In this article you're going to learn the easiest way to switch from your current licensing / online activation / or dongle solution to LimeLM, TurboActivate, & TurboFloat. The method we describe will have the least amount of friction for your customers and your developers.
The first thing you need to do is signup for LimeLM. You should also read the "Getting started with LimeLM" article to learn the basics of the LimeLM dashboard and how to add TurboActivate to your app.
The first step when gracefully transitioning to LimeLM is to import your old data into LimeLM. What this does is import all of your old license data and associates the data with newly generated product keys. This takes a few steps, but all of them are easy.
If you haven't already exported your old licensing data to the CSV (comma delimited) format, then you should do that now. The process of exporting your old licensing data to CSV differs from product to product. If you store your data in a database, then there are a number of tools that can help you export the data into the CSV file format.
If you're storing your data in a program like Microsoft Excel, then exporting your data into the CSV format is as simple as clicking "File" and then "Save file As...". You'll be shown a "Save dialog" where you can choose the "CSV format" from a dropdown list:
Then simply save the file to wherever you want.
In LimeLM we have "custom license fields" which can be used for many things. For example you can use the custom license fields to store meta-data like the name, company, and VAT tax-id for the purchaser. You can also use the custom license fields to limit certain customer's access to your app (for example, enabling certain modules, time limiting parts of your app, etc.). Read more about custom license fields here.
In this example, we're going to import some data into custom license fields: "First name", "Last name", "update_expires", and "old product key". If you haven't already created a product in LimeLM then do that first. Then click the "Custom license fields" link on the sidebar:
Then it's simply a matter of creating a license field for everything you'll be importing. Also, set the datatype for the custom license fields. In this example we're importing "First name", "Last name", and "old product key" which will all be string types. We're also importing "update_expires" which will be the Date / Time type.
Of course when you import your data you can choose the datatype the best matches the data you're trying to import.
After creating your product in LimeLM, click the "Import product keys" link on the sidebar:
Then, in your favorite text editor open the CSV file you saved earlier. For example, in Notepad on Windows, click File -> Open..., select "All Files (*.*)", then select the *.csv file you saved. Then make sure your text editor's "word wrap" setting is turned off so you'll be able to select and copy the first line of the file.
In Notepad you can do it by going to the "Format" and clicking "Word wrap" so that it becomes unchecked. Then select and copy the first line of the file:
Go back to the LimeLM importer page and paste that line into the first textbox on the page:
Then, click the "Choose File" button and find the file on your computer. And if the first line of the CSV file is a "header row" (that is, not actual data) then make sure the "Skip the first line of the CSV file" checkbox is checked. Otherwise, if the first line in the file is actual data you want to import, then uncheck that checkbox.
Now simply select which rows you want to import to the custom license fields:
After that, it's simply a matter of clicking the "Import product keys" button to generate the new keys that will have your old data associated with them.
On the next update of your app, the version that will have TurboActivate integrated, have a bit of code that detects if they're using an old license. If the code detects the old license then automatically query your servers to get the new license for that customer. This way your old customers won't even notice the license switchover.
There are many ways you can implement that actual script to retrieve the new product key, but the gist of it is this: you pass the old product key to a script on your website and the script looks up the new key (from your own DB or using some LimeLM API) and passes the new key back to your program.
After you've integrated TurboActivate and TurboFloat into your products, and you've released the new versions of your app, the last step is to email your old customers their new product key. You can do this a few ways. One way is to export the product keys from LimeLM into your preferred format (CSV or XML) and use your favorite mailing app to send personalized emails to the customers.
Another way is to use the LimeLM web API (like limelm.pkey.advancedSearch) and programmatically send the customers their new product key.
If you need further advice about switching from your current licensing solution to LimeLM we'll be glad to help you make the transition. You can either talk to use on our support forum (no registration is needed) or you can contact us by other means.