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How does Licensing Work?

ComponentOne uses a licensing model based on the standard set by Microsoft, which works with all types of components.

Note: The Compact Framework components use a slightly different mechanism for run-time licensing than the other ComponentOne components due to platform differences.

When a user decides to purchase a product, he receives an installation program and a Serial Number. During the installation process, the user is prompted for the serial number that is saved on the system. (Users can also enter the serial number by clicking the License button on the About Box of any ComponentOne product, if available, or by rerunning the installation and entering the serial number in the licensing dialog.)

When a licensed component is added to a form or web page, Visual Studio obtains version and licensing information from the newly created component. When queried by Visual Studio, the component looks for licensing information stored in the system and generates a run-time license and version information, which Visual Studio saves in the following two files:

      An assembly resource file which contains the actual run-time license

      A "licenses.licx" file that contains the licensed component strong name and version information

These files are automatically added to the project by Microsoft Visual Studio.

In WinForms and ASP.Net 1.x applications, the run-time license is stored as an embedded resource in the assembly hosting the component or control by Visual Studio. In ASP.Net 2.x applications, the run-time license may also be stored as an embedded resource in the App_Licenses.dll assembly, which is used to store all run-time licenses for all components directly hosted by WebForms in the application. Thus, the App_licenses.dll must always be deployed with the application.

The licenses.licx file is a simple text file that contains strong names and version information for each of the licensed components used in the application. Whenever Visual Studio is called upon to rebuild the application resources, this file is read and used as a list of components to query for run-time licenses to be embedded in the appropriate assembly resource. Note that editing or adding an appropriate line to this file can force Visual Studio to add run-time licenses of other controls as well.

Note that the licenses.licx file is usually not shown in the Solution Explorer; it appears if you press the Show All Files button in the Solution Explorer's toolbox, or from Visual Studio's main menu, select Show All Files on the Project menu.

Later, when the component is created at run time, it obtains the run-time license from the appropriate assembly resource that was created at design time and can decide whether to simply accept the run-time license, to throw an exception and fail altogether, or to display some information reminding the user that the software has not been licensed.

All ComponentOne products are designed to display licensing information if the product is not licensed. None will throw licensing exceptions and prevent applications from running.


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