We are shortly to release the next version of Form Generator Pro (automatic generation 
of HTML form/PHP processing code) and are looking for some comments on the way in 
which we intend to make the software available.

Due to the fact that we cannot distribute this PHP application without comprising 
copyright (the Zend Encoder is not an affordable option for us - we are a small 
start-up business), the current version of Form Generator Pro is only available for 
use online at the C U Online site which is fine because 1. it only generates mail 
forms and 2. it's free. However this won't work for version 2 because version 2 
automatically generates forms for MySQL databases by querying the database for table 
information (field lengths, types etc). Opening up connections from our server to 
other servers to get database info is not an option - for security reasons (and also 
many MySQL servers are set up to only accept local connections anyway for this reason).

To resolve this problem, the software has been split into 2 parts. The part that 
retrieves the database information sits on the customers server (secured). Field 
definitions are then extracted and sent to the generator which remains on our site. I 
will stress here that no actual database data is sent between the 2 servers, nor any 
MySQL server usernames or passwords - just the field lengths, types etc of the 
selected table. Access to the generator will then be sold as opposed to selling the 
actual software (although mail form generation will remain free). This is not an ideal 
solution but it seems to be the only way to make the software available and at the 
same time protect copyright.

I would be grateful for any thoughts from other businesses/developers on this solution.

Debbie Dyer
Software Engineer for C U Online

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