Many guys in the community create great modules for the Mendix platform. At this time it's not possible to share this including a protection of your intellectual property. The only way now is refactor important microflows to java and secure this code with obfuscation and encryption.
So our feature request is to have a feature in the platoform to blackbox microflows (so you can't step into it and you can't read it through the SDK) and the feature to mark microflow as readonly so you can't change it. In this case you can add a license module in the blackbox microflows without refactor to java.
I think it will stimulate people to share more and moneytize their creations.
Just my 2 cents: If I can't see or change what exactly I'm buying, I'd rather build it myself.
Compare it to building a house: If I buy a new bathroom or kitchen to put in that house, what good is it if I can't make any alterations so that it ends up exactly to my liking?
I think you'll have the exact opposite effect to what you are trying to achieve if Mendix enables the posibility to 'blackbox' certain parts of a module: I think you will sell less.
@Marnix, thanks for your thoughts. Always good to have some different opinions / visions on this.
But on-topic: since when is it a bad thing to sell modules/components though the appstore? Mendix already has a section for this: promotional content. And Yes, Appronto is selling some modules via the appstore. And so do many other Mendix partners. That's where appstores are (partly) used for in general. Beside that, we have a lot of free content in the store as well.
We don't want an easier way to protect our modules, we want a better way.
For example we have a large workflow 4 Mendix solution developed. We invested a lot of research and development in this solution. I would really like to publish it to the appstore so everybody can give it a try, but we can't do that at this point since there is no commercial and/of IP protection.
It't not the IP protection which I care the most about. It's because the Mendix appstore doesn't give you any insight in who downloaded the module, who has in still in their project. The most striking example, before we started licensing our modules, was our commercial module Reporting 4 Mendix. Back then it was already a commercial module (paid) but not protected at all. I was asked for a QA review of a certain project, and there it was: our module, but we didn't sell it to that customer. I don't think this was on purpose, because developers working on a project are not always aware about which module is paid and which is free. Export/import it to another project is then quite easy.
To avoid this kind of misunderstandings a form of protection facilitated by the platform would be great. And as the community grows at some point there will be copycats, they probably won't copy it and put it back into the appstore, but they can copy it and reuse it for their own customer base.
"Besides a lot of the AppStore content requires modification after all so this ability for hiding logic will quite likely piss me off."
I know this is true for some modules. But modules can be well developed so you won't run into this, there are quite a few patterns that can be used / applied to make extension of appstore modules possible. You want to avoid changing appstore modules at all time, because after that you can't upgrade anymore.
"Basically this is a request which will make many widget / module developers add pricing to the content they put in the AppStore because who doesn't want to get paid repeatedly for the hours invested. The AppStore will get very limited in available free content"
I don't think so. Now a lot of content isn't submitted to the app store at all, because there is no business model supported by Mendix. I don't think that everything will be converted into paid widgets/modules. I think the opposite will happen: a lot of new content coming to the appstore, content that wasn't submitted earlier exactly because of the lack of the possibility to protect your IP.
"So now what? AppStore competitor A. makes one module, competitor B. adds a similar one with slightly different code for free... Does that intellectual property claim you added now allow you to get his content out of the AppStore? "
No. Intellectual property != patent; so every competitor is allowed to rebuilt a module and publish it as competition. The IP protection will only make sure that the competitor has to think on this own and can't just copy/paste microflows, make some changes, and submit it as brand new.
@Mitchel "While if many clients want it you could lower the price and many more clients would be able to benefit from the hours you spend."
In the world of business economics this never ever happens. More demand means higher pricing in the scenario there is one party offering the product.
Unless of course there is so much competition in the AppStore that you're forced to lower your pricing, which kind of eliminates any reason for this request because then nobody would make any money of this.
I don't see how this would work anyways? There is a general issue with copyrights on code. Which is code only compiles in so many ways to perform a certain action.
So now what? AppStore competitor A. makes one module, competitor B. adds a similar one with slightly different code for free... Does that intellectual property claim you added now allow you to get his content out of the AppStore?
Intellectual property really just was introduced by corporations to have a stick to slap with towards smaller companies so that they keep their market place. It's a way for them to keep competition to a minimum.
Really unless you've got the patents to a concept adding a copyright mark or whatever "intellectual property" claim is quite pointless.
And as you say: "Many developers will not care to add their work to the AppStore at all"
This is not a downside to me.
I think 99% of all Mendix partners businesses are financed by their development hours sold. Meaning your salary gets mostly paid from the development hours you put in at clients.
If all developers started putting their stuff ready built in the AppStore whomever has most things on the shelf right now will still make some money. Currently any business who has a lot of things on the shelf has a competitive edge in the market because of this portfolio. If your client gets the choice "take the *insert random* module from the AppStore for a low amount of money and modify it a bit because it nearly covers all we need" or "we would like you to build this from scratch" they will always pick the first option.
So instead of maybe a few days of development days sold you can now only sell half a day.
Or if they actually see you already have what they need from a product you can demonstrate. It gives your sales department something to work with.
@Marnix, turn it around without being able to monitize what you created many developers will not care to add their work to the appstore at all. While if many clients want it you could lower the price and many more clients would be able to benifit from the hours you spend.
Warning this is my opinion and quite likely I'm a dick...
What I read here after the "support Appronto" comment : "We at Appronto would like an easier way to restrict new AppStore content with a license so that we can make money of more modules. Currently it requires a lot of work to implement and secure our AppStore content with our current licensing model. And because of this our release cycles of new content takes a long time."
Anyway I do not support the idea of selling modules / microflow's in the public AppStore.
The platform is so easy that it allows for anyone to build the same logic but the only thing that might be blocking them is understanding of the platform capabilities and their available time. Making this logic therefor takes an individual time, which translates to money per hour. Basically this is a request which will make many widget / module developers add pricing to the content they put in the AppStore because who doesn't want to get paid repeatedly for the hours invested. The AppStore will get very limited in available free content.
Already certain modules that I consider should be "Core" for quality assurance of Mendix applications are currently being capitalized on like the AQM, APM & ATS modules. And the pricing models for these are impossible to afford by smaller clients. The pricing isn't shown anywhere on the website and you need to talk to a sales person, because it's stupid expensive.
If anything you develop is so good that you think you should be paid for it every time someone uses that content don't put it into the AppStore. Present it to Mendix and construct a licensing model where you get paid fairly for the time put in. Or get better sales people and sell it to clients directly.
Besides a lot of the AppStore content requires modification after all so this ability for hiding logic will quite likely piss me off.
This would be really great for promoting our commercial modules..