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.
Software Engineer for C U Online