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Commercially producing a product

P: n/a
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.

Many thanks
Nov 12 '05 #1
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6 Replies


P: n/a
The Office Developer Edition is required in order for you to be licensed to
distribute the runtime. To package with the runtime is not, in itself,
particularly difficult. What can be tedious is to put all the finishing
touches on, that make it a full-developed application. It has been said that
"the last 10% of the application requires 90% of the work".

There may be a few surprises, too, when you find what is part of the retail
Access environment and what is included in the runtime... there's a
"reduced" main menu bar.

And, for general distribution, not in a controlled environment, many have
said they felt it _necessary_ to also use the Wise, InstallShield, or other
installer software, along with the SageKey scripts. This would be _in
addition to_ licensing the Office Developer Edition.

I can't advise you on legal issues either in the US or the UK. But here is
some general information that you could find with a minimum of searching --
note that it is not legal advice, because I am not an attorney. In the US,
any original work you produce on your own time is automatically copyrighted.
However, if you need to go to court to protect your work, then you are far
better off if you have registered your copyright. That said, many just rely
on distributing as MDE to protect their code (and, if I understand
correctly, that's really about all that you can legally protect -- "look and
feel" just didn't work out in this regard). But, in the US, if you developed
the application as an employee of the school, on their time, then there's a
really high probability that it would be the school's application, not
yours.

Good luck with your project.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP
"Corinne" <CR******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:f4*************************@posting.google.co m...
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.

Many thanks

Nov 12 '05 #2

P: n/a
Corinne wrote:
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.

Many thanks


1. Obviously make sure the app is bug-free and reliable.
2. Include a manual and/or online help as you see appropriate.
3. Distribute it as an MDE - there's no need for anyone to see your source
code.
4. Consider whether you need Access security and make sure it's implemented
correctly. Even if it's single-user you may wish to protect the various
tables, forms etc.
5. Try to consider the user's experience of using your product. It may
work for you but what other ways can you improve it before you consider
shipping it?
6. Looks are important; make sure the interfaces appear professional and
clear. Get multiple opinions.
7. Despite the ups and downs I've experienced with the Access 2000 MSI
Wizard from Sagekey and the fact that I appear to be the only person who's
bought it, I would still recommend it. It's overpriced and underspecced but
it does it's main job quite well.
It allows the end user to run your Access 2000 app using it's own Access
2000 runtime. This means the end user does not have to have Access 2000
installed on their system. I have found it to be solid and reliable
regardless of the end user's setup. The Access Developers Kit is nice but
the runtime is not up the job though it's needed for licensing as Larry
indicates in his reply. There are other useful developer features depending
on the version you buy.
8. Copyright; there's no process to go through to claim copyright in the
UK. You assert copyright by inserting a copyright statement in your work.
There *is* more to it than that but you can Google the rest of it.
9. Work out how you're going to sell it. Is it under license or are you
charging a one-off fee. Depends on the function of the software and how
much interaction you expect to have with your customers.
10. Are you going to support it? Will it need support? Will customers be
prepared to pay extra for that?
11. Oh and don't forget to test at every stage!!

I'm actually in a very similar position to yourself, but a little further
down the road. Feel free to email me if you want to converse further as it
would be nice to share similar experiences (my e-mail is mangled; drop one
of the 9's for it to work).

hth
Martin

Nov 12 '05 #3

P: n/a
CR******@aol.com (Corinne) wrote in news:f438534c.0309300818.6c827e0
@posting.google.com:
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.


Most clients that can afford to buy a developer's software can also afford
to buy Access licenses. I tried distributing the runtime years ago. I found
that all my clients had Access so that was redundant. I tried distributing
MDEs. I found that all my clients were honest so that was redundant. So,
today I just distribute MDBs (well, ADPs but that's another story).
Actually, I don't distribute them; I make them available on a website where
they can be downloaded upon entry of a password. Do any get stolen? Who
knows? I tend to squirrel some client identifying strings in places where
the average Access user might not think to look. So, the reports for Acme
Company are likely to say, on each page, “Created for Acme Company by
FFDBA”. If someone from the Widgets Company uses the application it will
show “Created for Acme Company by FFDBA”, unless he/she is quite clever.
And if someone does steal an application, so what? I’ll write something
better tomorrow; I’m sure.

--
Lyle
(for e-mail refer to http://ffdba.com/contacts.htm)
Nov 12 '05 #4

P: n/a
TC
- Don't forget about *marketing*. It is difficult enought to design a great
product & package it up, ready for commercial distrbution. But if you do not
know how to market it, the world will not beat a path to your door. I am
about to increase the sales of my main product by a factor of about *100*,
due to teaming-up with a smart young marketing guy; whereas I personally
could not sell a cool drink to a person lost in the desert :-(

- Forget runtime Access, package & deployment wizard, sagekey scripts etc.
etc. Just say to your potential customers: "This product requires a working
copy of Microsoft Access versions x, y or z". This will save you money, &
trouble. Do, however, have a professional installation program, and do have
that program check that a suitable version of Access is installed on the PC.

Also see the excllent advice from Deano.

HTH,
TC

"Corinne" <CR******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:f4*************************@posting.google.co m...
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.

Many thanks

Nov 12 '05 #5

P: n/a
Wanna share the identity of that guy (with his permission)?
"TC" <a@b.c.d> wrote in message news:1065001124.453791@teuthos...
- Don't forget about *marketing*. It is difficult enought to design a great product & package it up, ready for commercial distrbution. But if you do not know how to market it, the world will not beat a path to your door. I am
about to increase the sales of my main product by a factor of about *100*,
due to teaming-up with a smart young marketing guy; whereas I personally
could not sell a cool drink to a person lost in the desert :-(

- Forget runtime Access, package & deployment wizard, sagekey scripts etc.
etc. Just say to your potential customers: "This product requires a working copy of Microsoft Access versions x, y or z". This will save you money, &
trouble. Do, however, have a professional installation program, and do have that program check that a suitable version of Access is installed on the PC.
Also see the excllent advice from Deano.

HTH,
TC

"Corinne" <CR******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:f4*************************@posting.google.co m...
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.

Many thanks


Nov 12 '05 #6

P: n/a
TC
The young guy in question manages a business that has trialled my product
for several years. He knows & deals with most of the key players in the
country where I live. However, it is very much a niche business area (I'd
prefer not to say what it is), so his knowledge & contacts are quite
specific in nature. Also he is employed full time by the business in
question, & takes unpaid leave or holidays to do the marketing activities
that he is doing for me now. All of those activities are based around his
3-year exposure to my product, & his experience of how it helped him grow
the business in question. So these are fairly unusual circumstances. It is
not a case of my having found this guy in the phonebook!

In summary, he would not be in a position to offer marketing services to
anyone else at this time; unless he quite his current job, which he does not
intend to do (AFAIK).

Cheers,
TC
Mark B <remove_from _h*********************@ihug.co.nz> wrote in message
news:bl**********@lust.ihug.co.nz...
Wanna share the identity of that guy (with his permission)?
"TC" <a@b.c.d> wrote in message news:1065001124.453791@teuthos...
- Don't forget about *marketing*. It is difficult enought to design a

great
product & package it up, ready for commercial distrbution. But if you do

not
know how to market it, the world will not beat a path to your door. I am
about to increase the sales of my main product by a factor of about *100*, due to teaming-up with a smart young marketing guy; whereas I personally
could not sell a cool drink to a person lost in the desert :-(

- Forget runtime Access, package & deployment wizard, sagekey scripts etc. etc. Just say to your potential customers: "This product requires a

working
copy of Microsoft Access versions x, y or z". This will save you money, & trouble. Do, however, have a professional installation program, and do

have
that program check that a suitable version of Access is installed on the

PC.

Also see the excllent advice from Deano.

HTH,
TC

"Corinne" <CR******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:f4*************************@posting.google.co m...
Over the last year I have designed a database to store information in
the school I work in. It has now replaced the commercially produced
programme we were using. I should like to market this and make it
available to other schools. I have done some research and noticed I
would need Access developers toolkit. Could anybody tell me if this is
relatively easy to use to turn my database into a commercial product.
Any advice would be welcome as to how I start to go about all this.
Would I also need to copyright the product? If so I am in the UK if
that helps.

Many thanks



Nov 12 '05 #7

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