Rogue Amoeba’s 16th birthday is coming up this Sunday, so it seems an appropriate time to take a look back into the past. Join us for a quick tour of the evolution of our in-app License window.
Our Very First License Window
When we first started shipping software in 2002, our License window was very rudimentary. This image dates Audio Hijack Pro 2’s release in 2004, but we believe it was still using our very first License window design:
As you can see, this window offered only a small “Thank you” message at the bottom. Not long after Audio Hijack Pro 2 shipped, we decided this window should have a bit more flair and style.
The First Flashy License Window
As Quentin detailed when we made our first update, our goal in jazzing up the License window was two-fold. First, we wanted to show our appreciation to our paying customers by providing a little something special when they unlocked the software. In addition, we hoped to reduce the number of folks who lost their license keys, by encouraging them to print them out for safekeeping.
To accomplish these goals, we showed paying customers an old-timey stock certificate with the user’s specific details filled in. Here’s what that original certificate looked like in 2004:
Stately, like Wayne Manor!
The above design lasted almost a decade, but the License window has since been updated several times.
A Different Certificate
After we hired our first full-time designer, Christa, we eventually got the third iteration of our License window. This started shipping in 2012:
I barely remembered this existed, but I actually quite like it.
However, this certificate lasted less than a year before it was supplanted by something quite different.
An HTML-Based Window
In mid-2013, we undertook a revamp of the entire License window to make it HTML-based. This led Christa to make an update to the window’s content as well. Here’s the least certificate-y version of our “certificate-style” window:
We also moved away from the typewriter font style at this time.
Neale’s First Design
The window looked like that until we finally undertook another update earlier this year. Our current designer Neale took over the reins from Christa back in 2015, and he’s now overhauled the window’s HTML with many small improvements to provide a better experience. While doing this, he also put his own stamp on the window’s look and feel:
We’ve started trending back towards a certificate.
The above design shipped briefly, before we decided to make a larger change.
License Window Number Six!
These days, we really don’t expect anyone at all to be printing out this certificate. Printers are less and less common, and we long ago developed an automated tool enabling customers to recover lost license keys. As a result, showing the actual license code in the window was of minimal usefulness, and we decided to remove it from display entirely:
We also added a fun gold foil seal.
This is the current iteration of our License window, and we think it looks pretty great. However, there’s something you can’t see in a static image. When the software is unlocked, we now show a delightful animation! Click below to have a look:
Digital confetti is by far the best confetti, because you don’t have to clean it up.
See for Yourself
You can experience this extremely brief party yourself, by purchasing any of our great audio tools, then entering your license key to unlock it. We hope you enjoy!
If you’re a loyal user who’s already unlocked our software, don’t worry. You too can join in the fun, thanks to this one weird trick. Just follow these steps to trigger an internal testing function which will let you re-unlock the software.
2. Open the application, but make sure the License window is not open.
3. Hold down the option key as you select “License…” from the application’s main menu.
Now, the License window should look like this, with your key already waiting to be submitted.
Just click “Unlock” and your personal party will begin, then rapidly end. Whee!
That’s All for Now
This is just one way we show our appreciation for your purchase, and it’s a good source of fun for our designers as well. We hope you enjoy this little touch!