I love the direction on-line services are going towards: instead of "buying" an access to a digital item "forever", in many cases it's possible to go for a pay-per-use / rent for the limited period of time model. It seems to make a lot of sense, especially if you think a bit about how fragile an access to a digital item can be:
for downloaded items - your storage may fail & you may lose data; in theory, in majority of cases access providers lets you to re-download your stuff, but the more providers you use, the more cumbersome it gets
for items accessed directly on-line (streaming & such) - you have literally no guarantee that your provider will be up & kickin' in 1,3,5 & more years time. Even Amazon may go out of business & what happens with your digital library then? Poof
That's why I like temporary model more & more. I pay for what I want & need right now:
I want a book about statistics, just to refresh some basic, introductory stuff NOW - so I rent it from Amazon for 30 days. If I need it one day in future, I'll go for it once again - for now I've saved about 65% of the full item price & honestly - I don't think I'll need it any day soon again.
I want to see an action movie - some random time-filler for a Saturday evening. Requirements: satisfactory level of violence, rich scenography (well, FX ...), heavily exposed^M^M^M^M^M^M^M... I mean - expressive female characters ;), meaty dialogues, no cheap drama - does it really make any sense for paying a full DVD price for something like that? For 1/4 of that price I can watch such a movie freely on Google Play - one shot, 2 hrs of pure, brainless entertainment & I can forget it like it never has happened. In 95% of cases I wouldn't like to watch it again anyway.
Surely, rental time period expires & I'm left with just the memories - cash has been spent, but the item is no longer here. But it's a fair price, a price for freedom -> freedom of picking the item & time I want to spend on consuming that item.
And about building software...
All above sounds like a good deal for me. And it makes sense for at least few types of tools / services programmers / other IT professionals could use (no, I'm not going through IaaS/PaaS again, don't worry):
- you've most likely heard already about on-line subscription-based monitoring / error reporting tools like Raygun, Airbrake or Crashlytics?
- there are some tools that are very useful, but you don't need to use them every day - for instance NDepend - personally, I'd love to see such a flexible licensing model for that. Something similar to the one used by Semantic Merge.
- this model is pretty much a standard for on-line collaboration tools, so no-brainer here: starting with GitHub & ending with Slack.
- day by day there are more & more subscription-based on-line protytyping tools; and they can get really sophisticated - moqups, Invision or Fluid.
- various on-line analytics you won't need everyday (most likely) but once in a while you'd like to refresh your knowledge about how do users actually use your web application - best example: New Relic or just Google Analytics.