What to Buy for IMS

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Manifold IMS

For a general overview of which Manifold® System Edition to buy, please see the What to Buy page. This page provides additional guidance on which Manifold System edition to buy for IMS applications. For a general overview of the Manifold Internet Map Server (IMS), please see the Internet Map Server page.

All Manifold Editions except Personal Edition include IMS

Manifold IMS is a built-in part of every Manifold System license except Personal Edition. It doesn't matter whether you have Professional x64 Edition, Universal x64 Edition or a Universal x64 Runtime - if you have installed any Manifold System edition except Personal Edition you have IMS installed. In the paragraphs that follow, reference to a Manifold license means any Manifold System edition except Personal Edition.

Although all Manifold System editions except Personal include IMS, there are differences between IMS capabilities in different Manifold System editions as discussed below.

What Should I get for IMS Development?

You'll need a Manifold license for each developer and also a Manifold license for each web server machine. Professional organizations almost always develop using Universal licenses for developers and then deploy onto web servers using a Universal license. The first web server deployment is usually done using a full Universal license and then subsequent deployments will use Universal Runtime licenses.

Usually only individuals or very cost-constrained organizations will develop using Professional Edition and deploy using Universal Runtime licenses. That usually is not efficient unless you must count every penny and have no choice.

Developers sometimes think they cannot both develop a web application with IMS and try it out on the same machine. Sometimes they think they must always use two machines, one as a development machine and one as a web server. That's not the case: if a developer pays attention to the required workflow it is a routine matter to develop an IMS application and also test it on the same machine.

Developers creating IMS applications can use the same Manifold license, for example, a Universal Edition license, both for development and for testing the web application on the same machine that is used for development. Although Manifold cannot run as IMS at the same time it is running interactively on a machine's console, developers using a single machine will establish a workflow of exiting all interactive Manifold sessions, starting IIS on the local machine, trying out the web application, doing an IISRESET to clear out any IIS or IMS processes, shutting down IIS and then launching Manifold again if need be.

That workflow obviously won't work for a production web server that must have the web site running all the time, so when it comes time to deploy the finished IMS application to a web server that web server will require installation of a dedicated Manifold license. It is also good security practice (as every experienced webmaster knows) to reserve a web server machine for web serving only.

Developers who have a big enough budget not to be forced to use the same machine both for development and for testing web applications will often develop IMS applications using two machines: a development machine and a dedicated test web server machine, both of which will have their own Manifold license. After an IMS application is developed using these two machines and verified on the test web server it will be deployed to the production web server machine, which also will have its own Manifold license.

What Should I get for IMS Deployment?

Each web server machine that runs a Manifold IMS application will need to have a Manifold license. All Manifold System editions except Personal Edition include IMS. There are three main differences in IMS applications between the various Manifold editions:

  • IMS sites using Professional Edition will display the "Powered by manifold.net" logo line, which includes a link back to the Manifold IMS web site.
  • Different Manifold licenses have different capabilities. For example, a Professional license does not have Enterprise features such as the ability to directly connect to a native spatial DBMS. A Professional Edition license (unless extensions are installed) will not have the ability to create profiles as can a Universal Edition license, which includes the Surface Tools extension and thus supports working with profiles.
  • Runtime licenses do not have the console GUI as do full licenses and so cannot be launched interactively from the web server's console and keyboard as a regular interactive Manifold application.

When you deploy an IMS application to a web server machine you should install the level of Manifold license required for the features your application uses. For example, if the application was developed using Universal Edition and it uses direct connections to native spatial DBMS (an Enterprise feature), you'll need to install Universal Edition or above on the web server. If the application uses street address geocoding facilities as provided by the Geocoding Tools extension, you will need to have Geocoding Tools installed on the web server as well.

Most webmasters will deploy using a Universal Edition or Universal Runtime license. Using Universal reduces the need for significant thought as to what features are necessary, because a Universal license supports all API features for Enterprise capabilities as well as the Business Tools, Geocoding Tools and Surface Tools extensions. Given the cost of most webmasters' time it is usually much less expensive to deploy using Universal and then forget about the matter than later to even spend a small amount of time tracking down a web site problem because the Manifold license used on the web server did not support some Enterprise capability or some extension feature that the web site uses.

Should I use a Runtime License for IMS Deployment?

In theory, an IMS application can be deployed using either a Universal Runtime license or a full Universal Edition license. Runtime licenses can provide a great cost savintgs.

In practise, many developers will use a full license for their first web site deployment and will begin using runtime licenses only after they have acquired some experience and confidence deploying IMS applications.

Although runtimes are inexpensive, they do not have the console GUI that a full Manifold license has. As a result, it is not possible to launch Manifold interactively on the web server's console and keyboard should any debugging of the application be necessary on the web server. Beginners will at times make simple mistakes (such as an error in a component name) that are very easy to identify and remedy if Manifold can be launched interactively on the web server but which can be difficult for a beginner to identify if only programmatic or web page access is possible as with a runtime license.

Experienced developers will launch Manifold interactively on a development machine to infer what the problem is with the deployed application on a web server machine that has only a runtime. But even very experienced developers will at times choose to deploy using a full license because even a full license is very inexpensive while the cost of developer / webmaster debugging time is so high that even if the full license just once simplifies debugging it has paid for itself.

Note that runtime licenses provide Manifold x64 serial numbers. These will work in both 32-bit and 64-bit Manifold runtime installations.


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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.