Commercial Version of Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! Andrew Mackles, Autodesk GIS product manager, spoke this week on the launch of the commercial version of MapGuide Enterprise 2007 and MapGuide Studio 2007. The Open Source version of these two was launched in November 2005. MapGuide Enterprise and MapGuide Studio commercial versions will be available July 3.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Commercial Version of Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007
by Susan Smith

Fast Web Mapping Application Development
Autodesk MapGuide® Studio puts data and resources close at hand and makes it easy to organize and manage maps and geospatial data. The ability to preview maps provides immediate feedback when authoring and streamlines application development.
Andrew Mackles, Autodesk GIS product manager, spoke this week on the launch of the commercial version of MapGuide Enterprise 2007 and MapGuide Studio 2007. The Open Source version of these two was launched in November 2005. MapGuide Enterprise and MapGuide Studio commercial versions will be available July 3.

Mackles explained that in July, the release version of Studio will replace the current preview product. Basically the commercial version of Enterprise is the commercial version of the Open Source product, and they are identical. “The code base is the same, features and functionality are the same, but there are some differences,” Mackles said. “The enterprise commercial version adds a couple of software components, specifically the Oracle and SQL Server FDO providers. FDO allows developers to access all the different GIS data formats using a single API. With the open source - MySQL, SDE, and SDF and shapefiles, raster are available. The Oracle and SQLServer ones are available in the MapGuide Enterprise box, but are not shipped with the open source version.” FDO technology is also open source, as is DWF.

The commercial version ships with the Mentor coordinate system. It's also the same coordinate system that Autodesk uses throughout the product line. “You get a little better integration because you're basing your maps on the same coordinate system,” said Mackles. The commercial version also adds additional language support, so Open Source and Enterprise are available in English and Japanese, and the Enterprise version is available also in German, French and Italian.

View Maps in Any Browser
The AJAX Viewer delivers raster based maps to almost any browser, including Safari. This viewing option ensures that any user on any platform can access designs and maps without requiring a specific browser.
There is added value and confidence in the commercial version as it has been thoroughly QA'd by the Autodesk team, and it's also certified on specific platforms. “A lot of companies are attracted to Open Source because they like the idea that they get to own the code, and they get to add and customize the code, but they also want to know there's a company that's backing them up. If the server goes down at midnight they don't want to rely solely on the community for support,” Mackles pointed out. “Having this QA and certification is very important to the enterprise customers. It is very similar to what Oracle , IBM, Red Hat, MySQL or any of the open source companies are doing where they sell the certified tested version of their product.”

Another advantage of the commercial version of MapGuide Enterprise and Studio is that there is easier licensing of MapGuide based applications, according to Mackles. “You can do that on the open source version but you're going to have to get into separate licensing agreements for some of the third party components that we ship as part of MapGuide. For example, we use the Berkeley database that's an open source database managed by SleepyCat. If you want to distribute the open source version you've got to get a separate agreement with SleepyCat to do your distribution. If you use MapGuide Enterprise, we cover all that. You only need to do one agreement with us and we cover you for all the third party components. You also get the benefit of Autodesk Subscription program. That means support from our team and the engineering team. You automatically get updates and upgrades and access to the subscription portal which has things like e-learning resources, additional code, additional technical support and information relevant to the product.”

Map Authoring Made Easy
Autodesk MapGuide® Studio manages all aspects of preparing maps and geospatial data for distribution on the Internet. Upload data files, connect to databases, stylize and preview maps – all using a developer-friendly authoring environment.
Mackles said that Autodesk covers the application development, meaning that developers can resell everything that's part of MapGuide Enterprise under this single license agreement.

The ownership of code is an interesting factor surrounding open source software. Autodesk gave up its intellectual property rights, i.e. the soul of MapGuide, to the OSGeo Foundation. The OSGeo Foundation uses the LGPL license which basically allows the application developer to own the code and any modifications he makes to it, plus he can get distribution rights in perpetuity. “No one can take away that code, so the developer couldn't reverse engineer the code and start building a new product based on MapGuide without first licensing the MapGuide code,” Mackles explained.

The current version of MapGuide 6.5 is a good product targeted at a very narrow set of applications, according to Mackles. MapGuide Enterprise offers a much broader support for operating systems, web servers and programming languages and browsers. This broad support of MapGuide Enterprise allows customers to integrate MapGuide with their other line of business applications, such as CRM or ERP, asset management.

Thematic Mapping, Analysis and Reporting
Autodesk MapGuide® Studio can be used to produce attractive thematic maps and provide spatial analysis and reporting functions – here, creating buffer zones around selected parcels.
DWF and AJAX (popularized b y Google Map) are the two viewing options for MapGuide Enterprise and both provide basically the same functionality. “DWF is a little stronger on the offline support because it's vector based, but AJAX gives a little broader browser support,” said Mackles. “The real key here is that all the application logic sits in the server. You write the application once and it automatically gets deployed to any of the clients. You don't need to rewrite or change or modify code depending upon the client. You also don't need to touch each of the clients when you deploy or update an application.” What this means, according to Mackles, is that the ROI is very solid. The biggest cost for most companies today for their software is in the deployment. By having all the code sit on the server, it is easy to deploy and maintain those applications. “This becomes apparent in mobile scenarios where you might have clients that are not touching the corporate network. You want an easy way to be able to update the clients by having all the application logic sit on the server - you just make the changes on the server and the clients automatically gets those changes.”

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Review Article
  • October 09, 2008
    Reviewed by 'Question'
    "Since MapGuide Enterprise and Open Source are built on Linux, there will be a large number of development projects doing integration with web mapping technologies such as Google Maps and MapGuide."
    I don't see the connection. Why does it matter if they are built on Linux?

      Was this review helpful to you?   (Report this review as inappropriate)

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