I would like to request that Balsamiq reinstate offline license activation, like they did for Mockups 3.
I work for a large defense contractor where the development environment is in a private network where no internet connection is allowed. I’ve been using a licensed Balsamiq Mockups 3 in said isolated network environment for the last three years, and it has been a tremendous tool in helping us rapidly prototyping UI that drives our systems. The schedule in my program area can be considered as aggressive, difficulties compounded by co-development on both the hardware and the software side towards a common delivery date.
Balsamiq Mockups 3 has been really amazing in helping us layout correlating data on our UI quickly, and has significantly improved our UI the last few years. This year, I acquired a licensed copy of Balsamiq Wireframes 4.x on my outside (internet facing) work PC, and really love the stability fixes and new features that came with this version. I took the trouble of asking our network security personnel to approve Balsamiq Wireframes 4.x for our private network use (this is a common procedure in the defense world: Whenever a software has a major version change, we need to re-request approval from security).
After 4 months the approval came in, but we found out that Balsamiq Wireframes 4.x requires pinging home in order to activate the license. This is impossible when working on a classified network, where it is a requirement for the network to be isolated from the internet at all times. This is a step backward from Balsamiq Mockups 3 where pinging the internet is not a requirement for activation.
Defense industry is not known for good, functional user interface, because most of the emphasis on UI development is for the wow factor in trade shows but not for the actual end users. Most of the wireframing tools requires access to the internet, and therefore most defense companies cannot use it on their isolated network. Balsamiq was the only exception until Wireframes 4.x came out. I see tools like Balsamiq as one of the key solutions to improve the user interface development in the defense area, where good usability is sorely lacking.
I hope the development team will reconsider reinstating offline license activation.