VCL subscription and v2011.1 news

13 June 2011

(UPDATE: I've published some new information about our VCL plans here. By all means read this, but realize that there's more that's not covered here.)

After some great feedback from you, our customers, and a bit of analysis on the data in our sales database, we’ve revamped our ideas on the subscription packs that we’ll be providing and have decided on upgrade pricing and the like. To recap, with the next major release of our VCL controls we’re going to move our licensing to an annual subscription basis and we’re going to be adopting the DXperience version naming convention (essentially year-dot-release, so the first one will be v2011.1).

PlannerTo be clear, by subscription we mean that, when you purchase one, you get a perpetual license to use the controls in the product, lifetime support, and the right to all updates and upgrades for a full 12 months from the time of purchase. At the end of the year you can decide whether to renew the maintenance component of the license to get all the updates/upgrades for the next 12 months. If you don’t renew immediately, be aware that the renewal price increases on a month by month pro-rata basis until it reaches the full price again.

Subscription packs

First things first: the subscription product packs. We’ve added a new one from when I last spoke about this because it fits a lot of customers’ profiles and control usage. There will now be four packages.

VCL Subscription. This is the same as we have now, for the same price ($1499.99) and annual upgrade price ($599.99). It comprises essentially everything we do for Delphi and C++Builder. This package attracts our priority support. No changes here.

ExpressQuantumPack. Although this has the same name as a pack we currently ship, it has changed in two ways. Firstly, it’s now sold on a subscription basis. Secondly, we’ve enhanced its reach. The ExpressQuantumPack is now targeted at developers who want to use the preeminent VCL grid on the market to its best advantage. It comprises the ExpressQuantumGrid and data editors, the layout manager to allow you to easily and quickly create flexible forms, the printing and exporting library so that you can publish your grid data, and the skinning library so that you can produce that cutting-edge look-and-feel your users want. The first year price is $799.99, with subsequent years costing $319.99 annually.

ExpressGridPack. This pack takes the controls in the ExpressQuantumPack as a foundation and adds the two remaining grid-like controls: the pivot grid (ExpressPivotGrid) and the tree list (ExpressQuantumTreeList). The first year price is $999.99; subsequent years are $399.99 annually.

ExpressNavigationPack. This pack is for those developers who are not necessarily creating applications that display tabular data, but that still need basic functionality like ribbons, bars, menus, and navigation controls. In other words, the infrastructure of a modern application. The pack comprises ExpressBars, ExpressNavBar, the layout manager and the skinning library. The first year price is $599.99; subsequent years are $239.99 annually.

Upgrade paths

Now for the upgrade paths. Traditionally, as you know, we’ve sold individual Suites on an upgrade basis. From v2011.1, we will no longer do so: the only way of getting the VCL controls is through purchasing one of the packs. So we considered how are we going to help and encourage people to move to this new world in the fairest manner possible.

The first point we decided on is to provide a 12 month “amnesty” period to allow you to upgrade the Suite you own to v2011.1 without having to purchase a subscription immediately. This gives you the ability to get the latest code and still have time to evaluate which pack to upgrade to and to budget for it. I will emphasize that, in 12 months’ time, the only way to get updates and upgrades is to switch to a subscription pack.

The Suites that fall under this amnesty plan are:

  • The ExpressBars Suite ($79.99/$59.99)
  • The ExpressQuantumGrid Suite ($199.99/$179.99)
  • The ExpressPivotGrid Suite ($131.99)
  • The ExpressLayout Control ($99.99)

The double prices shown are the upgrade prices with/without source for the current major version; single upgrade prices indicate the product is only available with source, again for the current major version. These upgrade prices will be offered for 60 days from the day of release of v2011.1. After that, they will no longer be available.

If you have an older version than the current major version, the upgrade prices change. For one version earlier than the current major version, the upgrade price is 70% of the current product price; for two versions old, the upgrade is 85% of the current product price. Anything older than that, there is no upgrade path.

An extra bonus is that we shall be bundling the new version of ExpressPrinting System for free if you’ve previously purchased it..

Promoting to a subscription pack

In our efforts to be fair about the costs of promoting your licenses to a subscription pack, this is where it gets complicated. We recognize that there is no “one price fits all” solution to this—and indeed such a solution will be unfair to many customers—so we’re going to have to do this on a case-by-case basis. The calculation we shall apply will be this one:

Pack priceCost of Licenses already purchased + Cost of upgrades

Or, since the cost of upgrades is pegged at 40% of the original price (except as noted above), we’ll use:

Pack price60% * Cost of Licenses already purchased

Let’s illustrate:

1. Suppose you just own a license to ExpressBars. You decide that the closest pack you can promote to is ExpressNavigationPack. The calculation we’ll do is:

$599.99 (cost of pack) – $199.99 (cost of ExpressBars as individual product) + $79.99 (upgrade cost for ExpressBars) = $479.99 

2. You want your licenses to be promoted to ExpressNavigationPack. You already own Bars, Layout, and Skins, but not NavBar. Your price will be:

$599.99 – 0.6 * ($199.99 (Bars) + $249.99 (Layout) + $199.99 (Skins)) = $210.00

If you have any questions about the cost in your particular case, our client services department will be glad to help.

Warnings – Danger, Will Robinson!

The new subscription installer will not contain any previous versions of our VCL products. The old product versions cannot be installed and used alongside with the new subscription versions. Remember that one of the overriding goals of the new subscription plans is to update everything at the same time, and to avoid the incompatibilities and support issues of running an older version of X with the latest version of Y.

A couple of examples will illustrate the problem:

1. You own ExpressQuantumGrid Suite v6 (or earlier) and ExpressBars Suite v6 (or earlier) and you want to upgrade only the grid to ExpressQuantumPack or ExpressGridPack. The ExpressBars Suite version you have will be unavailable for installation in the new subscription installer. Moreover, the new installer will remove the current ExpressBars Suite installation because it is incompatible with the new subscription version (v2011.1).

2. The same background – you own ExpressQuantumGrid Suite v6 (or earlier) and ExpressBars Suite v6 (or earlier) and you want to upgrade only the bars to ExpressNavigationPack. Likewise, the installer will remove the installed ExpressQuantumGrid Suite due to version incompatibilities.

So, you need to carefully consider your upgrade options and select the packs that include all the products you want to work with.

Timetable

The VCL team are ready to publish v2011.1; the final install is complete. The web site has been changed to reflect this new information and is being proofread and final edits are being applied. The sales system is being updated with the new pricing and promotion calculations.

We will release this week.

40 comment(s)
Johan Petersson

Finally some good news after waiting two years for getting the new ribbon layout for ExpressBars.. However, if you want people to purchase a subscription, you need to show us that you are more commited to VCL. Two years for the latest ribbon layout is toooo long. I'd be happy to upgrade to a subscription if I knew that you updated your products faster.

What about the NavBar, still in Outlook '03 style or updated to Outlook '10 in 2011.1?

Kudos to you for making solid, stable products. Your products would be perfect if you'd just be faster with new stuff.

Thanks.

13 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Johan: that's also part of the whole point. Before, we had to create a viable upgrade for a product in order to charge for it. That meant other products would suffer in that cycle. This way, we can provide updates to functionality across the board without worrying about "do we have enough to charge for an update?"

Cheers, Julian

13 June, 2011
Rodrigo Coelho

Yeah! Congratulations. Good job.

13 June, 2011
Eric Schreiber

Offering multiple subscription packs seems like a pretty reasonable route to take. It's a good compromise between serving DevEx's needs and serving the customer's needs. The full subscription price can be a bit daunting to a hobbyist or sole proprietor programmer, but with these packs, they can ease into it. That's pretty much the route I took to the full subscription, and I'm glad I did.

Recently got a job at a startup company, and three full subscriptions of both VCL and DXperience was among the first software our dev team bought.

13 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Eric: (deleted the dupe comment) Awesome news about joining a startup. We wish you luck and, remember, if you need any help with our stuff, ping me on julianb@devexpress.com.

Also, just to make clear to other readers: if you have multiple clients in your one-man shop, your single subscription license can be used for all of them. It's not like you have to buy a license for company X, and one for company Y, and one for... It's only if one of your clients goes their own way that they will have to purchase a license to maintain the code you wrote.

Cheers, Julian

13 June, 2011
Eamonn Mulvihill

I'm confused - the amnesty is for 12 months, but the amnesty price only for 60 days?  Hopefuly i've misunderstood that, can you make it clearer?

Also, deleting products i already own because i havn't got an up to date subscription for them individually is outragous - if i don't upgrade then you'll take away the products i've already paid for?  That is way beyond outrageous!  Any laywers here want to get a class action lawsuit started?

Will that continue in the future?  will we see installers deleting grid v7 because it's not compatible with our new subscription to menu v9?

14 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Eamonn: Whoa! Hold on there. You're imputing motives to us that we don't hold.

The installer removes incompatible product versions because of the following reasons:

- Old products are incompatible with the new library version because we've extended basic functionality. Components based on different library versions just cannot co-exist in one IDE. In the past we tried hard to allow for different versions of major controls to coexist, but we came to the conclusion that this is just a waste of time that could be better spent in providing new features.

- Two different components with matching names cannot be registered to one IDE. Although we could have renamed every single control for this new release to allow side-by-side installations, we decided that this would have been horrendous for the vast majority of our customers because of the sheer number of breaking changes.

In essence: the installer removes older versions to help you avoid weird compiler error messages or bizarre crashes in your applications.

If you want to use the older versions, here's some ideas:

- Install versions to different IDEs (refer to community.devexpress.com/.../100268.aspx for instructions). We've now added a new knowledgebase article showing how to have several build versions installed on one machine: http://www.devexpress.com/Support/Center/KB/ViewKBIssue.aspx?kbid=K18518

- Install one of the versions to a VM. In fact, this might be the best workflow. Use a virtual machine to compile and test a new subscription version on your applications, until you are satisfied that everything works as needed, and then you can merge it (and any changes to your code) into your main development machine.

- Re-install a corresponding build every time the other version is required. (Yuk.)

Cheers, Julian

14 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Eamonn: What we're saying with the amnesty period is that you don't have to promote your individual product licenses to a subscription for a full year. You can just upgrade your products (and there's a 60-day period for this upgrade) to the latest version v2011.1. At the end of the year, if you want to continue getting upgrades, you will have to promote to a subscription.

Note that this amnesty means you won't get v2011.2 in November (with 64-bit support). It's just a path to consider right now that helps you budget for the subscription cost.

Cheers, Julian

14 June, 2011
Richard Stevens

Upgraded to full VCL subscription for just $399 (I had a number of their products already). Bargain.

Will be buying more subscriptions later in the year (I hope) as I get some more developers working with me.

ps. Will be intrigued to see what DevExpress plan to do (if anything) with the forthcoming Embarcadero WaterRabbit / HotSquirrel / SeaKoala components...

14 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Richard. Excellent news, thanks.

Yeah, them damn codewords. SkyBadger? RiverFerret?

Cheers, Julian

14 June, 2011
Johan Petersson

I have just upgraded to a VCL subscription too. I really hope you will implement the next ribbon layout (found in the next Office/Windows versions) faster than two years after its release this time..

Looking forward to the final download package now ;)

14 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Johan: you mean the Backstage view? (http://dxpr.es/jZ4wFF) or Office vNext or Windows 8? If the latter well we'll have to see what transpires, if the former it's in v2011.1.

Cheers, Julian

14 June, 2011
Daniel Ramirez

Great News...

15 June, 2011
Aparate Masura

Thank you for the information! Great job!

15 June, 2011
vanilla610

This is horrible.

I have Grid6 and Bar6. if i wanna use both Grid and Bar, U force me to buy full VCL subscritption($1499)??

no , thanks.  

16 June, 2011
Paul Toms

Read this twice and still can't work out what I need and what it'll cost me. How about a grid in "my profile" that shows me my options and costs based upon what I've bought before ?

16 June, 2011
Eamonn Mulvihill

Hi Julian,  My previous comment may sound alarmist but i don't think its completely unjustified.

I have the quantumgrid suite, privot grid, vertical grid, sheduler, layout control, spellchecker and more.  I buy your control in preference to others.  

If i want to upgrade my pivot grid it would have cost me $132, now it will be $400! every year!

If i want to buy into expressbars it was $199, now it will be $600!  Then $249/year.

(these deliberatly ignore the current special prices)

Plus you're putting roadblocks in to stop me buying - if i want to upgrade my pivot grid - roadblock - i have to upgrade several other controls at the same time that i don't want to, and we can see from the over how much i'm paying for these unwanted products.

If i have a project that has 2 of your controls that you make incompatable - roadblock - either upgrade both, or never upgrade any of my projects or controls again.  Switching to another providers control in this situation is probably uneconomic.

These bundles aren't a compatability solution, they are just to push prices up.

To answer your question, if a product become incompatable, yes, give it a new name as you did with the cx and dx controls, and provide an upgrade wizard.

16 June, 2011
Eamonn Mulvihill

Julian:  I'm still not getting the amnesty.  you say:

"the amnesty period is that you don't have to promote your individual product licenses to a subscription for a full year. You can just upgrade your products (and there's a 60-day period for this upgrade)"

Huge contradiction there:

I dont have to upgrade for a year (i do have to upgrade within 60 days)

Can you explain what the year applies to, and what the 60 days limit applies to?

16 June, 2011
Michael Thuma

Oh just hobbled along.

Eamonn -

> After that, they will no longer be available.

This sentence is redundant or means you cannot upgrade after 60 days. The second makes no sense as 'they' seem to be the upgrade prices and not the upgrades.

The 2 formulas to upgrade is imho related

first formula) Someone is on an old version and not upgraded - Question is here - No upgrade path no upgrade price - No promotion? Logic very likely the same as full purchase, because the first purchase (initial price) already contains the software assurance.

second formula) Someone is on latest version or did the upgrade.

I did not calculate it exactly but I think this is what Julian wanted tells us by trying to avoid saying - someone who is > 2 versions back is doomed from the promotion perspective:).

Within the 12month you can do the promotion, I think.

16 June, 2011
vanilla610

NavigationPack doesn't include *Data Editors*???

Without it, How can we build consistent-skinned application???

16 June, 2011
vanilla610

NavigationPack doesn't include *Data Editors*???

Without it, How can we build consistent-skinned application???

16 June, 2011
Alex M (DevExpress)

vanilla610: NavigationPack includes data editors (ExpressEditors).

17 June, 2011
Matthias Schlegel

I would appreciate getting a final official date from DevExpress. We are almost six months from 2010’s promised roadmap date and almost a month from last beta.

I know that VCL developers’ voice nowadays does not really count, but this version has been dragging too long and it’s about time.

Matthias Schlegel

17 June, 2011
Robert Atwell

"We will release this week."

Ohhh... - this week is over. Another failed promise! Looks like we had to turn to some other Ribbon component long time ago.

I always had a high confidence in DevExpress. But now it looks like fading for Delphi. Unfortunately!

Oleg Chernavin.

19 June, 2011
Rob McDonell

I own just the ExpressQuantumTreeList, and now it's going to cost me $840 to upgrade, then $399.99 each year to update it. I don't think so.

Also, I was interested in the Scheduler controls, but to get them as well I'd be up for $1340 to upgrade, then $599.99 per year.

Sorry, your controls are great, but I just can't handle those prices.

19 June, 2011
Luiz A D R Marques

I don't mind the new subscription packs - I've had the full VCL subscription for years.

I'm somewhat bothered by the decision to remove older versions from the install.

I use an older version of QuantumTreeList because the latest version upgrade changed a lot of stuff around (event and properties names, among others), to the point of taking hours per product just to upgrade.

If you are not going to offer older versions on the new installs, it'd be nice if breaking changes were kept to a minimum...

20 June, 2011
Ilya Nenashev

I see, You whant kill Yours Delphi team

20 June, 2011
Oussama Al Rifai

Now doesn't matter what subscription package i buy, I have to pay yearly to be up-to-date. That is new for me.

I have ExpressQuantumGrid for 18 months. I read about all upgrades during this period and after reading I decided I don't need to upgrade. That was easy, because I am satisfied with what I have and I don't want anything else. But now, you force me to pay on yearly basis for some upgrades I may not need. I know you don't "Force" me but if you think about it, after 2-3 years you are asking me to repay for a product I already paid for it.

Basically, I don't see the return value of my money that is paid every year, especially, we don't really, actually, participate in your decision what is to be upgraded or fixed. Should I give example? RTL! For all queries about RTL we get the same answer: this will not be implemented and it is purely business decision. Full stop. Now for receiving the same answer, you are asking me to pay on yearly basis.

20 June, 2011
Mane

I'm a VCL subscriber for several years now and pay US$599.00 on yearly basis to keep up to date, and I believe every year I got my moneys worth through new features and what is more important... Support.

I would also like to point that by subscribing we all have better chances  of keeping this great suite of components available and supported. Our shop is so heavily invested in this component suite, that the idea to switch to another, (a cheaper one) is totally out of the question, mainly because there is nothing out there that is so complete and integrated, that starting from scratch could as well mean a total platform rebuild from zero.

If your not a subscriber and only use a few components of the VCL portafolio, I see how the new upgrade/pricing policy set by DevExpress is a though pill to swallow. However, please take into account that you also will receive a lot of new components that could be used to improved you applications and please your users/customers and possible drive some new revenue.

DISCLAIMER: I not associated in any way to Developer Express, just a happy customer.

Regards,

Mario

20 June, 2011
John Friel

Having been a successful shareware author of old (Qmodem), I just cannot get behind a yearly subscription system.  I tried keeping current with Delphi having suffered through 2005, 2006 and 2007 (all horrible releases, sans 2007 which was mostly fixed) I skipped 2009, 2010 and finally got XE because I absolutely hate paying for bug fixes (goes back to my Shareware roots I guess).  I have always been happy with the Ribbon and Grid controls I've got from you, but again I will not pay yearly for them, nor will I start over from scratch every 2-3 years if you do come out with something I just have to have.  

If customer loyalty only lasts 365 days, that is not loyalty in my book.

20 June, 2011
Lars Sondergaard

Another happy customer here. Just stick to the plan, its a good one that will enable us all to get updates/new features much more frequently.

20 June, 2011
Jeff Gill

Another very happy customer as well

We had to move our Telnet Client from the dark ages to a modern intuitive interface.

I purchased the full VCL subscription last year and renewed a week ago. Even though it was the ribbon menu I initially required I now have been able to use many of the other controls to spruce up our Linux legacy turnkey application.

We launched our new Telnet client in May with great success and have been able to acquire new business from our competitors due to the attractiveness of the interface.

I look at this way the initial hit was a leap of faith however the ongoing renewal fee represents a $50 per month investment which to me is great value.

20 June, 2011
Dave Frank

How's the build coming? Was there an unexpected showstopper that caused a hiccup? Looking forward to seeing the new mdi tab contol come out of beta!

21 June, 2011
Mark Stals

A doubtfull customer here.

I have renewed my subscription since 2004 and paid almost $5000 for it. According to MyDevexpress, I made 39 VCL related support requests. Most of them were answered very quick and to my satisfaction.

The components and the support are good. But is paying $600 per year for support and maintenance value for money? I have my doubts...

21 June, 2011
David Brennan

Generally speaking there is a relationship between what you pay and what you get. Sure the ability to pick and choose products for low costs is convenient for small developers but I can see the model makes it difficult to make constant improvements - instead changes need to be grouped into big enough chunks to be releasable as a new numbered version.

Subscriptions provide a more reliable revenue stream and also mean incremental improvements can easily be made. Fair enough if you still long for the old days but it is hard to argue against the idea that more money for DevExpress should mean more new features.

The other side of the coin is that if we don't see faster reactions and more new features on the VCL side after this then there is going to be a lot of disgruntled customers, myself included. So the onus will now be on DevExpress to deliver.

21 June, 2011
Mark Meyer

DevExpress components are probably the most important in my component portfolio and the ones that make life much easier (okay, I could say the latter about my internet components too). So I went for a subscription some years ago. At $600 a year I think it's a very fair price. Having all of them allowed to get rid of some others like an XLS-read-write component and so on.

The last year there was little value for money, though, as only a few updates were availiable, mostly fixing minor bugs. I never ran into them so I'm glad to say that bugs have never been a problem with DevExpress components to me. Thanks for that.

Maybe the big update 2011 was the reason why there was little activity in 2010. So I'm really looking forward to 2011 and - hopefully - further nice features to come!

21 June, 2011
Elias Zurschmiede

I'm another happy customer as well. Compared to other components (and i tried a lot of other vendors in the last 10 years) the quality is outstanding good and for me its ok to pay a good price for it.

greetings

Elias

21 June, 2011
Gerhard Stoltz

I have all of your VCL components, but not a subscription. Thus, I welcome the upgrade path to a full VCL subscription.

However, I understand how users feel about subscribing to more components than they want at a higher price.

Those of you who do not use the latest Embarcadero Compilers should really get into them as they are better than the golden oldies.

Having all of your projects on the latest releases makes support and makes further development so much easier.

So, you have my support on this.

21 June, 2011
Simon Craythorn

Which pack will scheduler fall into?

21 June, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

All: We've been reviewing everyone's feedback and have decided to change our plans to include product subscriptions as well. Please see my latest post here: http://dxpr.es/lQNL2G

Also, to make sure everyone has the latest information, I'm closing the comments on this post.

Cheers, Julian

21 June, 2011

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