Product and Licensing FAQ

LGPL, Pro, Power, and Enterprise Editions for SmartClient and Smart GWT

This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) covers common questions about SmartClient, Smart GWT and the different editions (LGPL, Pro, Power, Enterprise) available in each product line.

NOTE: For brevity, many questions and answers refer to "SmartClient" or to specific editions such as "SmartClient Pro". These can be taken to refer to the corresponding Smart GWT product as well.

Questions: LGPL Edition

Questions: Pro, Power, and Enterprise Editions

Answers: LGPL Edition

What's included in the LGPL Edition?

A complete client-side Ajax component suite including grids, forms, trees, tabs, windows and other layout containers, databinding and data management components, pre-built connectors to REST and WSDL-based web services, examples and documentation, and tools such as the Developer Console.

Pro, Power, and Enterprise Editions include the SmartClient Java Server framework, which provides rapid integration with any existing server framework based on Java Beans (Hibernate, JPA, EJB3, Ibatis, Toplink or custom/homegrown ORM) as well as pre-built SQL and Hibernate connectors for new applications. See the product comparison chart for a full breakdown of features between different editions, including live samples and documentation.

What server technologies are compatible with the LGPL Edition?

Anything accessible via HTTP/HTTPS. "Cookbook" integration approaches are provided for Java, PHP, .NET and other platforms, including the ability to bind directly to WSDL web services. Successful SmartClient applications have been delivered on every server platform imaginable, including embedded devices and other exotic hardware.

What's the exact license involved?

The Lesser GNU Public License, version 3. This is a broadly used and officially recognized open source license. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-3.0.html.

What's the relationship between SmartClient and Smart GWT?

SmartClient is a JavaScript & Ajax-based RIA framework that is used in both SmartClient and Smart GWT. SmartClient can either be used directly by writing your application in JavaScript, or used via GWT (Google Web Toolkit) by writing code in Java. The two product lines offer essentially identical functionality. Isomorphic offers commercial licensing, commercial extensions and commercial support for both product lines.

Can I use the LGPL Edition for commercial purposes?

Yes. You can build commercial applications and sell commercial products that include Smart GWT / SmartClient LGPL. Application code, custom components and custom skins that you create are all regarded as separate works that you own, which may be closed source and may be sold or distributed under any license you want.

The LGPL license does require that if you make enhancements to Smart GWT / SmartClient LGPL, you must share them with the community. In practice this means that you cannot make a copy of some portion of SmartClient or Smart GWT, modify it, and distribute that as closed source that you own. The vast majority of possible extensions or custom components can be created without the need to modify the original Smart GWT / SmartClient source, however, if you want to have the option, consider purchasing a commercial license.

There's a server in the SmartClient LGPL package; why?

A trimmed-down version of the SmartClient Java Server is included in the SmartClient LGPL package in order to power the example viewer and some of the free tools. This version of the SmartClient server should not be deployed in your production application; see the included deployment instructions for details.

Do you offer support for the LGPL Edition?

Yes, you can purchase commercial services, including training, support, and consulting, without purchasing a commercial license.

Free support is available via the SmartClient Forums. The forums are very active, and questions are routinely answered by Isomorphic staff. However, if you intend to offer an SLA (Service Level Agreement) for your SmartClient-based application, you should purchase a commercial support package to ensure you can meet your commitments to your users. For obvious reasons, the SmartClient community frowns upon requests for immediate, free help.

Answers: Pro, Power, and Enterprise Editions

What's the difference between the Pro, Power and Enterprise licenses?

The difference between the Pro and the Power license is the features that are available. The two products can be compared here. They have essentially the same licensing terms. The legal terms of the Pro and Power licenses are similar to a EULA ( End User License Agreement) for tools in the same price range. These are typically adequate for small businesses and micro-ISVs, who are most likely already using other software under similar terms. The full text of the Pro license is here, and the full text of the Power license can be found here.

The terms of the Pro license may only be modified for a very large volume purchase, otherwise, contact us for a quote for an Enterprise license with the license terms you need.

Aside from feature differences, the Enterprise license offers indemnity, a warranty, and various other legal terms and protections that are often required by a large enterprise for risk management reasons. Enterprise licenses come in a few variations and exact terms can be modified to suit your organization's legal requirements.

Do Pro, Power, or Enterprise licenses require both development licenses and deployment licenses?

No. Pro and Power require developer licenses only and you get unlimited deployment.

Enterprise licenses can either be purchased on a per developer basis (with unlimited deployment) or you may purchase per CPU. You never pay both at once.

How does the "Flat Rate" option for Enterprise licenses work?

Instead of tracking either developers or CPUs, a simple fee is paid for a particular project, product, product line, corporate division, or the company as a whole. The fee is still loosely based on the current and anticipated number of developers, but the license is unlimited and you don't have to track usage.

Which developers need to buy a license?

Generally developers who call SmartClient APIs, use SmartClient development tools, or install the SmartClient SDK need to buy a license. A DataBase Architect (DBA) or similar role will generally not need a license. Depending on how your application is structured, developers building generic services may not need licenses.

For example, you may have developers who create general purpose Java APIs, WSDL or XML-based services which are also used by non-SmartClient applications. Developers who integrate SmartClient user interfaces with these services will need SmartClient licenses, but developers who create these services will not, so long as they do not use SmartClient development tools for testing and troubleshooting.

However, SmartClient tools are useful in a broad variety of situations, and are inexpensive relative to developer time and the cost of missed deadlines. It usually makes sense to purchase licenses for anyone who might need them because this allows your team to take the most efficient approach.

Can I mix license types (For example: Enterprise and Pro, Pro and LGPL, or Pro and Power)?

No, every developer who uses SmartClient and contributes to an application must have the same kind of license. If optional SmartClient features are purchased and included in the application, all developers must have licenses with the same set of optional features.

However if you have two teams working on two different applications, each team can have a different kind of license or set of optional features.

For more complicated cases, such as an product built on Pro where you want to offer Enterprise features in an optional part of your product, contact us. This applies only to a mix of Pro and Enterprise; if your application seems to be a mix of Pro and LGPL, buy Pro.

Can I upgrade my license to a more powerful license edition (for example, from Pro to Power edition)? How much will it cost?

Yes, you can upgrade your license to a more powerful edition at any time. If you are upgrading to the same version number, then the price will be the difference between the two edition prices.

Can I transfer licenses between developers?

Licenses that are per-developer are "named user" licenses, not "floating" or "concurrent user" licenses. You are not allowed to, for example, finish a project and transfer a set of licenses to a different group of developers who are starting a new project.

However, to account for changes that occur within teams, a licensed organization can transfer up to 20% of its licenses in a year (rounded up — you may always transfer one license), provided that the new licensed developer(s) has the same or a similar functional role as the licensed developer(s) that were replaced or they are engaged in the same general project. To make this change, you can write to licensing@isomorphic.com to have the license transferred to the new team member.

If you don't want to closely track licenses, consider a Flat Rate license (see FAQ about Flat Rate).

How are licenses installed or used? Do I need a license key or a tracking server?

License enforcement mechanisms tend to interfere with Agile development processes and continuous integration methodologies that are popular among Isomorphic customers, so we choose not to inflict them. So long as all developers working with SmartClient are properly licensed, you can use any developer's licensed copy of SmartClient as the one which is checked into source control and which is deployed to test and production environments.

In return for this flexibility, we ask that you are vigilant in keeping your licenses up to date. If you purchase a multi-user license, we will contact you occasionally via email, no more than bi-annually, asking if you have enough licenses for all the developers using SmartClient. You simply need to write back indicating that you do have enough licenses (or purchase more as needed).

If you don't want to closely track licenses, consider a Flat Rate license (see FAQ about Flat Rate).

Can I begin commercial development during my trial period?

Yes, so long as you either purchase a license before the trial period ends or freeze all development between the end of the trial period and when you buy your license. If you need a longer trial (we understand that it takes time to get a purchase approved), just contact us for an extension.

Note that while the trial license allows you to share prototypes with fellow developers and management within your company, the trial license does not allow you to show prototypes to potential customers. That would be winning business based on the power and appeal of our product, so we ask that you either buy a Pro license, or if circumstances make that impossible, contact us for permission.

Do you offer support with Pro, Power and Enterprise Editions?

Yes, support, training, consulting and other services are available. Services are not included with licenses, however discounts are offered for purchasing licenses at the same time as services. See a list of available services.

When I buy a license, do I have access to any future versions?

You have access to any new minor versions for the major version you've purchased. For example, purchasing version 7.0 entitles you to 7.1, 7.1.1, 7.2 and so on, but not to 8.0. You also have access to any patches that are released for any of your licensed versions.

How do I get new versions that my license entitles me to?

When you receive the release announcement, simply visit the download page and you will be able to download all versions you have licensed.

How much will it cost to upgrade to new versions?

Isomorphic offers industry standard upgrade discounts of up to 60% if you have purchased a license to a previous version of SmartClient within the last two major versions. If a new version is available, log in with your SmartClient.com account and go to the licensing page to see upgrade options and pricing.

Is there a student or instructor license available?

SmartClient is free when used solely to learn or teach skills, and where the applications produced will be used solely for the purpose of verifying the student's skills and not for any other purpose. Just contact us and ask for a Student / Instructor License.

If, during a class, you produce code you would like to use commercially, you can do so, but you must first obtain a normal commercial license.

SmartClient is not free for other academic use, such as creating applications that aid in the administration of a school or class, or applications used in scientific research. However, see next question about academic discounts.

Can I get an academic or charitable organization discount?

Yes, discounts are available for accredited academic and charitable organizations - contact us with information about your organization to obtain pricing.

I need some, but not all, of the features of the Enterprise Edition. Can I get a discount?

If you don't need the features marked "Optional", this will lower your quote. Beyond this, we do not offer discounts for removing features because it tends to motivate customers to misuse the product. To get the best possible price and ensure your project starts off correctly, purchase related services at the same time and ask for a bundled discount.

What is the cost of the Enterprise Edition?

The base price of Enterprise Edition is $2500/Developer. This base price applies when no changes to the license agreement are required and no Optional Modules or other add-ons are required. The cost of the Enterprise Edition also varies based on pricing type (/developer, /CPU, flat rate). Please contact us for pricing.

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I need a pure OSS (open source) version of my product; however for certain customers, I also need to offer commercial licensing with no LGPL components. What should I do?

In this situation, purchase Pro or better licenses, but ship only LGPL functionality as part of your product. This allows you to offer either LGPL or commercial terms for the SmartClient component of your overall product.

Note this approach still allows you to use the tools from the commercial project, such as Visual Builder and its DataSource Wizards. So long as the product you ship includes only the LGPL runtime, you can still offer customers a 100% OSS version of your product.

You can alternatively ship two versions of your product, one pure OSS product incorporating only the SmartClient LGPL runtime, and a second non-OSS product with extended features based on commercial versions of SmartClient. For example, the non-OSS version of your product could offer richer export options, or offer Analytics capabilities based on the SmartClient Analytics module.

I don't need the SmartClient Java Server framework, but I need a commercial license. Can I get a discount?

You should purchase SmartClient Pro. Aside from the Java server framework, SmartClient Pro includes additional client-side components (such as charts) and tools which are useful even without the SmartClient Java Server framework.

However, if you do not need to deploy the SmartClient Server as part of your application, discounts are available with large volume licenses.

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