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What Is an IDL Runtime Mode Application?

An IDL runtime mode application is a program or set of programs written to use IDL's data analysis and display capabilities in a stand-alone mode, without access to the IDL Development Environment, the IDL command line, or the ability to compile IDL .pro files. All IDL code for a runtime mode application must be pre-compiled and provided in the binary SAVE file format. If a runtime mode application presents a user interface, it must be exposed via the IDL widget toolkit or iTools functionality, since no access to the IDL command line or command output log is provided to the user.

Runtime mode applications are generally intended for users who do not have an IDL development license, although users who do have a development license can execute runtime mode applications as well. Typically, a runtime mode application is distributed along with an IDL distribution hierarchy containing all of the files necessary to run the application. (The exception is an application written to be run in the IDL Virtual Machine, which is installed separately from the IDL application itself.)

IDL applications written to run with an IDL development license — one that allows the application to compile .pro files and access to the IDL command line — can, of course, be distributed to other IDL users. Distributing applications that run with an IDL development license can be as simple as providing the application files to the end user along with instructions describing how to install the files and configure the application.

This chapter describes the process of packaging an application written entirely in IDL so that it can be distributed to end users who do not have an IDL development license. The following chapters describe the process of packaging an application to run in the IDL Virtual Machine and packaging a Callable IDL application. Much of the information in these chapters is relevant whether or not your application end users have an IDL development license, but the assumption is that your end user will not have such a license.

Types of IDL Runtime Applications

IDL applications can be written in IDL itself and distributed in IDL SAVE files, or they can be written in another programming language and distributed in a compiled binary format. IDL applications fall into the following two broad categories:

Licensing Options for IDL Runtime Applications

When you have an application that uses IDL and you want to distribute it to users who do not have an IDL development license, you have the following choices:

Free Runtime License (IDL Virtual Machine)

The IDL Virtual Machine is a runtime version of IDL that can execute IDL SAVE files without an IDL license. Users install the IDL Virtual Machine with the IDL Installer available on an IDL distribution CD-ROM or from the IDL download Web site.

See Distributing Virtual Machine Applications for additional details.

Purchased Runtime and Embedded Licenses

You can purchase runtime mode licenses from IDL. Runtime mode licenses provide a way for you to include a licensed IDL installation with your IDL application or Callable IDL application. There are two types of runtime mode licenses available: runtime licenses and embedded licenses.

When you distribute a licensed version of IDL with your application, you provide your users with IDL functionality, but do not provide access to the IDL command line, the IDL Development Environment, or the ability to compile IDL .pro files. Runtime and embedded licenses are appropriate for:

If your users need access to the full scope of IDL's features or advanced analytical tools outside the scope of your application, you might choose to distribute your application with an IDL development license. Contact your sales representative to purchase copies that you can distribute.

Runtime Licensing

A runtime license enables a single user to run IDL SAVE files or Callable IDL applications. Runtime licenses require that you have some advance information about your users's computer. Runtime licenses come in two varieties:

See Runtime Licensing for details.

Embedded Licensing

An embedded license allows you to build license information into IDL SAVE files or Callable IDL applications. Embedded licenses do not require you to have advance information about your users' computers. See Embedded Licensing for details.

  IDL Online Help (March 06, 2007)