Free Monetization / Licensing Tool: Spare Brained Licensing

I’m pretty excited today. Our AppSource offer for Spare Brained Licensing was approved. It’s a free tool, anyone can use it. Why is this exciting?

What It Does

The Spare Brained Licensing app is a gatekeeper, a virtual bouncer. It is built on the idea that an Extension should have an active License Key, and provides the hooks for Extensions to check if the subscription license is active.

The user/administrator gets a single page where they can find all of their Subscriptions:

Screenshot showing a Business Central window titled Extension Licenses, with columns for the Extension Name, Activated, Update News, Trial Grace End Date Subscription Email and more off screen.
(Screenshot showing a Business Central window titled Extension Licenses, with columns described in the text below)

Currently, this has support to:

  • Which Extensions installed are managed by this Licensing system
  • Showing Activation status, as well as allowing users to Activate/Deactivate a License (in the system, financials are externally managed)
  • Daily checks for updated versions will show users (and create related User Tasks) if there is an update available
  • If an extension is running under a “Trial Grace” period, when does that end?
  • Which email address is on file at the Subscription provider associated with the License Key, so you can find any update or billing emails
  • The Product URL page so you can quickly find more information
  • The Billing Support email for that extension, so you can quickly contact the publisher involved

Features for Publishers

Along with all of the above, as an Extension/App publisher, you are able to register all of the information above in any way you choose, which allows for easy handling of:

  • Grace Periods can vary by environment type, such as allow a 1 week trial in production, and longer (or even infinite) Grace Periods in Sandbox
  • You can easily ‘check’ if a license is active, getting back either a simple true/false silently to handle yourself or automatically pop a warning message to users trying to use your Application.
  • There are great events available for activation, making it easy to guide your user to a Setup or Onboarding Wizard from the minute they activate

License Key Framework

This is a License Key validation and management framework, which does mean it does not manage subscription billing or any of the financial aspects of the monetization for you at this time.

However, the core table has been implemented as an Enum/Interface system. This extension comes with built-in support for using Gumroad as a license platform, but you can extend it to support almost anything.

Gumroad Interface

Out of the box, this extension has support for the Gumroad licensing system, making it very simple for smaller partners or even single developers to quickly and easily:

  • Offer complex rates per month, quarter, half year, and annually in a variety of currencies
  • Payout is handled automatically by Gumroad to you, either by direct transfer or PayPal (varies by country)
  • Easily support Affiliate handling to offer partners a % payout, which will also be managed by Gumroad on your behalf
  • All VAT handling, including MOSS reporting, is done by Gumroad on your behalf, so you only have to worry about the Net
  • Built-In Customer Email List building, along with easy integrations with third parties to communicate with your market
  • Entirely reasonable fees that reduce along your lifetime earnings

Extensible

Because the framework is extensible, publishers can also extend the Licensing system to add other License Key verification platforms as wanted.

How can I trust it?

Valid question! This application does communicate to outside systems in a very narrow scope.

We have a PTE range copy (so you can develop with your license with it) available on GitHub in the Spare Brained Licensing repo.

What’s the Catch?

None. We needed a Licensing verification system for our great new API Designer tool, Data Braider, so the intention from inception was to make this extension available for more people to use.

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