When I spend money on some book on software development, I almost always think I made the investment of my life. The knowledge within some of these books couldn't be priced. And yet it comes at a low $50. Then I think about direct development tools (some full-featured IDE or some awesome tool I'm drolling at). Very few things -- in the computer field -- give me more pleasure than acquiring a licensed copy of some well-deserving software.
And then I get into the disarrayed world of component development companies, and I immediately lose my boner. Confusing versioning choices, restrictive updates, overly expensive products, incomplete or downright wrong documentation, and shoddy business strategies pretty much, at least to me, define this bunch.
Take a look at Stimulsoft for instance. No complete solution. If you need to generate reports for both Windows.Forms and WPF you have to buy 2 full products. If you need to add ASP.Net, make it 3. Or check out the many companies forcing you into annual subscriptions of their software. If after one year you want to keep upgrading it, cough up some money ans shut up.
But nothing I've seen in all these years (since VB days and the horrid component companies that accompanied it) was like today. I'm going to withhold any names despite my urge to not do so. But there's enough hints for the curious...
This is the email I received from them today after I was forced to ask them for a quote to their component (which doesn't have a price tag on their website):
Excuse me!?Dear Mario,
Thank you for your inquiry.
Let me introduce myself. My name is O. S. and I am the Marketing Director of E. Corp.
To support small businesses in their growth, E. Corp has developed special licensing schema. Private Business License allows companies and sole entrepreneurs to get significant advantages from an initial stage of product development.
Mario, would you tell me more about application you are working on?
This was my reply.
I don't see how is this any relevant for a quote on your product. Care to elaborate on the reasons of such inquiry?
I develop applications on any matter I have a need or see a desire for. I was referenced to your website after expressing a desire for a unified data repository with fast file retrieval and encrypting capabilities. [...] This is particularly important for my current project which needs to manage a large data tree structure, which could otherwise be reduced to one single file "emulating" a file system.
I apologize but I don't have a desire to speak with you about my current project or any other project for that matter. If by any chance, the nature of my work influences the quote (in other words if you don't have a fixed price for all cases), I immediately cease to be interested in your product and will look elsewhere for similar solutions.