License and Website Changes for Visual Assist

You’ve spoken, and we’ve listened! Our recent website and license migration failed to deliver the high quality experience you deserve.

Recently, Whole Tomato migrated our website to a new backend technology and a much needed new license technology for Visual Assist. There have been some hiccups, and some of the changes to licensing resulted in delays sending licenses to customers, and concerns expressed to us. We’ve heard you. In this post we’d like to cover what changed and why for both the website and licenses, as well as what steps we are taking to address concerns.

Whole Tomato Website

We migrated the main Whole Tomato website, wholetomato.com, to the same backend used by other Idera websites. This retained all existing content and ensured our web team only needs to maintain one server stack.

During this content migration, there were a few changes. The most significant is that when you download a trial or a new build, you are asked for information about yourself: name, email, address, and so forth. For a trial, we believe this is ok – it is standard business practice to know who is trying out our software and allows us to  follow up in the future. You can opt out of all marketing communications from Whole Tomato here. Your confirmation email also includes instructions for opting out, plus our privacy policy also has a link (section 14, Unsubscribe.)

However, there is no reason to ask for licensed customers’ information again when downloading a new build of Visual Assist for which you are already validly licensed. This has been pointed out to us, sometimes quite vocally, both through support and online. We hear you. The website no longer requires customers to enter personal information to download new builds.

The new website should also be more stable and faster.

License Technology

At the same time, we also changed the technology used to generate and validate license serial numbers for Visual Assist. Once again, this is to ensure a single technology is used across multiple products. It’s also a benefit for you because this licensing technology reduces uncertainty about licensed usage and decreases over deployment compliance issues, which is something that many large customers request. No one wants to be in a situation where audits are necessary – you don’t, and we don’t.

It’s a great goal, but customers have reported two issues: delays in generating new serial numbers after purchase and concerns about individual registration data, even for large volume serial numbers.

Let’s look at the current license options available, and changes we plan to introduce in the future.

Current License Options

When you purchase a Visual Assist license, you have the following options:

  • As an individual:
    • You purchase and get a serial number. You need a user account (see below) on our website, and your serial number is registered against that account. You can use this serial number on multiple VMs, so long as the serial number is used only by the same person.
  • As a company:
    • You purchase and get a serial number, one per developer. Just as for individuals above, each serial number must be registered against a developer’s EDN account. Each developer can use it on multiple VMs.
    • You purchase a multi-user serial number. This is a single number that is valid for multiple people. Just as for normal serials, when any individual developer installs and registers Visual Assist, they will need their own user account. Each developer can use it on multiple VMs.

There are also some temporary options that you may have seen if you encountered issues: a manually generated legacy serial number using the old license system, and an eSlip file, which is a single license file shared for a team but requiring an internet connection. We’ve used these for limited cases when none of the above licenses work for a team due to technical reasons.

The licensing changes are new to us too, and we may not have clearly explained them when you purchased or contacted Support.

User Accounts

What is a user account? User accounts provide a single licensing account across all Idera-owned products. Create yours here, and then use those login credentials when registering your license.

Registering Visual Assist. Enter your serial number at the top, and use the email and password for your Idera user account below
Registering Visual Assist. Enter your serial number at the top, and use the email and password for your Idera user account below

Right now, the webpage is not ideal, and we’ve had some feedback about that too. More on what will change there below.

Licenses In The Future

The majority of issues we’ve seen have been to do with a missing use case: a team with multiple developers who either wish to not register individually or need to use the license in a disconnected environment. We believe it’s reasonable for personal or individual users to register via an account, but we understand it’s a barrier for some larger teams.

Within the next week, we are adding a new license option to address this scenario. If you are a large company with many developers, or you operate disconnected from the net, you will be able to purchase a network named user license. This is a single license shared by the whole team. Individuals can use it on multiple VMs. No internet connection is required: instead, you run a license server on your internal network, which manages all verification without contacting us.

You’ll be given this license option if you purchase Visual Assist for a team of five or more, or by request to our sales / licensing team.

Running a license server may not be ideal for some teams with strict IT requirements. If your team is unable to use this option, you can always contact our sales or license teams to discuss some other options we can make available.

This retires eSlip licenses (except through licensing support requests) and legacy serial numbers, leaving three license options:

  1. Personal use, or multiple individual developers: individual serial numbers, registered for each developer through your user account.
  2. Multiple individual developers in a small team: a multi-user serial number, registered for each developer through your user account.
  3. Multiple individual developers in a large team, or by request for small teams: a network named user license, with no registration or internet access required.

We also expect the speed of license generation to be faster at the same time we introduce this new option. Note our staff don’t work weekends, so if you order on a Friday, you may not get your serial number until Monday. Orders during the week should be next-day or sooner, and we aim to process each one within a few hours.

License support requests are also now handled by a dedicated team with experience with this license technology. That means they are familiar with the issues you may encounter and should be able to speedily resolve them. They have a dedicated email address: licenses@wholetomato.com. (You can email this directly. If you contact normal support, your email will also be forwarded to and handled by the dedicated license team.)

In addition, we are replacing the user account website, with a planned launch date in early July. This is a brand new version of the user account website, built in Ext JS, where you will be able to create an account and view all your registered products and serial numbers. It will be quite minimal, clean, fast, and should be a lot clearer to use than the current website.

Preview of the new user account website - not yet launched! - showing products, serials, subscription status, and a separate pane for quick downloads
Preview of the new user account website – not yet launched! – showing products, serials, subscription status, and a separate pane for quick downloads

Overview

In short:

  • We rolled out a new website and new license system, and neither was quite perfect
  • You will not need to enter personal information to download your licensed software
  • The license system and where and how to use your account may not have been well explained, and we hope the above makes it clearer
  • We’re introducing a new license option, Network Named User License, that works better for large teams and teams who work offline
  • If you have issues or requests, we now have a dedicated license support team: please email licenses@wholetomato.com
  • Our new user account website will have a clean UI and provide an easy site to view your products and licenses

Idera is a developer-focused company. We do listen, and we make changes if needed. We hope the above is easy to understand and use, and the changes we’re making solve your concerns.

7 thoughts on “License and Website Changes for Visual Assist

  1. Hello,

    This new licensing is still a complete nightmare.

    Wasting 3 hours of my lifetime.

    Confusing number of emails from wholetomato, IDERO, Embarcadero, several connect fails (proxy issues?)

    I don’t need more accounts and passwords, I have more than enough.

    I have paid for your great product, and I want to use it, not to deal with this extremely end-user unfriendly license system.

    Please go back to the very easy and convenient previous licensing which has always works seamless.

    Best regards

    • Hi Thomas,

      I’m sorry to hear that. This is the new licensing, as of the past week? Would you mind getting in touch with me via email please? I’d like to find out more info about each email you were sent, what was confusing, and so forth – to fix it. My email is david dot millington @embarcadero.com.

      Thankyou!

      • Hi Thomas – just want to ping here. What you write is not the experience we want you to have. Please do send me an email with more info and I can look into why, and help ensure it doesn’t happen again.

  2. I really did not like the new registration system. I have used visual assist for many years and decided I wanted to buy the newest version. Perhaps I should have renewed my old license instead, but I thought buying a new one would be easier. I was wrong. I did not expect to have to jump through so many hoops. I probably will not buy visual assist again in the future after this. Also, company name is a required field, but this license is for personal use, so I’m not sure what you want there.

    I also use visual assist at work, but there we buy the licenses in bulk. Hopefully you didn’t make that process to painful.

    • Hi Alexis,

      I’m sorry to hear that. We should have resolved most of the hoops (I’m aware of one where emails with licenses sometimes are regarded as spam, something we’re working on.) You certainly should not have been required to enter a company name. I checked just now testing a Personal license and didn’t see a prompt for company info, so we need to investigate further to figure out what happened.

      Would you email me with more details about it, please? (So we can test following your exact steps.) I can get our sales and website staff to find out what happened. Given the ‘hoops’, you could even forward the entire correspondence or anything else that occurred – we’ll look into all of it. It would be much appreciated – it would help us, to solve the issues, and I hope help you, in that it won’t happen again. My email is david dot millington @embarcadero.com.

      Thankyou!

  3. I purchased a VA personal License a week ago. My payment confirmation email says “You will receive your serial number(s) or license file in a separate email from Embarcadero Technologies”. I still haven’t been able to register your product, so I’ve uninstalled it for now.I’m confused about what I should do now. I tried emailing sales@wholetomato.com a few days ago, but still haven’t received a reply. This post seems to say that there’s a different way to get my serial number now, but I’m confused about what I need to do.

    I used your product several years ago and liked it much better than your competitor’s offerings. I’m very disappointed with this process and now just wish I had my money back. 😦

    • Hi Rick – I’m sorry to hear that. I was about to ask you mail me, when I saw the very next email in my inbox after this comment notification was from you 🙂 Please rest assured, we’ll get it resolved. My apologies for the trouble.

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