XOJO web app source help


So I hired a developer to make a web app for me, and once he was finished he refused to give me the source. I have the compiled version on my server, but no way to see the source behind it. What should I do? Is there any way to get the source from what I currently have? I’m in desperate need of help.

Thanks for any help in advance!

  • Derek

This is what contracts are for. What you agreed to in writing largely determines your options. At this point you probably want to take this off the board and talk to your attorney.

He’s in a different country, there isn’t much I can do.

Next time you transact with a contractor, and that is valid for house repair as well as software, make sure to inspect what is delivered before paying. That will give you more leverage.

And, although sometimes having software developed on the other side of the earth looks like an excellent deal, beyond cultural differences and/or language, you just bumped into one of those thorny issues : legal recourses are often complex and limited.

Sometimes, it is better to deal with a well established contractor close to home. Even if he is more expensive.

At this time, technically there is nothing really you can do to get the source out of what is installed on your server. Unless the developer absolutely won’t relinquish the code, sometimes negotiating a ransom is the only possibility. Or start from scratch and having another contractor, a honest local one with a contract and ethics, and a clear understanding that you require the source that will remain your property, rewrite the app.

There are several very good programmers in this forum that can do that for you.

App+Source is usually much more expensive than the app alone. Did you request source up front and was it included in the price?

As Tim and others already mentioned it is a matter of contracts and agreements. Usally all rights on sources remains at developer’s side. He is the creator and writer, you just get a license to use the software. Compare this with photos or images where all rights remains at photographer’s side.

When I am dealing with customers I let them always decide what kind of agreement they want. There are endless possibilities how this can be done: Sources+Software, Software Escrow, just binaries, or binaries together with a maintanance & update service plan. As developer I am always in favour of the last one because - in my opinion - this is the best way for long-lasting customer relationships (… and of course your income is more reliabale than jumping from project to project).

Hm…when I’m writing custom software for a client they always get the source code. The bits that are common to all projects (common classes, BKS specific items like Shorts, Calendar, etc) they get a non-exclusive license that that allows them to modify and even transfer to another company but they can’t claim that it’s ‘theirs’.

Well I believe, many customers do not really care about the sources,. They just want to know that there is somebody, who can fix or modifiy something. But that’s just my experience, this may be different elsewhere.

@Derek: May I ask why you wanted the source code?

True. I have plenty of customers that have never asked for the source code though it’s written plainly in the contract that they can have it. All they care about is having a working product. However, that means that they trust me to keep reliable backups and hope I never get hit by a bus. :slight_smile:

Well ; we all know the code source without the competent programer to go with it is usually worthless. Whereas a good and responsive contractor, even without the source code, is paramount for peace of mind.

Several times I have had to reproduce an app, function for function and keystroke for keystroke, without access to the source. The result is usually better than the original anyway.

Two things here Derek, One should never start a sentence with ‘So’. The second is why would he refuse to give you the source code? Did he write un-decipherable spaghetti code? Did he write code that did not justify the price and doesn’t want you to 'look under the hood?