Internet Map Server FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Manifold Internet Map Server

Manifold IMS

See the Manifold Internet Map Server (IMS) page for an introduction to Manifold IMS. This page provides frequently asked questions and answers related to Manifold IMS.

Do I need a Manifold license for each web server?

Yes. Every web server you use requires a Manifold license to run IMS on that web server. The license can be a regular license or a runtime license.

Do I need a Manifold license or any Manifold software on client machines?

No. Visitors to your IMS-enabled website can use ordinary Internet browsers, such as Microsoft's free Internet Explorer browser, to visit your web site.

Does Manifold IMS run in Linux?

No. Manifold products are sold for use on Windows operating systems only.

Can I use PHP or other non-IIS technology?

Yes, although if you choose to do so you are on your own as regards support. Theoretically, you can use IMS within any dynamic HTML-serving technology that can instantiate and work with objects. There are many users who employ IMS in Windows via PHP and other non-Microsoft technologies and who talk about their experiences in forums like http://georeference.org - That's fine if you want to do it, but Manifold is tested with IIS and standard Microsoft technologies and all Manifold examples and technical support resources are aimed at Microsoft technologies.

Do I have to write programs to use Manifold IMS?

Not if your application can make use of one of the standard templates built into IMS. Experienced web programmers of course will want to program IMS applications to whatever level of customization they want.

How Fast is Manifold IMS?

It's fast! Users who are familiar with legacy map servers sold by old-fashioned GIS companies like ESRI tell us that Manifold IMS is faster than legacy map servers. In many applications, Manifold running 64-bit in a typical multi-core web server machine running 64-bit Windows will absolutely crush legacy ESRI IMS software running 32-bits, single core. Because at one low price Manifold includes enterprise features, such as direct connections to extremely fast spatial DBMS, even the most humble Manifold IMS user can often take advantage of performance-oriented enterprise features that are beyond the reach of legacy map servers. For example, even individual users can afford to use free, fast spatial DBMS like SQL Server to store even very large images for extremely fast IMS performance.

Are Manifold prices annual license fees, or are they fully paid up licenses?

They are fully paid up licenses. No need for annual license fees or maintenance fees. Yes, really.

Does Manifold IMS run in Windows 10?

Of course! Manifold has been supported in Windows 10 since the earliest Microsoft betas.

Does Manifold IMS run in 64-bit Windows editions?

Yes. All Manifold runtime licenses (normally used for IMS deployment) run native 64-bits when installed in x64 64-bit Windows systems.

Is there any limit to / do I have to pay more for the number of processors or cores a Manifold license can use?

No. One Manifold license is all you need per web server. For example, if you have a web server that uses a motherboard with four processor sockets and each socket hosts a quad-core processor (for a total of 16 cores) you need only one Manifold license for that web server.

Is there any limit to / do I have to pay more for the number of web sites a Manifold license can host?

No. There is only one Manifold license required per web server no matter how many web sites are served. That web server can host one web site or many dozens of web sites, as Manifold IMS servers often do.

Is there any limit to / do I have to pay more for the number of pages served?

No. There is only one Manifold license required per web server no matter how many pages or users are served. There is no extra charge if your server serves millions of hits per day.

What Manifold licenses should I acquire?

Get a full Manifold license for each developer who will be working on your web site. In addition, get a Manifold license for each web server that will be running Manifold. Manifold is so inexpensive most people use Universal edition for development and Universal runtimes for deployment.

Can't I develop and deploy with the same license?

As a practical matter, no. Manifold will not run interactively at the same time it is running as IMS. It is theoretically possible to start and stop and restart between interactive and IMS mode on the same machine, but as a practical matter this tends to drive developers nuts and loses too much productivity. It is simply cheaper to buy a runtime license so that development can be done on one machine and deployment on a dedicated web server. It is true, though, that for limited tinkering in a hobby way it is both fun and possible to launch Manifold IMS on the same personal machine used for interactive usage - that's a great way to become aware of how easy it is to create web sites using Manifold IMS.

Do I have to pay extra to get IMS?

No. Manifold IMS is a built-in part of every Manifold license from Professional on up.

Are there differences between Professional and other IMS licenses?

Yes. IMS in Professional Edition requires display of the "Powered by manifold.net" logo on the IMS site. To surpress that logo you must use Universal Edition or higher Manifold licenses.

Can I use a Manifold Runtime license to deploy IMS?

Yes. You can use a Universal Runtime license to deploy Manifold IMS on a web server.

Can a Universal x64 Runtime license operate in 32-bit Windows?

Yes. Runtime licenses are installed using either the 32-bit or the 64-bit Manifold installation pacakge. An x64 Manifold Runtime serial number can activate either a 32-bit or 64-bit installation.

Is there a downside to using a Runtime license to deploy IMS?

Yes. Runtimes have no console GUI. That's normally fine because an IMS application on a web server is accessed by users through the web server, not by someone sitting at the web server's console and keyboard. However, if you have any difficulty debugging an IMS application it can be very useful to have a full Manifold license on the web server running IMS. In that case, you can stop IIS, launch Manifold interactively and take a look at the project on the web server. That makes it easy to find and fix a variety of simple errors, such as not getting paths to linked files right. Wise web masters will often deploy their first few IMS applications using a full license and will switch to using Runtime licenses when they feel confident of avoiding beginner errors.

Is there a difference between a Professional Edition license and the Universal Runtime for deploying IMS?

Yes. The Professional Edition license shows the "Powered by manifold.net logo." The Universal Runtime allows removal of the logo. In addition, the Universal Runtime provides full Enterprise features as well as all features made possible by the Business Tools, Geocoding Tools and Surface Tools extensions. Almost all professional web masters will deploy using Universal Runtime because it is so inexpensive, at only $50, that simply knowing you have it all on the web server is worth every penny.

What is a typical set of licenses most web developers acquire?

Most organizations will acquire Universal licenses for each of their developers, and will deploy their first IMS sites using a full Universal license. With experience, most web masters will shift to deploying IMS applications using Universal Runtime licenses.

Can I develop an IMS application using Professional licenses?

Yes. If an application does not need Enterprise Edition features or extensions, then it can be developed using Professional Edition. Some developers on a budget will develop using Professional Edition and will then deploy using a Universal Runtime. However, many serious web applications will take advantage of advanced database features and will thus naturally require Universal Edition during development. Since in any case a Universal Runtime will likely be used for deployment, it is being "penny wise and pound foolish" to give up Enterprise capabilities during development in order to save the small difference in price between Professional and Universal editions during development.

Why, then, do people use Professional Edition at all for IMS development?

Providing IMS within a low cost Professional Edition makes it possible for people to experiment with IMS at very low cost. It also makes it possible for professionals whose primary interest is not IMS to test the waters.

Can I use IMS with a hosting service?

Yes, if that hosting service supports IMS. Some hosting services now provide hosting that includes Manifold IMS installed on their web servers. Another way to use a hosting service is to use managed hosting or co-location, where a particular machine at the hosting service becomes your machine to use as you like.

Can I run IMS on virtual servers?

Yes, if you are using Manifold License Server activation and no if you are running a standalone Manifold license such as a Runtime license. Standalone Manifold licenses don't work on virtual machines. License Server uses one physical machine, the License Server, to authenticate floating Manifold licenses on potentially very many virtual machines. As virtual machines pop into or go out of existance they can authenticate on-the-fly any Manifold license running on that virtual machine. ISPs that provide IMS hosting services on virtual machines have aquired a License Server license from Manifold loaded with the requisite number of floating licenses.

Do client machines ever need a Manifold license to use an IMS application?

That depends on how your application is written. If the client machine requires a Manifold installation, then yes, it will need a Manifold license. Most IMS applications are written to use a free browser like IE, Chrome or Opera, so there is no Manifold license required. Let's compare four different scenarios:

Case 1: John creates an IMS-enabled web site running on one web server machine that visitors can visit using Edge, Chrome or Opera, like the Live IMS Examples John needs only one Manifold license for his one web server. He uses a Universal Runtime x64 for $50.

John makes tons of money as his business grows. He adds another web server to handle all the traffic, buying one more Universal Runtime x64 license for that second machine.

Case 2: Trisha likes to tinker with open source. She creates an application that utilizes OpenLayers.org clients to connect to WFS-T data emitted by Manifold IMS in a web application. Because Trisha has no Manifold software installed on the client machines she only needs a Manifold license on her web server machine.

Case 3: Eric develops a sophisticated application for his local county. They run Manifold IMS on their intranet server to serve out custom imagery using WMS. They have a Manifold Universal Runtime x64 license on each server machine. Their client machines each have a Manifold license as well. They use the client machines to work with projects where some of the layers come in on WMS (using Manifold's ability as a client to connect to a WMS server) and some of the layers are vector layers coming in from their Oracle DBMS servers (using Manifold's ability to directly connect to Oracle Spatial databases). Because they are using Manifold itself on each client machine they need a Manifold license on each client machine. Since they don't need any extensions they use an Enterprise Edition license on each client machine.

Case 4: Geena works for a large organization where the employees must access geospatial data but they have very low tech skills. The organization's architecture is very similar to Eric's application in Case 3, but the employees are so unskilled that the Manifold user interface cannot be used. Instead, everything must be encapsulated within a fully custom GUI that has a limited number of dialogs. Geena writes the GUI and utilizes the programming capability of Manifold to GIS-enable her application. Since she's not using Manifold's GUI she can utilize a Runtime license on each of the client machines. She uses Universal Runtime x64 on each client machine because she needs access in her application to Manifold's ability to direct connect to Oracle Spatial.

How can such a low price be possible?

People often wonder, how can Manifold possibly make money selling an IMS server that does so much more, so much better, with so much greater reliabiliy for only $50 when the only nearest competition charges many thousands of dollars?

There are two main factors:

  • Manifold IMS benefits from the same competitive advantages Manifold System itself leverages, such as a focus on modern technology.
  • The decisive cost advantage is the integration of Manifold IMS as a built-in part of Manifold.

Legacy vendors who have separate IMS products from their mainstream GIS or database access products must duplicate, at enormous expense, development across two or three different development organizations. To achieve a capability in their IMS product requires re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, on top of what has already been done in their mainstream GIS product. In contrast, Manifold IMS automatically benefits from improvements in Manifold System because Manifold IMS is Manifold System.

Add a new spatial DBMS capability within Manifold System? That becomes immediately a new feature within Manifold IMS as well. Combine that with huge economy of scale and even at the low prices charged Manifold IMS becomes very profitable as an extra capability of Manifold System.

More Information

Visit the following pages for additional, detailed information on Manifold IMS:

  • Internet Map Server - Manifold IMS home page.
  • IMS Requirements - Hardware and software requirements for running Manifold IMS.
  • Top 10 IMS Advantages - The top ten advantages reported by Manifold users over using old-fashioned, archaic IMS products.
  • Live IMS Examples - Live examples of IMS running on manifold.net servers, with links to complete source code for examples.

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About Manifold

Manifold products deliver quality, performance and value in the world's most sophisticated, most modern and most powerful spatial engineering products. Total integration ensures unbeatably low cost of ownership. Tell your friends!

Illustration, left: The Manifold Internet Map Server can serve a vast variety of data, including CAD drawings. The illustration shows detailed plans of a theater in New Zealand, used by theater professionals to plan performances. Using a Runtime License the cost of such capabilities is effectively zero.