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Neobook Plugin Development

Questions related to the distribution, marketing and selling of applications created with NeoBook. (Formally titled: "Making Money with NeoBook")

Moderators: Neosoft Support, Wrangler

Would you like to see NeoSoft develop more plugins?

Most definitely
40
98%
I don't care
1
2%
 
Total votes : 41

Neobook Plugin Development

Postby Wrangler » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:27 pm

I've started this topic in the hopes that I can draw other Neobook users into a discussion about developing commercial plugins for NB. I think most of us know what the problems are with the current situation. Lack of proper documentation, lack of support, or just plain ripped off.

Current Neobooks users: Provide some input on what you think about making quality and supported plugins available at a reasonable cost. Post any suggestions on how we could make it work.

Plugin Developers: Give some input on how flexible you would be in working with NeoSoft on future plugin development. Maybe try to hash out some agreement or terms under which this could work. Post your ideas here.

Of course, NeoSoft's input is most important here. Dave's got the ball, so we need to be nice to him. :)

Please don't post your complaints or plugin desires here. Instead lets try to pick each others brains to come up with a solution that will benefit all.
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Ideas

Postby Wrangler » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:45 pm

How about if plugin developers who have abandoned their plugins make the source code and components available to NeoSoft? They could work out a deal on a case per case basis. If you qualify, send NeoSoft an email. Maybe even just selling Neosoft the components needed in the plug in an attempt to recoup some of their investment.

How about if current plugin developers team up with NeoSoft to develop plugs? Again, the details would have to be worked out between the developer and NeoSoft. I can't see Dave going out and hiring a "team" of developers any time soon. In the construction industry, I "subcontracted" a lot of work, like installing carpet, roofing etc. Maybe that would work here. The developers could be compensated in commissions on sales, or paid outright for their development. Then NeoSoft could package it, distribute it, and support it.

Any responses?
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Backing Neosoft into a corner

Postby rcohen » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:34 pm

Ok now, let's grab Dave by his ankles and shake those plugins outta his pockets!! <Jiggle Jiggle Jiggle>

:twisted:

I agree with most of this except... not too sure about getting into buying other developers "headaches". To start with, no telling what mess you'll find under the hood... it's sometimes cheaper (in time) to code from scratch. Then there is the whole licensing issue... what's transferable, what isn't, etc., but of course that is surmountable with the purchase of a new license, if it's in line with the expected profits.

The problem with development of plugins and the prices to be charged for each, is a dev never knows if it's gonna be worth the effort til it's too late. This is why, no doubt, that certain developers liked to charge in advance for their work. :roll:

I think what would go a long way is to list possible plugins in a forum area that is strictly for this purpose. Let's discuss in THIS thread what plugins should be listed there and let the moderator create one thread for each (only mods should be able to start threads in the area we set up for this). Then, users of this forum can post their OBLIGATION to purchasing said plugin when it comes out. As part of the original posting, the mod (at the guidance of Neosoft) should post an approximate hour amount for development in an attempt to establish a minimum sale requirement necessary for any development to ensue, and in this way we can see in real time what the cost per obligated party would be. And when the profits / effort ratio becomes attractive enough, it can be added to the production table. We know that development is based on roughly $75/hour plus the cost of components. For this to work we'd really need to be sure that those who post an obligatory statement actually purchase when it comes time.

So, now we have a list of potential plugin projects and a list of OBLIGATED purchasers for each. With this, Neosoft would have a chance at figuring which projects would be lucrative enough to proceed with and which ones wouldn't be.

Does this sound logical ?

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Postby HPW » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:35 am

It is easy to vote for 'Most definitely' but we all have to face the fact that programming resource are limited at neosoft.

We wish more powerfull plugins, but we also want to get the core-development to the next level.
Do we want to wait longer for a V6 with potential feature like unicode-support and all the other tons of wonderfull wishes from the fabulous wishlist?

So Dave has to make his decisions about the amount and priority of his projects which he can make and support seriously.

The other questions is akways the same: Is the potential neobook plugin market atractiv to serious developers?

I am not sure about the answer, but over time we saw developers come and go. So why?

Once I asked our friend at http://www.billeniumsoft.com/ about doing his great transition-plugin.
As far as I know he is still not fully satisfied with the sales.

As someone who knows the wonderfull plugin-interface quite a bit, I would be not sure what to do when I would come into a situation to decide to set up a neobook-plugin business. Would such a business generate an income to pay the bills? Very difficult question.

I fear doing apps for the iphone/ipod/ipad, web apps or .NET-software seems more attractiv to developers today.
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Postby domino » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:37 am

Neobook's greatest asset is also it's biggest 'problem.' - By this I mean it's remarkable versatility!

I can`t speak for anyone else of course, but the significant development of the multimedia functionality is of little interest to me, whereas anything that extends file management & Web related functionality is.

Notwithstanding the suberb work of the independent devlopers I feel for example that the core FTP functionality is long overdue.

It just so happens that these are my current and forseeable wishes, but who knows what they will be this time next year! - and herein lies the problem. - You can't please all of the people all of the time!

For instance I could add something to the wish list one day and possibly not care less about it 4 months later should my work focus change.

NeoBook and the community have been very good to me, and a very sizeable chunk of my annual income has been generated through it for some years now. - It is for this reason that I don`t mind paying for upgrades and increased functionality.

Given that a handful of my applications are 'mission critical' to their users I worry a lot about unsupported third party plugins and given the choice would much rather stick with 'official' NB plugins.

It's important to me that my comments are not seen as any lack of appreciation for the work of the third party developers. I buy and use their plugins. - But recognise that events can intervene and time/financial pressures will often mean their support and development will get sidelined.

Alberto for example has a great instinct for creating great 'must have' plugins, but my guess is that he just doesn`t have the time to 'support' them to the required degree.

Re reading this I get the feeling I probably haven`t advanced the debate much except to say I'm happy to pay the going rate for routine NB updates and other functionality that I need.

Cheers
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Neobook - our secret weapon - Plug-ins and development

Postby RickOShay » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:04 am

I wonder just how big the Neobook user base really is. There are a lot of issues involved in this discussion - some right on the edge - such as the piracy issue.

There are a lot of old hacked virus infested versions out there - so firstly and tangentially I'm all for Neobook bringing in some online validation system to cut down on piracy. It's the current preferred method. Secondly and in my opinion Neobook has always had this 'secret weapon' monicker attached to it due to its simplicty of use.

Imo - Neobook developers generally don't want their clients to know what they used to develop the application - I think for a number of reasons - firstly there is the incorrect perception that an application made with Neobook is by default not that powerful. I think this originates from either lack of knowledge / historical perception and perhaps the name itself - Neobook - it has inherent linearity and simplicity built into its core.

So maybe (if you'll pardon my suggestion) there needs to be a sub branding for Neobook - the lite version (Neobook) and say a developer version (Neobook RAD) version which is for more advanced development. Plug-ins should be able to work with both versions.

If the NeoRad version is regarded as a more advanced or hardcore RAD/RAP tool, then developers will be more than happy to promote the tool since there is associated higher credibility with its use. The ease of use / ease of entry issue is a double edged sword.

We all want ease of use given its obvious benefits but we don't want the associated lack of credibility of using a tool that is believed to be less powerful and presumably less capable. Hence Neosoft gets little benefit from applications produced with its tool since developers don't want their clients to know what they used. (its our secret weapon !)

As far as plugins are concerned I think I am not alone in saying that I struggle with plug-ins generally due to issues mentioned earlier in this thread - such as poor documentation, support, limited feature set - bugs, total cost of ownership etc. Don't get me wrong many of the plug-in developers I have dealt with are very professional and helpful and a credit to Neosoft.

The cost of ownership issue is fairly important and Neobook wins this race with ease. Take a new user - he wants to buy Neobook. Lets say he also needs 2 or 3 plug-ins to complete his project - the initial purchase price could easily rise to over $400 - this is a very reasonable investment given the alternative products out there such as :
    Adobe Authorware $2999
    Toolbook 10 $2795
    Adobe Macromedia Director $999
    Illuminatus Opus Pro $594
    PowerPoint $229

To even include Powerpoint in the list is to do injustice to Neobook's capabilities imo.

So my personal point of view would be to have a more powerful version - say the Neobook Dev version with integrated database and more powerful multimedia etc. capabilities under the hood. And then a lighter version (albeit very powerful) called Neobook - the name is retained across both products.

Both products need to use online security validation each time Neobook is started to stop lost sales to piracy.

With increased revenues Neosoft can then work more closely with the plug-in developers to ensure standards are adhered to regarding documentation, support, and features set etc.
So we all benefit in the long run.
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Postby smartmedia » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:50 am

Hi..

In my opinion there isn't any reason Neosoft to create 2 version of the NB. Perhaps when you first hear that, you say, this is a nice move, but if we see from Dev point of view this is a disaster. You must work the same time in two projects, more time to explain why in this version this works and in the other don't. And a couple of hundreds more problems. This way to produce a product like NB is nice if you have 10 or 20 programmers behind and working. If you are just 1 person is very difficult.

Piracy it was always an issue. I don't think that there is a person who didn't use ever a not legit software. In the first days i use NB i use a crack but after understand how important this tool was for me and i bought it. I was registered member of TSRh group and i even stop the release of NB 5.6.4 crack just by talking to the guy he develop the crack because i explain him that this Software needs support.

In my opinion a nice way to prevent cracking is to have more often versions release of the product. Is not 100% that a group or a good cracker he will involve with you, but you can low the possibilities of being cracked. Also online validation is a litle bit pain in the ass. You mention that every time you open the NB, NB will validate with Internet. Let say that i don't have Internet or i am in a village or my provider has problem today.. That means that i am not be able to work with NB...???

If i was Dave, i would hire 1 or 2 programmers to create some basic and needed functions and wipe the LIST in order to make NB more attractive to professional programmers.
I think that NB is not used from professionals because he doesn't have those futures. Till those futures are added i don't think that will be any dramatic increase of people the buying it or use it for strictly professional purpose.
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Postby eddy current » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:53 am

From Rick >> The cost of ownership issue is fairly important and Neobook wins this race with ease.

I agree Rick -- there is no other tool that offers such value for its price. However, in looking at your list of competitive products, I am reminded of some of the features that are missing from Neobook's core. For example:

    - plethora of drag-and-drop templates, widgets, sprites,... whatever you want to call them seen in other programs
    - strong acceptance and integration of Flash-based media and controls (although PFlash is an excellent plugin option)
    - ability to integrate and tap into excellent ActiveX and .NET components (ie., for calendaring, charting, and UI controls)
    - focus on industry-specific uses - for example, Toolbook's e-learning focus for developing Web-delivered, SCORM-compliant testing


Although I am one of those users who purchases "any" plug-in that Dave creates <grin>, I am of two minds. First, I would like to see Dave's effort channeled into building up the core product. Second, I would like to see additional functionality added via plug-ins between major Neobook releases.

As an aside, I have hesitated to select Neobook for some current projects due to its limited options for Web-delivery and distribution. Instead, I have chosen to author in PowerPoint and convert to Flash for delivery -- the technology in this area has improved tremendously. As for Neobook's future, I believe that a key strategic decision will have to be made regarding support for either Flash or HTML5. But that's just my opinion.

Sorry to take this off-topic somewhat. -- Glen
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Postby Neosoft Support » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:32 pm

This is a very interesting topic. I'm sorry, I haven't had time to give it attention it deserves.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is a single answer to all of the questions posed here. What it comes down to is time and resources - both of which are always in short supply here. In assuming responsibility for a neglected or abandoned plug-in, the most important requirement would be that it not adversely impact either time or resources. If the plug-in requires too much work to bring it in line with the quality of our other products; or if it requires too much technical support; or if it doesn't have wide appeal - then the impact would be negative. If the plug-in is already high quality, requires little technical support and enough customers are willing to pay for it, then the impact would be positive.

My guess is that a small number of plug-ins would meet this requirement, any many would not. (This doesn't mean that a plug-in isn't still useful.) Of course, we don't want to divert time and resources away from other projects that might have greater interest and a more positive impact on the community. So we can consider a few truly important plug-ins if they meet the time and resource requirement.

Our goal is to make 2010 a year of action! We may not succeed at everything that's planned for this year, but we'll do our best.
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Postby cp4w » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:46 am

I know I am a little eight to get in on the discussion I have a few relevant points.

First of all wouldn't it make sense that if NeoBook concentrates on plug-in development it would be something that would allow us to use and leverage other programming resources.

What I mean is that just like the ODBC plug-in allowed us to use multiple types of databases which was a great thing so to the type of plug-in that would really be useful to something that would give us access to all the ActiveX and other components that currently are out there in the computer world.

I know that this might not be such a simple thing and I know that there are other plug-in developed for this purpose but I've tried them and they fall short both in functionality and in support.


To me the two most important area for the development would be

1. something that allows us to use currently available computer components namely ActiveX

2. More robust Flash Support
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Postby UltraVox » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:07 pm

shx,

I agree with what you write.

Currently, the use of ActiveX is almost impossible, even using MatHostActiveX.

To create a advanced audio vu-meter, I am forced to draw on the expertise of a professional (vb-audio.com). Because almost no ActiveX not working properly with NeoBook.

This to me is more expensive than buying a plugin. You can be sure :(

I regret that NeoBook knows almost nothing to do with audio.

For me, it's a big waste of time and money. I would rather give the money to Neosoft, or a developer plugin for NeoBook.

I look forward to an major update of NeoBookDX...

Ciao.
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Postby eddy current » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:22 pm

Hi Stephen (SHX) -- Great summary!
-------------
To me the two most important area for the development would be:

1. Something that allows us to use currently available computer components namely ActiveX

2. More robust Flash Support
--------------
+1 for me
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Postby cp4w » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:10 am

Just to fill in some details of what happened to me.

- I purchased the matactivex plug-in because I needed some functionality not supported by Neobook.

- I put time researching and testing an activex with the matactivex that delivers this functionality.

- After I was satisfied, I purchased that activeX ( paying more than I have for any Neobook plug-in).

- While the demo version worked, the actual purchased activex would not with the matactivex plug-in. (this was due to how the plug-in implemented it's security mechanism to prevent illegal distribution)


What is the results of all this

- wasted time

- wasted money

- still missing the wanted functionality

- much frustration

Somehow I hope that Neobook would overcome this wall and allow one to take advantage of available components and technology.
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Postby Neosoft Support » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:45 am

ActiveX support is definitely on the list of things to include in the future.
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The other end of the equation

Postby dpayer » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:09 am

I will tag on this old post (that I just read for the first time!) with an idea.

Everyone wants more options with NB.

Developers want to develop but do not see real money making prospects because the user base is low. NB needs more paying users.

Here is how I think the userbase can be expanded:
Reintroduce the old Apple Macintosh Marketing method toward students (who later become product advocates):

Supply a version of NB to schools along with a curriculum on "Introduction to the logics of computer programming".

This version of NB could have limits (no ability to add plug ins; a persistent nag screen on all compilled programs -: 'made with student edition provided to the XYZ school; [or possibly no compilation function at all]. This student version could expire on an annual basis and teachers would need to request a new version annually). I can think of many creative ways to 'cripple' but retain interest by the user.

As part of the marketing method, show case the programs made by students and provide a special section of this forum (or one similar to it - possibly a separate site for this version) for students to converse with one another.

Award recognition to especially talented teachers and students who expand the curriculum or exemplify new possibilities for the use of NB.

For those who graduate from such a class, offer a discounted Student Version that has full capability.

This would / could be targeted to high schools and community colleges throughout the country as a means to learn 'concepts' of computer programming. I am sure many people will go on to use other languages but NB is simply one of the best at providing an environment to learn concepts of

Variables
Strings
Loops
SubRoutines
Interacting with other script languages and presenting the result visually
compiling into a executable
and more . . . . !

The lessons learned here are very applicable to other languages. I have come to understand JavaScript and VBScript because of what I learned from NB script!

With the right preparation, this could all be done with an online marketing concept and advocated along side the current efforts of government/ industry to raise up the math/science / tech awareness of students.

I have a million ideas on this one. What do you think?

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