Whew, I went down a rabbit hole with this one! At some point I decided to share time-limited trial versions of plugins with potential customers. Ioncube is a PHP obfuscation/encryption drop in library that’s been around for a long time. It’s been useful to some people and really annoying to other people. Hey though — sometimes code just isn’t free. I thought I’d give it a try using Ioncube as a way to “protect my code.*”
I sell my plugins using Easy Digital Downloads as a seller platform. I find them to be somewhat more suited to digital product sales than WordPress, though sometimes I’m concerned with the direction the new ownership has taken the product. Oh well, it works well enough, and I’m really familiar with it at this point. In fact, I’ve written several plugins for Easy Digital Downloads, including EDDiMark, EDDiStamper PDF, EDD + Wave, and the plugin I’m talking about here: Lion Cub. (If you’re wondering why it’s called that, “Lion Cub” was just a cute and pleasant name I came up with while tossing Ioncube around in my head.) Lion Cub is a simple but pretty well fleshed-out plugin for WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads which allows you to set up automatic Ioncube license creations on-the-fly with Easy Digital Download customer download purchases. Each purchase item can have a license key automatically added to its plugin package/folder on download request, such that the task for the customer to open your plugin with that license is easy/minimal. If you use Ioncube and have thought about protecting your plugins using the Ioncube software, then Lion Cub would make that much simpler for you. The plugin is free.
Learn more about the Lion Cub plugin at Github.
* Looking back, I’m not sure what I was thinking at that time. There are a lot of reasons why shipping obfuscated code is pointless, including the fact that codebases change so often and most of WordPress world is GPL licensed anyway. Thank goodness we are free to change our minds! At this time, I’m not sharing trial versions but I’m not not sharing trial versions.