default settings. For more information, see the License Files and Aliases Instant Protection PLUS 3 topic, or the License File Options AutoCrypt SL topic.