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FAQ: Application Servers

Is Sketchpad compatible with networked application servers (such as Citrix Metaframe products)?

Note: This discussion is restricted to "application servers" (where an application is run remotely over the network) rather than to "license servers" (where a license policy is enforced on applications that are then run locally on networked workstations). There are no compatibility issues between Sketchpad and license servers.

The answer is a qualified "yes." There are no fundamental incompatibilities between Sketchpad and any networked application servers. However, before installing Sketchpad under an application server, please be aware of the following issues:

License: Your License Agreement with Sketchpad limits the physical or geographic scope in which you may use Sketchpad. Please review your License Agreement (which is accessible from within the software's Help system). If your application server serves a wider physical or geographic range of clients than are covered by your Sketchpad license, you may not install Sketchpad on your application server.

Network Performance: Application servers work by running software—in this case, Sketchpad—on a remote machine and then displaying the results to you on your local "client" by transmitting them over your network. This model works well for business applications, legacy software, and other programs that are not highly interactive in nature. By contrast, The Geometer's Sketchpad is a highly interactive computer application. The fundamental benefit of Sketchpad's Dynamic Geometry® occurs when students drag elements of mathematical constructions and observe their results continuously in real time.

While not beyond the limits of high-performance networks, this type of interactivity puts strenuous demands on a client/application server architecture. Even a high-performance network is not a certain guarantee that your "network throughput" will be enough to deliver sufficient interactivity to make Sketchpad useful to your students, since additional factors come into play: server load, network latency, etc. The only way to decide whether your network is sufficient to run Sketchpad is to test it under real-world conditions on your actual network.

Graphics Performance: Application servers, such as Citrix, often use a relatively low default color depth (since they tend not to be used for graphics-intensive applications). It is recommended that you change the default color depth to at least 16 bit (or higher) to improve the quality of Sketchpad's graphics.