When Does Visual Micro Free Version Show Prompt to Purchase?

draft: User @SiteDeveoper in the Visual Studio Gallery made the following comment in a 1 Star Review so I thought it would help to explain how the Visual Micro prompt to purchase works for users of the free versions of the extension.

Thank hevans that this review is not the norm or I would be asking myself what the hell I have been doing for the past 6 years :)

     by Site Developer | at 12:23 AM Respond

Not super useful, and the damn pop-ups constantly pestering me to purchase the full version are incredibly annoying.

Visual Micro's Response ...

Sorry to hear that. The popup in the free version should appear once every 45 days unless you try to use pro features.

You will see in the documentation the program is quite large with many features. It takes a lot of time to create and support people and it is really difficult to know what line to walk in terms of asking for help/reviews and/or to buy if you can afford it. Feedback is always welcome in the forum and is often actioned.

If you do not update to the latest free version within 12 months of install a bug in older releases shows the popup each time VS starts until you apply the suggested update. That was annoying but fixed months ago. Forcing an upgrade for free users keeps support to a minimum. The current release stops working for free users until they install the latest free release which avoids the nag screen.

Every few months a major new stable release is published and at that time a single prompt will appear once to notify users when the software starts. If ignored another prompt will not appear until the next major release is published. This isn't a nag screen just the auto update service which can be disabled by following the education-teachers mass-roll-out (automated seamless install) guide.

The only other times a nag screen appears is if you try to use advanced features that are shown in the features comparison as non-free. There really aren't that many things that are not free but maybe you have found a feature that you think should be in the free software? 

In some cases advanced oaid features are provided for free after the user clicks cancel on the prompt to buy or review. In other cases the popup does not allow the feature to work unless a purchase is made. 

To be clear, ALL FEATURES REQUIRED TO PROGRAM AND USE ALL Arduino COMPATIBLE HARDWARE ARE FREE. Therefore most of what I do in terms of creating the software and running the forum I do in my spare time for free. 

I try to prompt for reviews and purchase as little as possible hopefully providing a professional IDE along with reliable and professional support/backup for free. The amount of prompting and number of features reserved for paid users is decided not on how much profit is required but simply to try to justify the time that I don't get to spend with my family. 

As I am sure you can imagine, most people take for free but fortunately quite a few have been good enough to make the effort to leave a great review. This really helps, ensures the product stays high in he gallery rankings but more importantly reminds me that I invest my time for good reason.

It's not so easy to justify when users leave a one star review for something that costs less than the hour my dog gets walked each day but I understand that if you have minor Arduino usage requirements you don't need to see any popups. That is easily solved by disabling the extension in Tools>Extensions and Update until you want to use it. then you only get prompted every 45 days if you start the extension. If this is something that would be useful (to make a single click enable/disable) then please request the change in the forum and it will be implemented.

With the free version you should have at least the folling features without prompt other than the 45 day prompt:-

full intellisense

F12 go to project, arduino core or library source

Drill down into .ino, .cpp.c/.h source from compiler errors

Fast build system

Automatic library discovery

Micro explorer with examples, board installer, library installer

Recently used boards list

Support for cross platform hardware and tools

Recent projects

Linked shared sources from other projects

Upload via usb or hardware programmer

Multiple serial windows with optional control over DTR/CTS/Auto-Reconnect/Port Echo

All Serial Monitors and tool windows remember dock state and windows positions per port.

Support for multiple open projects each with different board and port selection

Optionally develop and debug C#, IoS, Android Apps alongside Arduino code.

Store shortcuts and other reference material in in the solution alongside but isolated from the project sources.

Support all previous and current versions of the Arduino Ide, hardware and library formats. (With the Arduino IDE users have to install a complete IDE for each version that is required because it is complicated to write software that supports them all :) Visual Micro auto detects and switches the build process accordingly.

Finally by using a mature IDE like Visual Studio we benefit from Visual Studio's really great programming features and tools, in addition to a mature Gallery full of extensions that add functionality to the IDE and make coding easier and more fun.

Fortuneteller for me, this combination of tools appears to be well liked and useful for many other people. However I am always open minded to different points of view and usage levels.

For sure some very experienced Arduino users who don't need intellisense and know how to create their own build and upload commands. Don't need a full IDE because they code so fast. Don't need help and don't need fast build because they are good enough to write loads of code without need to upload and test each small addition a zillion times. That isn't me :) Does that describe you?

I would be very keen to understand what you were looking for when you tried the software? What was missing from your chosen IDE that you did not find in Visual Micro? This would be really useful to know if you have time to say.

The pro/paid version offers features such as :-

USB/Xbee/Bluetooth debug

Hide/Show hidden Arduino core and lib sources

Advanced GDB Debug ( 32 bit Arduino Zero or the VERY well priced & feature rich Texas Instruments LM4F 80/120Mhz boards)

Provides a local board.txt option that allows advanced users to override the built in Arduino/3rd Party Hardware Designs.

Create, test and debug local Arduino libraries

Live Views - Digital, Analog, Free Memory, I2C Scan

No forced annual updates

No prompts to buy/review


Sorry for the long email but hopefully this can be an answer for other users who have not seen the huge investment in detailed documentation on visualmicro.com

Hopefully you are using version 2015 or 15 of Visual Studio because Visual Micro has been through some huge changes during the past 2 years, as has he Arduino IDE. Please see the release notes for a fuller overview of what can be expect in the Free and paid version. There is also a comparison chart on visualmicro.com. 

Release notes are always here https://www.visualmicro.com/page/Visual-Micro-Product-Version-History-Fixes-and-Additions.aspx

If you believe prompts are showing more often than described in this article please create a new thread/post in the forum and tell me about it. Thanks