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Creating user interfaces to allow users to manage your application licenses involves design, development, and testing. PLUSManagedGui is a fully managed, .NET component that provides you with an easy-to-use, pre-built GUI that you can simply plug right into your applications. PLUSManagedGui is designed for use with applications that use PLUSManaged and are built on or able to use System.Windows.Forms GUIs (PLUSManagedGui is not designed to be integrated into services or web applications directly). This applies to Protection PLUS 5 SDK .NET Edition.
Below is a screen shot of the kind of user interface PLUSManagedGui adds to your application:
Throughout this section of the manual, the SampleLicense class is referenced. This class and its supporting classes are re-used from the sample applications.
This section of the manual focuses on showing you how to use PLUSManagedGui, and does not focus on showing you how to use PLUSManaged directly. A complete reference for PLUSManagedGui is also available in the PLUSManaged API reference.
PLUSManagedGui is a visual component that is very easy to use. After adding a reference to your project, and simply dragging-and-dropping the component onto your application's primary dialog/form, you can configure properties and settings visually using the properties pane in Visual Studio. Some of the many, time-saving features available in PLUSManagedGui are summarized below.
PLUSManagedGui allows your users to select which actions to take and specify how to go about performing them (both with and without direct Internet connectivity) through a common license management dialog. When a user requests an action, PLUSManagedGui automatically performs it for you and passes the results to you in a single, simplified event. This same functionality also provides the flexibility you need to make decisions about the final result of the action performed, and simplifies reporting the final result to your end-users.
PLUSManagedGui calls the SOLO Server web services for you automatically based on which action the user decides to take through the built-in GUI.
Support for proxy servers and proxy authentication can be particularly important when supporting larger clients, especially organizations like hospitals, academic institutions, government or military organizations, etc... PLUSManagedGui automatically supports using the same proxy server configuration used by Internet Explorer on Windows systems, and also automatically handles obtaining and using users' proxy authentication credentials. The gathered information may even be used for other, in-house or third-party web services you may call in your application.
Supporting activation and automating license management of systems which have no or very limited Internet connectivity is greatly simplified.
When a user needs to activate, refresh, or deactivate his or her license, but lacks an Internet connection on the licensed system, he or she may generate a manual request file. A manual request file is simply an HTML file that the user may copy to another system or device (typically using removable media such as a USB thumb-drive or a portable hard drive) that has an Internet connection. Once copied, the user may double-click the HTML file and save the result, and load the result in the computer that is being licensed. The system which is being activated or licensed is the only one that needs to have your software installed. The only requires for using the manual request file on other systems or devices is a web browser and a working Internet connection.
If you need to support environments that completely lack Internet connectivity, you may need a means of activating your application's licenses by phone or fax. Trigger Codes are the solution for this scenario, as they allow you to activate customers quickly and easily using activation codes that can easily be read by and to your customers verbally.
Many (if not most) applications check the status of the license and/or refresh the license file with SOLO Server regularly. It is often important that this validation occurs while your application is starting, but this can often take some time (especially if the customer's Internet connection is slow). Additionally, there may be other start-up logic in your application that could take a while to complete. Displaying a splash screen while your application performs these tasks is not only convenient, it is considered a best practice. The splash screen lets users know your application has been started and is responsive while the application performs its start-up tasks. PLUSManagedGui includes an easy-to-use splash screen that can be used to load and validate your licenses, as well as perform any additional start-up logic required by your application while display a customized graphic of your choice (PNG images using alpha-transparency are supported).