Well there you go, Manifold continues to push the envelope on their product. A couple folks have emailed me the news that Release 8.00 is available for sale (no demo available) on their website. I see lots of references to speed and spatial database connectivity in that press prerelease and to be honest I think that is a great thing to focus on in 2007. Tucked down low is something that might get a few ArcGIS Desktop users to add Manifold to their workflow, ESRI Geodatabase support:

Spatial DBMS support for ESRI SDE geodatabases and ESRI Personal geodatabases - Manifold can now connect to SDE (also known as “ArcGIS”) data stores using any DBMS supported by ESRI or to so-called “Personal” geodatabases, most frequently encountered within Access .mdb files. Manifold can import drawings from such geodatabases or link to drawings for read/write/edit dynamic compatibility with such linked drawings to add/delete/edit objects in such drawings, even changing their assigned projections.

Some other “highlights” that caught my eye were NVIDIA CUDA support (about time someone took advantage of video card support), Spatial DBMS support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Spatial and PostgreSQL, IronPython scripting (would have liked to see “regular” Python support, but this is still welcomed) and User Interface Scripting (kinda makes me think back to how folks used the old ArcView 3.x). I’m sure we’ll see some more as the Manifold users start blogging about how it all works, but this is a pretty smart upgrade for those who use Manifold. Compatibility with ESRI geodatabase is huge in my opinion as it will allow companies that have invested greatly in ArcSDE to use Manifold without having to export out to shapefiles first.