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Your AspDotNetStorefront license can be purchased with or without source code. Source code isn't required to run the AspDotNetStorefront application in a testing or live environment. Without source code, you can change quite a lot of things about how the store looks, but in some cases, you might find that you need source code in order to change how things work.
Source code is available for purchase for all versions of AspDotNetStorefront, and you can add-on source code to any license you purchased without source code initially. Click here for details.
Below are examples of the unpacked AspDotNetStorefront files with and without source code:
With source code
Without source code
When you purchase AspDotNetStorefront source code, you gain access to several more folders and files that you can edit to build in changes to your store's functionality. Source code isn't required to run AspDotNetStorefront. When you install AspDotNetstorefront on to your hosting account, you'll only be uploading the contents of the "Web" folder - this will be true whether or not you own, or have modified your source code. Without source code, the Web folder still has all the functionality built-in, you just won't have access to alter that behavior.
Within the /Web/bin folder, you'll see a long list of files that look like this:
These files end in the ".dll" file extension and are commonly referred to as 'binaries'. If you open up these files in a text editor, you'll quickly notice that these files were not meant for human eyes. The contents of these .dll files are machine-readable but not human readable. So, while they make little sense to you - the server running your store understands them quite well. These files contain code that is critical to the operation of your store - you cannot run AspDotNetStorefront without them!
The .dll files are 'compiled' with the human-readable code contained within the source code. The human-readable files in source code are called 'classes'. You can open a class file in Visual Studio, apply your changes to the functionality, then use Visual Studio to compile (or 'build') your changes, which results in updated .dll files in the /Web/bin folder.
When you own source code, you can edit human readable files, and compile your changes into these .dll files.
Example: Let's say you want to add a new payment gateway. You might need to edit class files within ASPDNSFGateways folder, as well as the AspDotNetStorefront.Checkout folders. You'll need to open your solution in Visual Studio, apply your code changes, then compile your code. You'll notice after you compile your changes, that the file sizes on your AspDotNetStorefront.Checkout.dll & AspDotNetStorefrontGateways.dll are different. That's because these .dll files now include your custom code. To deploy these changes to your live site, simply upload the changed .dll files to the /bin folder on your live store (of course, make backups, and test well on your development / staging environment first!). You don't need to upload the classes you edited, or any other source code - in fact you shouldn't! Your live web server should only ever host the contents of your Web folder, and never any of the source code files.
When you buy a copy of AspDotNetStorefront, you buy a lifetime's rights to use the storefront software. You can download the software, ready to install and use, and it's yours forever. There is an admin console, that you run in a browser, and that lets you change quite a lot about the way everything looks on a page. If you know something about 'web development', you'll quickly see that you are also downloading the 'web source' which is the code that controls the presentation layer, so you get more power to change the way things look.
If you need to change more than the way things look (for example, if you want to display some information that isn't normally displayed ... or if you want to change the way things are calculated ... or if you want to change the underlying business logic ... then you will want to buy source code to change the functionality.
You can download source code from the license portal here: http://license.aspdotnetstorefront.com
Click the Software Downloads tab to see the source code downloads available for your version.
The downloads available on the license portal will only ever be the 'stock' source code - if you download source code, and make changes (or hire a developer to make changes for you) - make sure you save those changes somewhere safe! You will not be able to download your modified source code from the AspDotNetStorefront license portal.