The project I have been working on and seeking advice on from this forum for over a year is approaching it's final steps. All that really remains is arranging the controls on the forms into a layout that is both functional and "pretty" (and getting a nice bottle of champagne of course).

Once that step is done I'll need to test my application, preferably with those who know a little about the goals of it and can provide constructive feedback.

My question is 3 fold:

1) How can I find such beta testers? (preferably for free)
2) Before providing copies of the solution to the testers, are there any suggestions on how to protect all of my hard work besides obfuscating the code, which only protects me from hackers/programmers (and even then only marginally).
3) What kind of protections should I have in place to prevent the concept and goals of my solution from falling into the hands of my future competitors? And what, if any, liability for data loss, hardware failure etc...would not be covered with a standard EULA that the testers would agree to?

I know #3 is kind of a legal question and trust me I plan on consulting with counsel first, but would prefer to get some feedback from those who might know before spending $250/hr for someone to stare at me and say "ummm...I can turn my computer on and off? I can show you if you want?"

Add a feedback control in your program that uses e-mail. And for beta testers, you could start with your friends and family. Its up to you how you will design the feed back control.

Not a bad idea. Only problem is that my friends/family might be reserved, or bias when providing feedback to me.

The project I have been working on and seeking advice on from this forum for over a year is approaching it's final steps. All that really remains is arranging the controls on the forms into a layout that is both functional and "pretty" (and getting a nice bottle of champagne of course).

Once that step is done I'll need to test my application, preferably with those who know a little about the goals of it and can provide constructive feedback.

My question is 3 fold:

1) How can I find such beta testers? (preferably for free)
2) Before providing copies of the solution to the testers, are there any suggestions on how to protect all of my hard work besides obfuscating the code, which only protects me from hackers/programmers (and even then only marginally).
3) What kind of protections should I have in place to prevent the concept and goals of my solution from falling into the hands of my future competitors? And what, if any, liability for data loss, hardware failure etc...would not be covered with a standard EULA that the testers would agree to?

I know #3 is kind of a legal question and trust me I plan on consulting with counsel first, but would prefer to get some feedback from those who might know before spending $250/hr for someone to stare at me and say "ummm...I can turn my computer on and off? I can show you if you want?"

Well this might be too novel of an idea (lol), but assume that you know everything about Every single one of your testers, like where they live and their phone number, computer IP address, etc.

Then you can claim you're giving them "marked" beta testing copies so they won't redistribute them, or if they do and your "marking" wasn't easy to circumvent at least you can punish the jackhole that gave it away.

Can't you program functionality to make the application work for a trial period of time (15 or 30 days for example) and then after the trial expires disable the program and pop up a message saying "Trial period expired" whenever the user tries to open it again.

While I am of course concerned with people ripping off the product and I appreciate the suggestions on piracy protection, I'm more concerned with:

1) finding testers that are relevant.
2) protecting myself if my application crashes and the tester insists that damage was caused by my application.
3) getting usable feedback from the testers in a easy and effective way.

I know that people will try to rip things off, it's the name of the game these days. The internet is chock full of pirated software, and no matter how big or small your company is or how popular or unpopular your software is, people will steal it. There's really nothing I can do about that. As soon as I come up with a way to protect my application from it, someone will break it. It's an endless cycle. Even Bill Gates, when asked what he thought about all the people pirating Windows, he said "well at least they are stealing my software and not someone elses!"

While I am of course concerned with people ripping off the product and I appreciate the suggestions on piracy protection, I'm more concerned with:

1) finding testers that are relevant.
2) protecting myself if my application crashes and the tester insists that damage was caused by my application.
3) getting usable feedback from the testers in a easy and effective way.

I know that people will try to rip things off, it's the name of the game these days. The internet is chock full of pirated software, and no matter how big or small your company is or how popular or unpopular your software is, people will steal it. There's really nothing I can do about that. As soon as I come up with a way to protect my application from it, someone will break it. It's an endless cycle. Even Bill Gates, when asked what he thought about all the people pirating Windows, he said "well at least they are stealing my software and not someone elses!"

I'm not sure I agree that software piracy protection is futile, if that's what you mean.
I honestly believe that I can prevent every jackhole in the entire world from cracking my software and putting it on bit-torrent.

Maybe I should go into that field of work, lol.

As far as useful testers go, you can always hire some freelancers to give their opinion but I'm sure that is an expensive route and you are far better off just trying to motivate people to want to test the software. Anything wrong with an advertisement asking if someone wants to beta test your app?

No that's not what I mean. It's a good idea to protect your projects the best you can.

I think I might just ask people to test it like you said and see what the outcome is.

If you really want to have it tested by unknowns, setting up a Non Disclosure Agreement is your only defense I guess.

This article has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.