Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020048046 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/178,506
Publication dateApr 25, 2002
Filing dateOct 26, 1998
Priority dateOct 27, 1997
Also published asUS6437875
Publication number09178506, 178506, US 2002/0048046 A1, US 2002/048046 A1, US 20020048046 A1, US 20020048046A1, US 2002048046 A1, US 2002048046A1, US-A1-20020048046, US-A1-2002048046, US2002/0048046A1, US2002/048046A1, US20020048046 A1, US20020048046A1, US2002048046 A1, US2002048046A1
InventorsKouichi Unno
Original AssigneeKouichi Unno
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of processing data in various applications
US 20020048046 A1
Abstract
A scan request is analyzed to determine which application has issued the scan request. Depending on the analysis result, it is determined whether image data obtained by scanning a document using a scanner is stored in a semiconductor memory or on a hard disk. The image data is assigned an identifier indicating the recording medium in which the image data is stored, the type of the job, the document, the image file type, and the number of pages. The image data is processed in accordance with the identifier. This allows the data to be processed by the application in an optimum manner depending on the application.
Images(73)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(11)
What is claimed is:
1. A data processing apparatus comprising:
input means for inputting data;
processing means for processing data input via said input means;
storing means for storing data input via said input means;
discriminating means for discriminating a process performed by said processing means on the data input via said input means; and
determining means for determining a location at which the data input via said input means is stored by said storing means, depending on a discrimination result made by said discriminating means.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said storing means comprises a plurality of memories having different characteristics, and wherein said determining means selects a memory suitable for a process to be performed, depending on the discrimination result made by said discriminating means.
3. An apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said determining means determines that the data should be stored in a semiconductor memory if said discriminating means discriminates that the process needs a high processing speed, while said determining means determines that the data should be stored on a hard disk if said discriminating means discriminates that a large amount of data is required to be stored in the process.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising specifying means for specifying a method of storing the data input via said input means into said storing means, depending on the discrimination result made by said discriminating means.
5. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said specifying means specifies either that the data input via said input means be stored either at successive addresses or that the data be divided into blocks and stored block by block, depending on the discrimination result made by said discriminating means.
6. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said processing means processes data input by a plurality of different applications via said input means.
7. An apparatus according to claim 6, further comprising setting means for assigning an identifier to the data input via said input means, depending on an application which processes the data using said processing means in accordance with the discrimination result made by said discrimination means.
8. An apparatus according to claim 6, wherein said setting means assigns a different identifier to the data input via said input means whenever a page of the data changes.
9. An apparatus according to claim 6, wherein said input means inputs data in accordance with a program which is used in common by a plurality of applications.
10. A data processing method comprising:
an inputting step of inputting data;
a storing step of storing data input in the inputting step to a predetermined memory;
a discriminating step of discriminating a process performed by an application on the data input in the inputting step; and
a determining step of determining a location at which the data input in the inputting step is stored in the storing step, depending on a discrimination result made in the discriminating step.
11. A computer readable program stored in a storage medium, comprising:
an inputting step of causing to input data;
a storing step of causing to store the data input in the inputting step to a predetermined memory;
a discriminating step of causing to discriminate a process performed by an application on the data input in the inputting step; and
a determining step of causing to determine a location at which the data input in the inputting step is stored in the storing step, depending on a discrimination result made in the discriminating step.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for processing input data in various application programs.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] An apparatus is known in the art which includes a plurality of devices such as a scanner for sensing an image of a document, a printer for outputting a recorded image, a communication unit for transmitting and receiving data, and a database unit for storing and managing the data in the form of a file, whereby the data is processed as required.

[0005] In this technique, data is processed by an application program selected from a plurality of application programs such as a scan processing program, print processing program, etc., depending on the process requested by a user.

[0006] For example, when a facsimile operation is requested by a user via a user interface, a facsimile program, which is one of the application programs stored in a memory of an apparatus, is called and executed. The facsimile program called in response to the user's request performs a facsimile process with a scanner for scanning the image of a given document and with a processing system for compressing and decompressing data.

[0007] As described above, any process associated with the facsimile transmission is performed by the facsimile application program. For example, when there are a plurality of documents to be scanned, the facsimile program controls the operation of scanning the plurality of documents. When a plurality of documents are scanned, it is generally difficult to predict the number of documents to be scanned before starting the scanning operation and thus the facsimile application program requires a complex procedure. When the apparatus has a large number of functions, the scanner is also used by other application programs, and thus these application programs are required to perform a similar complicated procedure in the scanning process. As described above, a complicated procedure for scanning a document is included in an overlapped fashion in each of a plurality of application programs which use the scanner or a similar device.

[0008] Inside the apparatus, there are provided a semiconductor memory and a hard disk serving as media for storing the data to be processed. The storage areas of such a medium are shared by various application programs. However, there is a difference in operation speed between the semiconductor memory and the hard disk, and thus the operation speed of the application program varies depending on which storage medium is employed. For example, in applications in which all documents are first scanned and then the data is processed, a high operation speed is not required. However, in this case, a large storage space sufficient to store the data is required. On the other hand, in applications in which document image data is immediately transmitted while scanning a document, processing is required to be performed at a sufficiently high speed to achieve required performance, although the required storage space is not great.

[0009] Thus, to properly process input data, it is required to properly control the method of accessing the storage media depending on the process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] It is an object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for processing data without encountering the problems described above.

[0011] It is another object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for processing data, capable of processing input data in various applications wherein the process is performed in a highly efficient manner depending on the application.

[0012] It is another object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for processing data wherein a process which is common to a plurality of applications is performed by a common program.

[0013] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for processing data, capable of storing input data in a properly selected storage device depending on the process.

[0014] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for processing data, capable of storing input data in a properly selected manner depending on the process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] These and other objects and features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0016]FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a network system including various devices and apparatus connected to each other according to an embodiment of the invention;

[0017]FIG. 2 is a block diagram generally illustrating an image processing apparatus;

[0018]FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating an external appearance of a scanner unit and that of a printer unit;

[0019]FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram illustrating a control panel;

[0020]FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating a scanner image processor;

[0021]FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a printer image processor;

[0022]FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating an image compression unit;

[0023]FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating an image rotation unit;

[0024]FIG. 9 is a schematic representation of addressing performed by the image rotation unit to rotate image data;

[0025]FIG. 10 is a schematic representation of the process of writing data performed by the image rotation unit during the image rotation process;

[0026]FIG. 11 is a block diagram illustrating a device I/F;

[0027]FIG. 12 is a block diagram generally illustrating the software used in the image processing apparatus;

[0028]FIG. 13 is a block diagram illustrating applications associated with the processes according to the embodiment of the invention;

[0029]FIG. 14 is a schematic diagram illustrating a control screen displayed on an LCD display device of the control panel;

[0030]FIG. 15 is a schematic diagram illustrating an ID input screen for inputting ID data;

[0031]FIG. 16 is a schematic diagram illustrating an error screen which is displayed when an error occurs;

[0032]FIG. 17 is a schematic diagram illustrating a COPY main screen which is displayed in a COPY mode;

[0033]FIG. 18 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen where a list of printers is displayed;

[0034]FIG. 19 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen where a list of image qualities is displayed;

[0035]FIG. 20 is a schematic diagram illustrating a subscreen for setting a scaling factor;

[0036]FIG. 21 is a schematic diagram illustrating a subscreen for selecting paper;

[0037]FIG. 22 is a schematic diagram illustrating a subscreen for setting a sorter;

[0038]FIG. 23 is a schematic diagram illustrating a subscreen for setting a two-sided copying operation;

[0039]FIG. 24 is a schematic diagram illustrating a SEND main screen which is displayed in a SEND mode;

[0040]FIG. 25 is a schematic diagram illustrating the initial state of the SEND main screen which is displayed in the initial state in the SEND mode;

[0041]FIG. 26 is a schematic diagram illustrating a full keyboard displayed on the screen for inputting information;

[0042]FIG. 27 is a schematic diagram illustrating an address book screen for displaying and selecting addresses;

[0043]FIG. 28 is a schematic diagram illustrating detailed information about an address displayed on the screen;

[0044]FIG. 29 is a schematic diagram illustrating a display screen for retrieving an address;

[0045]FIG. 30 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of classes of addresses to be retrieved is displayed;

[0046]FIG. 31 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of attributes to be retrieved is displayed;

[0047]FIG. 32 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of retrieval conditions is displayed;

[0048]FIG. 33 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of address books to be searched is displayed;

[0049]FIG. 34 is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a screen on which retrieved addresses are displayed;

[0050]FIG. 35 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for inputting a new destination in the SEND mode;

[0051]FIG. 36 is a schematic diagram illustrating a ten key keyboard displayed on the screen, for inputting a telephone number or the like;

[0052]FIG. 37 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for inputting detailed information of a destination in the person class;

[0053]FIG. 38 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for inputting detailed information of a destination in the database class;

[0054]FIG. 39 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for inputting detailed information of a destination in the group class;

[0055]FIG. 40 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for setting a hard disk;

[0056]FIG. 41 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for setting printing conditions;

[0057]FIG. 42 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of paper sizes is displayed;

[0058]FIG. 43 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of sorters is displayed;

[0059]FIG. 44 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for setting scanning parameters;

[0060]FIG. 45 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of paper sizes is displayed in the form of a pull-down menu on the scanning parameter setting screen;

[0061]FIG. 46 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of resolutions is displayed in the form of a pull-down menu on the scanning parameter setting screen;

[0062]FIG. 47 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of scanning modes is displayed in the form of a pull-down menu on the scanning parameter setting screen;

[0063]FIG. 48 is a schematic diagram illustrating a RETRIEVE main screen (WWW subscreen) which is displayed in a RETRIEVE mode;

[0064]FIG. 49 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen on which a list of bookmarks is displayed;

[0065]FIG. 50 is a schematic diagram illustrating an E-mail subscreen;

[0066]FIG. 51 is a schematic diagram illustrating a facsimile subscreen;

[0067]FIG. 52 is a schematic diagram illustrating a FTP server subscreen;

[0068]FIG. 53 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for setting printing conditions in the RETRIEVE mode;

[0069]FIG. 54 is a schematic diagram illustrating a TASKS main screen which is displayed in a TASKS mode;

[0070]FIG. 55 is a schematic diagram illustrating a screen for setting detailed conditions of a WWW task;

[0071]FIG. 56 is a schematic diagram illustrating a check time subscreen for setting the time at which a specified task is executed;

[0072]FIG. 57 is a schematic diagram illustrating a check time subscreen for setting the day of week and the time when a specified task is executed;

[0073]FIG. 58 is a schematic diagram illustrating a check time subscreen for setting the day of every month when a specified task is executed;

[0074]FIG. 59 is a schematic diagram illustrating a management subscreen which is displayed in a MGMT mode;

[0075]FIG. 60 is a schematic diagram illustrating a configuration subscreen which is displayed in a CONFIG mode;

[0076]FIG. 61 is a schematic diagram illustrating a document information service (data processing among the job manager, print manger, and scan manager);

[0077]FIG. 62 is a schematic diagram illustrating the process associated with a database and a counter in the document information service;

[0078]FIG. 63 is a block diagram illustrating hardware involved in the scanning operation of the scanner;

[0079]FIG. 64 is a block diagram illustrating software involved in the scanning operation of the scanner;

[0080]FIG. 65 is a schematic diagram illustrating a parameter table used in the scanning operation;

[0081]FIG. 66 is a block diagram illustrating hardware involved in the printing operation of the printer;

[0082]FIG. 67 is a timing chart illustrating the operation of transferring print image data;

[0083]FIG. 68 is a schematic diagram illustrating a print parameter register of an engine I/F board;

[0084]FIG. 69 is a schematic diagram illustrating communication commands (setting command, control command, status command) used in communication between the printer and the engine I/F board;

[0085]FIG. 70 is a schematic diagram illustrating the structure of a file identifier for identifying an image data file to be processed;

[0086]FIG. 71 is a flowchart illustrating the process of determining the file identifier in the scanning operation of scanning a document;

[0087]FIG. 72 is a flowchart illustrating the process of analyzing the scan request; and

[0088]FIG. 73 is a flowchart illustrating the process of outputting image data stored in a memory.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0089] The present invention is described in further detail below with reference to a preferred embodiment in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

[0090]FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram generally illustrating a network system including various devices and apparatus connected to each other according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0091] In FIG. 1, reference numeral 1001 denotes an image processing apparatus according to the present embodiment. This image processing apparatus includes a scanner, a printer, and other devices, which will be described later. Document image data obtained via the scanner can be output over a local area network (LAN). Conversely, image data received via the LAN can be printed on a copying sheet using the printer. Furthermore, a document image input via the scanner can be transmitted over a public network such as PSTN or ISDN using a facsimile transmission module and an image received via the public network such as PSTN or ISDN can be printed using the printer.

[0092] In the system shown FIG. 1, a database server 1002 stores and manages two-level or multilevel image data input via the image processing apparatus 1001. A database client 1003 can retrieve and read the image data stored in the database server 1002.

[0093] An E-mail server 1004 can receive an image input to the image processing apparatus 1001 as data attached to an E-mail.

[0094] An E-mail client 1005 is a computer terminal having an E-mail capability for receiving and transmitting E-mail via the E-mail server 1004.

[0095] A WWW server 1006 provides HTML documents over the LAN. The image processing apparatus 1001 can print HTML documents provided by the WWW server.

[0096] The LAN 1010 is connected to Internet/intranet 1012 via a router 1011. Devices 1020, 1021, 1022, and 1023 similar to the above-described database server 1002, the WWW server 1006, the E-mail server 1004, and the image processing apparatus 1001, respectively, are also connected to the Internet/intranet 1012.

[0097] The image processing apparatus 1001 can communicate with a facsimile machine 1031 via a PSTN/ISDN 1030. Furthermore, a printer 1040 is connected to the LAN so that an image input to the image processing apparatus 1001 can be printed by the printer 1040.

[0098] The construction and operation of the image processing apparatus 1001 is described in detail below in terms of hardware and also software.

[0099] 1. Hardware

[0100] 1.1 General Construction

[0101]FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating the general construction of the image processing apparatus 1001.

[0102] A controller unit 2000 is connected to devices such as a scanner 2070 serving as an image input device (for scanning the image of a document) and a printer 2095 serving as an image output device (for outputting an image in a visible form) and also connected to a LAN 2011 (LAN 1010) and a public network (WAN) 2051 (PSTN/ISDN 1030) so as to control the input/output operation of image information and device information.

[0103] A CPU 2001 serves as a controller for controlling the operation over the entire image processing apparatus shown in FIG. 2. A RAM 2002 serves as a system work memory used by the CPU 2001 and also as an image memory for temporarily storing image data. A ROM 2003 is a boot ROM storing a boot program used by the image processing apparatus. A HDD 2004 is a hard disk drive for storing a system software program and image data.

[0104] A control panel I/F 2006 serves as an interface for a control panel 2012, for outputting image data to the control panel 2012. The control panel I/F 2006 also serves to transfer information input by a user via the control panel 2012 to the CPU 2001.

[0105] A network I/F 2010 serves to connect the image processing apparatus to the LAN 2011 including a plurality of terminals so as to make it possible to input and output information via the LAN 2011. A modem 2050 serves to connect the image processing apparatus to a public network 2051 so as to make it possible to input and output information via the public network 2051.

[0106] The devices described above are connected to a system bus 2007.

[0107] The system bus 2007 is connected to an image bus 2008 via an image bus I/F 2005 serving as a bus bridge for converting the data structure. The image bus 2008 may be realized using a PCI bus or an IEEE1394 bus.

[0108] The following devices are located on the image bus 2008.

[0109] That is, one device is a raster image processor (RIP) 2060 for converting a PDL code to a bit map image. Another device is a device I/F 2020 for connecting the scanner 2070 and the printer 2095, serving as image input/output devices, to the controller 2000 whereby image data can be transferred in a synchronous or asynchronous fashion between the image input/output devices and the controller 2000. Furthermore, a scanner image processor 2080 performs correction, edition, and other processing on the input image data, and a printer image processor 2090 performs correction, resolution conversion, and other processing on the image data to be output, depending on the characteristics of the printer. An image rotation unit 2030 is used to rotate image data and an image compression/decompression unit 2040 performs compression/decompression on image data according to the JPEG standard from multi-level image data and according to the JBIG, MMR, or MH technique for two-level image data.

[0110] 1.2 Image Input/Output Device

[0111]FIG. 3 is an external view of an image input/output device, wherein similar reference numerals denote similar parts to those described above. In any other figures, similar reference numerals are used to denote similar parts.

[0112] A scanner 2070 serving as an image input device scans a document illuminated with light and senses the image thereof using a CCD line sensor (not shown) thereby generating raster image data in the form of an electric signal corresponding to the original image of the document. Documents are placed on a tray 2073 of a document feeder 2072. If a user issues a scan start command via a control panel 2012, a controller CPU 2001 sends a command to the scanner 2070 to feed one document at a time from the feeder and scan the image of the fed document.

[0113] A printer 2095 serving as an image output device converts the raster image data 2096 in the form of an electric signal to a corresponding visible image on a sheet of paper. The printer 2095 may be realized in any form such as an electrophotograchic printer with a photosensitive drum or belt, or an ink-jet printer in which ink is emitted from a small-nozzle array thereby directly forming an image on a sheet of paper. A printing operation is started if a command 2096 is issued by the controller CPU 2001. The printer 2095 includes a stack of paper feeders in which paper cassettes 2101, 2102, 2103, and 2104 are placed so that paper with a desired size and/or direction can be fed from a selected paper cassette. Printed paper is fed onto an output tray 2111.

[0114] 1.3 Control Panel

[0115]FIG. 4 illustrates the outline of the construction of the control panel 2012.

[0116] An LCD display 2013 has a touch panel sheet attached to an LCD screen. The LCD display 2013 displays a control screen on which a user can issue an operation command to the image processing apparatus. If a key displayed on the screen is pressed, the positional information of the key is sent to the controller CPU 2001. On the basis of this positional information, the CPU 2001 can determine what command is issued by the user. The CPU 2001 changes the contents displayed on the LCD display 2013 as required.

[0117] A start key 2014 is used to start the operation of scanning the image of a document. A two-color (green and red) LED 2018 is disposed in the center of the start key 2014 so that a user can determine whether the start key 2014 is in an enabled or disabled state judging from the color of the LED 2018. A stop key 2015 is used to stop the operation of the image processing apparatus during processing. An identification key 2016 is used to input a user identification. A reset key 2017 is used to reset the setting made via the control panel 2012 to an initial state. The above-described keys 2014-2017 are hard keys.

[0118] 1.4 Scanner Image Processor

[0119]FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating the construction of the scanner image processor 2080.

[0120] An image bus I/F controller 2081 is connected to the image bus 2008 so that it serves to control the bus access sequence and also control the operation, including the timing control, of various devices of the scanner image processor 2080.

[0121] A filtering processing unit 2082 is a spatial filter for performing a convolution operation on image data. An editor 2083 performs an editing operation on input image data. For example, the editor 2083 detects, from the input image data, an area enclosed in a closed line marked on the document with a marker pen, and then performs various processes, such as shading, crosshatching, and negative-positive inverting on the image data within the closed area. When the resolution of the image data is changed, a scaling unit 2084 scales the image data up or down by performing interpolation on the raster image in the main scanning direction. Scaling in the subscanning direction is performed by changing the scanning speed of an image line sensor (not shown). A table 2085 is a conversion table which is referred to when image data representing luminance obtained by scanning is converted to data representing intensity. A binarization unit 2086 converts input multilevel gray-scale image data to two-level data by means of screening or error diffusion processing.

[0122] After completion of the above-described process, the image data is transmitted over the image bus 2008 via the image bus controller 2081.

[0123] 1.5 Printer Image Processor

[0124]FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating the construction of the printer image processor 2090.

[0125] An image bus I/F controller 2091 is connected to the image bus 2008 so that it serves to control the bus access sequence and also control the operation, including the timing control, of various devices of the scanner image processor 2090. A resolution converter 2092 converts the resolution of image data received via the network I/F 2011 or the public line 2051 so that it matches resolution required by the printer 2095. A smoothing unit 2093 smooths out jaggies (appearing at a white/black boundary such as an oblique line) of image data converted in resolution.

[0126] 1.6 Image Compression Unit

[0127]FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating the construction of the image compression unit 2040.

[0128] An image bus I/F controller 2041 is connected to the image bus 2008 so that it serves to control the operation in terms of the bus access sequence, the timing of data transmission to/from an input buffer 2042 and an output buffer 2045, and the setting of the operation mode of an image compression unit 2043. The process performed in the image compression unit 2043 is described below.

[0129] The CPU 2001 sets the image bus I/F controller 2041 via the image bus 2008 in terms of the conditions of the image compression. In accordance with the setting made by the CPU 2001, the image bus I/F controller 2041 sets the image compression unit 2043 in terms of the conditions of the image compression (such as MMR compression, JBIG decompression, etc.). After completion of the above-described settings, the CPU 2001 enables the image bus I/F controller 2041 to transfer image data. If the image bus I/F controller 2041 is enabled to transfer image data, it starts to transfer image data from the RAM 2002 or another device connected to the image bus 2008. The received image data is temporarily stored in the input buffer 2042. In response to an image data request, the image data is transferred at a fixed speed from the input buffer 2042 to the image compression unit 2043. In this transfer operation, the input buffer 2042 determines whether it is allowed to transfer image data between the image bus I/F controller 2041 and the image compression unit 2043. If it is not allowed to read image data from the image bus 2008 and write it into the image compression unit 2043, the input buffer 2042 does not transfer image data (this method of transferring data is referred to as handshaking). The image compression unit 2043 temporarily stores the received image data in a RAM 2044. If the amount of image data stored in the RAM 2044 becomes sufficient to perform image compression (the required amount of image data is a few line data., although it depends on the image compression technique), the image compression unit 2043 performs image compression using the image data stored in the RAM 2044. The compressed image data is immediately transmitted to the output buffer 2045. The output buffer 2045 transfers the image data to the image bus I/F controller 2041 while handshaking with the image bus I/F controller 2041 and also with the image compression unit 2043. The image bus I/F controller 2041 transfers the received image data in the compressed (or discompressed) form to the RAM 2002 or another device connected to the image bus 2008. The sequence of operations described above is performed repeatedly until there is no more processing request issued from the CPU 2001 (after having processed a required number of pages) or a stop request is issued from the image compression unit (because an error occurs in the compression/decompression process or for another reason).

[0130] 1.7 Image Rotation Unit

[0131]FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating the construction of the image rotation unit 2030.

[0132] An image bus I/F controller 2031 is connected to the image bus 2008 so that it serves to control the operation in terms of the bus access sequence, the setting of the operation mode of the image rotation unit 2032, and the timing of data transmission to/from the image rotation unit 2032. The process performed in the image rotation unit is described below.

[0133] The CPU 2001 sets the image bus I/F controller 2031 via the image bus 2008 in terms of the conditions of the image rotation. In accordance with the setting made by the CPU 2001, the image bus I/F controller 2031 sets the image rotation unit 2032 in terms of the conditions of the image rotation (such as an image size, rotation direction, rotation angle). After completion of the above-described settings, the CPU 2001 enables the image bus I/F controller 2031 to transfer image data. If the image bus I/F controller 2031 is enabled to transfer image data, it starts to transfer image data from the RAM 2002 or another device connected to the image bus 2008. Herein it is assumed that data has a size of 32 bits and the image has a size of 32×32 bits and also that the image data is transmitted via the image bus 2008 in units of 32 bits (each pixel can have either one of two levels).

[0134] To obtain an image with a size of 32×32 bits, it is required to transfer a unit of data 32 times wherein the image data is transferred from discontinuous addresses (refer to FIG. 9).

[0135] The image data transferred by means of discontinuous addressing is written into the RAM 2033 so that the image data having a desired rotation can be obtained when the image data is read from the RAM 2033. For example, when it is desired to obtain an image rotated by 90° in a counterclockwise direction, the original 32-bit image data is written in the Y direction as shown in FIG. 10. If this image data is read along the X direction, the resultant image is rotated relative to the original image.

[0136] After completion of the rotation process (writing into the RAM 2033) for the image with the size of 32 ×32 bits, the image rotation unit 2032 reads the image data from the RAM 2033 in the above-described manner and transmits the obtained data to the image bus I/F controller 2031.

[0137] The image bus I/F controller 2031 transfers the received image data in the rotated form, by means of continuous addressing, to the RAM 2002 or another device connected to the image bus 2008.

[0138] The sequence of operations described above is repeatedly performed until no more processing requests are issued from the CPU 2001 (because a required number of pages have been processed).

[0139] 1.8 Device I/F

[0140]FIG. 11 illustrates the construction of the device I/F 2020.

[0141] An image bus I/F controller 2021 is connected to the image bus 2008 so that is serves to control the bus access sequence and also control the operation, including timing control, of various devices of the device I/F 2020. The image bus I/F controller 2021 also generates a control signal to the external scanner 2070 and the external printer 2095. A scan buffer 2022 temporarily stores image data received from the scanner 2070 and outputs the image data in synchronization with the image bus 2008. A serial-parallel/parallel-serial converter 2023 combines or breaks down the image data stored in the scan buffer 2022 so as to convert the image data into a form having a data width which matches the image bus 2008. A parallel-serial/serial-parallel converter 2024 breaks down or combines the image data received from the image bus 2008 so as to convert the image data into a form having a data width which matches the print buffer 2025. The print buffer 2025 temporarily stores the image data received from the image bus 2008 and outputs it in synchronization with the printer 2095.

[0142] The procedure of scanning an image is now described below.

[0143] The image data transmitted from the scanner 2070 is stored in the scan buffer 2022 in synchronization with the timing signal transmitted from the scanner 2070. In the case where a PCI bus is employed as the image bus 2008, when the amount of the image data stored in the buffer becomes 32 bits or more, 32-bit image data is transferred in a first-in first-out fashion from the buffer to the serial-parallel/parallel-serial converter 2023, which in turn converts the received data into 32-bit image data and transmits the resultant image data over the image bus 2008 via the image bus I/F controller 2021. On the other hand, when an IEEE1394 bus is employed as the image bus 2008, the image data stored in the buffer is transferred in a first-in first-out fashion to the serial-parallel/parallel-serial converter 2023, which in turns converts the received data to serial image data and transmits the resultant data over the image bus 2008 via the image bus I/F controller 2021.

[0144] The image printing operation is described below.

[0145] In the case where the image bus 2008 is realized by a PCI bus, the image bus I/F controller transfers 32-bit image data received via the image bus to the parallel-serial/serial-parallel converter 2024, which in turn breaks down the image data into bits matching the input data of the printer 2095. The resultant data is stored in the print buffer 2025. On the other hand, when the image bus 2008 is realized by an IEEE1394 bus, the image bus I/F controller transfers serial image data received via the image bus to the parallel-serial/serial-parallel converter 2024, which in turn converts the image data in such a manner as to have bits matching the input data of the printer 2095. The resultant data is stored in the print buffer 2025. The image data stored in the buffer is transferred in a first-in first-out fashion to the printer 2095 in synchronization with the timing signal transmitted from the printer 2095.

[0146] 2. Software

[0147] 2.1 General Construction of Software Blocks

[0148]FIG. 12 is a software block diagram of the image processing apparatus 1001.

[0149] A user interface (UI) 1501 serves as a module for interfacing with various devices in the image processing apparatus when a user performs various operations or settings. In response to an operation performed by the user, this module transmits input information to various modules which will be described later so as to issue a processing request or a data setting command.

[0150] In FIG. 12, reference numeral 1502 denotes an address book which is a database module for managing the destination of data. In accordance with the operation information given by the UI 1501, data is added, deleted, and/or acquired to/from the address book 1502 thereby giving information about the data destination specified by the user to various modules which will be described later. The address book stores data representing the data formats, the types of images allowed to be transmitted, and the resolutions, in relation to the respective destinations.

[0151] In response to a request from a web client, a web server module 1503 transmits management information associated with the image processing apparatus to the web client. The management information is read via a control API 1518, which will be described later, and is transmitted to the web client via an HTTP module 1512, a TCP/IP module 1516, and a network driver 1517, which will be described later.

[0152] A universal sending module 1504 serves to send various data. That is, the universal sending module 1504 sends data specified by the user via the UI 1501 to a destination specified by the user. In the case where the user issues a command requesting that data to be sent should be generated by the scanner function of the image processing apparatus, the data is generated by operating devices via the control API 1518 which will be described later.

[0153] A printer module 1505 is executed when the universal sending module 1504 designates the printer as the destination of image data.

[0154] An E-mail module 1506 is executed when the universal sending module 1504 designates an E-mail address as the destination of image data.

[0155] A database module 1507 is executed when the universal sending module 1504 designates the database as the destination of image data.

[0156] A DP module 1508 is executed when the universal sending module 1504 designates an apparatus similar to the present image processing apparatus as the destination of image data.

[0157] A remote copy scan module 1509 is executed when image data is generated by the scanner function of the present image processing apparatus and the resultant image data is transmitted to another apparatus connected via a network or the like thereby performing a process similar to a copy process which can be performed by the present image processing apparatus itself.

[0158] A remote copy print module 1509 is executed when image data is input to the image processing apparatus from another apparatus connected via a network or the like and the image data is output using the printer function of the present image processing apparatus thereby performing a process similar to a copy process which can be performed by the present image processing apparatus itself.

[0159] A web pull print module 1511 reads home page information via the Internet or an intranet and prints the obtained information.

[0160] An HTTP module 1512 is used when communication is performed in accordance to the HTTP. This module allows the web server 1503 and the web pull print module 1511 to perform communication via a TCP/IP module 1516 which will be described later.

[0161] An Ipr module 1513 allows the printer module 1505 in the universal sending module 1504 to perform communication according to the Ipr via the TCP/IP 1516 which will be described later.

[0162] An SMTP module 1514 allows the E-mail module 1505 in the universal sending module 1504 to perform communication according to the SMTP via the TCP/IP 1516 which will be described later.

[0163] A salutation manager module 1515 allows the database module 1517, the DP module 1518, the remote copy scan module 1509, and the remote copy print module 1510, in the universal sending module 1504, to perform communication according to the salutation architecture.

[0164] A TCP/IP communication module 1516 allows various modules described above to perform network communication in accordance with the TCP/IP via a network driver 1517 which will be described later.

[0165] The network driver 1517 controls physical devices connected to the network.

[0166] The control API 1518 provides an interface between an upstream module, such as an universal sending module 1504, and a downstream module such as a job manager 1519 which will be described later. The control API 1518 allows a reduction in the degree of dependence between upstream and downstream modules thereby allowing the modules to be used in a more general manner.

[0167] The job manager 1519 interprets a processing command given by various modules described above via the control API 1518, and transmits a command to various modules which will be described later. This job manager manages various processes performed by hardware of the image processing apparatus, in a centralized fashion.

[0168] A CODEC manager 1520 controls and manages the data compression/decompression process, of various processes requested by the job manager 1519.

[0169] An FBE encoder 1521 compresses data input via the scanning process performed by the job manager 1519 and the scan manager 1524 into the FBE format.

[0170] A JPEG CODEC 1522 performs JPEG compression on input data or performs JPEG mapping on data to be printed, during the reading and scanning process performed by the job manager 1519 and the scan manager 1524 and during the printing process performed by the print manager 1526.

[0171] An MMR CODEC 1523 performs MMR compression on input data or performs MMR decompression on data to be printed, during the reading and scanning process performed by the job manager 1519 and the scan manager 1524 and during the printing process performed by the print manager 1526.

[0172] The scan manager 1524 manages and controls the reading and scanning process commanded by the job manager 1519.

[0173] A SCSI driver 1525 performs communication between the scan manager 1524 and a scanner unit provided in the image processing apparatus.

[0174] The print manager 1526 manages and controls the printing process commanded by the job manager 1519.

[0175] An engine I/F driver 1527 provides an interface between the print manager 1526 and the printer.

[0176] A parallel port driver 1528 provides an interface between the web pull print module 1511 and an external output device (not shown in FIG. 12) when the web pull print module 1511 outputs data to the output device via a parallel port.

[0177] Of various modules described above, only particular modules required to drive desired devices may be set and used.

[0178] 2.2 Applications

[0179] A built-in applications according to the present embodiment are described below with reference to some figures.

[0180]FIG. 13 is a block diagram illustrating built-in applications used in the processes according to the present embodiment. In FIG. 13, a large block on the left side of the figure includes applications in which the image processing apparatus 1001 mainly serves as a sending device (master device or active device), and a large block on the right side of the figure includes applications in which the image processing apparatus 1001 mainly serves as a receiving device (slave device or passive device). In this figure, similar reference numerals, device names, and other terms are used in a similar fashion to those used in the previous figures. Of various applications described below, only some applications required for desired devices may be set and used.

[0181] A block 4050 is a user interface application block in which a process associated with the address book 4051 is also performed.

[0182] A block 4100 is involved in the process performed by a sending device (reading device) in a remote copy application.

[0183] A block 4150 is involved in the broadcast process performed by the sending device.

[0184] A block 4200 is involved in the process performed by the web pull print module.

[0185] A block 4250 is involved in the process performed by the web server module.

[0186] A block 4300 is involved in the process performed by a receiving device (printer device) in the remote copy process.

[0187] A block 4350 is involved in the process of receiving and printing image data transmitted by means of broadcasting, using a general-purpose printer.

[0188] A block 4400 is involved in the remote print process performed by a receiving device (printer device).

[0189] A block 4450 is involved in the process performed by a notes server, which is known in the art, to receive and store image data transmitted by means of broadcasting.

[0190] A block 4500 is involved in the process performed by the database module to receive and store image data transmitted by means of broadcasting.

[0191] A block 4550 is involved in the process performed by a mail server module, which is known in the art, to receive and store image data transmitted by means of broadcasting.

[0192] A block 4600 is involved in the process performed by a database module to receive and store image data (multilevel image data)transmitted by means of broadcasting.

[0193] A block 4650 is a web server module containing information contents and having functions known in the art.

[0194] A block 4700 is a web browser module having various functions, which are known in the art, required to access the web server.

[0195] Various applications are described in further detail below with reference to the associated blocks.

[0196] 2.2.1 User Interface Applications

[0197] The functions of the user interface block 4050 have already been described in detail earlier. The address book 4051 functions as follows. The address book is stored in a nonvolatile storage device (a hard disk or a nonvolatile memory with battery backup). The address book includes data representing the features and characteristics of devices connected to the network. Specific examples are shown below.

[0198] Formal names of devices and their aliases

[0199] Network addresses of devices

[0200] Network protocols that devices can accept

[0201] Document formats that devices can accept

[0202] Compression types that devices can accept

[0203] Image resolution that devices can accept

[0204] Paper sizes and information about paper feeders, if a device is a printer

[0205] Names of folders in which a document can be stored, if a device is a server (computer)

[0206] In the applications described below, the features and characteristics of devices can determine the feature and characteristics of destinations on the basis of the information described in the address book 4051.

[0207] The user can edit the address book. An address book may also be downloaded from a server computer on the network. Furthermore, an address book stored in a server computer on the network may be directly referred to.

[0208] 2.2.2 Remote Copy Application

[0209] The remote copy application determines the resolution that the device designated as the destination on the basis of the information described in the address book 4051 and compresses the image data (two-level image data) obtained via the scanner using the MMR compression technique known in the art depending on the resolution. The image data is then converted into the TIFF (tagged image file format) form and transmitted via the SLM 4103 to the printer connected to the network (4100). Although not described in detail here, the SLM 4103 is one of network protocols, known as a salutation manager (or smart link manager) containing device control information.

[0210] 2.2.3 Broadcast Application

[0211] Unlike the remote copy application, the broadcast application can transmit document image data obtained via one scanning operation to a plurality of destinations (4150). The destinations are not limited to printer devices but server computers can also be destinations to which data is directly transmitted.

[0212] The operation is described below for the respective destinations.

[0213] In the case where it is determined from the data described in the address book 4051 that a destination device is capable of communicate using the network printer protocol LPD (Line Printer Daemon) and also capable of accepting printer control commands described in the LIPS, an image is read in accordance with the image resolution determined also from the address book 4051 and the obtained image data is compressed according to the FBE (First Binary Encoding) technique in this specific embodiment. The compressed image data is then coded according to the LIPS and the resultant data is transmitted to the destination device using the LPR which is one of known network printer protocol (4350).

[0214] In the case where a destination device is a server capable of communicating via the SLM, the address of the server and the designated folder in the server are detected from the address book 4051, and image data (two-level image data) obtained via a scanner is compressed according to the MMR technique and converted into the TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) form, as in the remote copy application. The resultant image data is stored in a particular folder of the server connected to the network (4500).

[0215] When image data is transferred from the present image processing apparatus 1001 to a server which is determined, from the address book, to be capable of accepting multilevel image data compressed according to the JPEG standard, multilevel image data obtained in a similar manner to the two-level image data described above is compressed according to the JPEG standard and converted into a JFIF form. The resultant image data is then stored in a particular folder of the server connected to the network.

[0216] In the case where a destination device is an E-mail server, its mail address is detected from the address book 4051. Two-level image data obtained via the scanner is compressed according to the MMR technique and converted into the TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) form. The resultant image data is transmitted to the E-mail server using the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) 4153 which is well known in the art. After that, the image data is further transmitted from the E-mail server using the mail server module 4550.

[0217] 3. User Interface

[0218] The user interface application is now described below.

[0219]FIG. 4 illustrates the outline of the user interface.

[0220] 3.1 Control Screen

[0221] The functions provided by the image processing apparatus 1001 can be classified into six categories: Copy, Send, Retrieve, Tasks, Management, and Configuration, which correspond to six main tabs, COPY, SEND, RETRIEVE, TASKS, MGMT, CONFIG (3011-3016) displayed at the top of the control screen (refer to FIG. 14). If one of main tabs is pressed (via a touch panel), a screen corresponding to the selected category appears. If the selected category is not allowed, the color of the pressed tab changes and no other responses occur.

[0222] The category “Copy” includes the function, similar to that provided by a stand-alone copying machine, of making a copy of a document using the scanner and the printer included in the image processing apparatus, and also includes the function of making a copy of a document using the scanner included in the image processing apparatus and a printer connected to the image processing apparatus via the network.

[0223] The function “Send” sends an image of a document scanned by the scanner included in the image processing apparatus. The image data can be transmitted to devices such as a remote printer or into a database in a device via an E-mail, a facsimile, or an FTP. The data may be transmitted to a plurality of destinations, if desired.

[0224] “Retrieve” acquires a document from an external device and prints it using the printer included in the image processing apparatus. The document may be acquired via the WWW, an E-mail, the FTP (File Transfer Protocol), or facsimile transmission.

[0225] “Tasks” generates and manages tasks of automatically processing documents received from external devices via facsimile or the Internet and also tasks of periodically retrieving data.

[0226] “Management” manages the job address book, bookmarks, documents, and accounting information.

[0227] “Configuration” sets the image processing apparatus itself (in terms of the network, clock, etc.).

[0228] The method of setting these functions is described below with reference to LCD display screens.

[0229] 3.2 ID Input Screen

[0230] When the electric power is turned on or when an ID key 2016 is pressed, an ID input window appears (refer to FIG. 15). If an “OK” button 3024 is pressed after correctly inputting a user ID and password via the ID input window, the above-described control screen appears, via which the user can controls the operation. The ID input box (3021) and the password input box (3022) can be selected by directly pressing a desired box. If an invalid (not authorized) ID or password is input, an error message is displayed on the screen as shown in FIG. 16.

[0231] 3.3 COPY Screen

[0232] When the COPY screen is displayed after selecting the COPY tab, if the start key 2014 is clicked, then the scanner starts to operate and copies of a document are output by a selected printer in accordance with the setting parameters (the scaling factor, the paper size, the number of copies) displayed on the screen.

[0233] The COPY main screen (refer to FIG. 17) includes a printer selection button (3103) and a printer indication box (3102), an image quality selection button (3105) and an image quality indication box (3104), a copy parameter indication box (3101) similar to that of a stand-alone copying machine, scaling factor setting buttons (3106, 3107), a paper selection button (3108), a sorter setting button (3110), a two-sided copy setting button (3112), an intensity indicator and an intensity setting button (3109), and a ten-key pad (3114).

[0234] If the printer selection button (3103) is pressed, a list of names of available printers (the printer included in the image processing apparatus and other printers connected via the network) is displayed in the form of a pull-down menu (refer to FIG. 18). If a desired printer is selected from the list, the list disappears and the selected printer name displayed in the printer indication box (3102).

[0235] If the image quality setting button (3105) is pressed, a list of image qualities (refer to FIG. 19) is displayed so that a desired image quality (photo mode, character/photo mixed mode, character mode) can be selected from the list.

[0236] If a copy parameter setting button is pressed, a subscreen for setting the conditions (scaling factor, paper selection, sorter setting, two-sided copying setting) corresponding to the pressed button appears, so that the parameters can be set as in a stand-alone copying machine. The intensity setting can also be performed in a similar manner.

[0237] 3.4 SEND Screen

[0238] In the SEND screen which appears when the SEND tab is pressed, if the start key 2014 is pressed after selecting a destination, then the scanner start to operate and the image data obtained via the scanner is transmitted to the selected destination by means of the designated transmission method. In the SEND mode, the information about the destination is given by character information and an icon indicating the category of the destination. Depending on the destination, an icon selected from a plurality of icons is displayed at a particular location assigned to that icon so that the category of the destination can be easily identified. This also makes it easy to select a destination and visually identify the selected destination.

[0239] The SEND main screen (refer to FIG. 24) includes a destination indication area (3202), a number-of-destinations indication area (3203), a destination scroll button (3204), an address book button (3208), a “New” button (3209), an “Edit” button (3210), a “Delete” button (3211), a subject input box (3205), a message input box (3206), a file name input box (3207), a “Cover Page” check button (3212), a “Put into HD” check button (3213), a “Print Out” check button (3214), and a scan setting button (3215). When the image processing apparatus is initialized for example by pressing a reset key 2017 (see FIG. 4), no destination is displayed in the destination indication box as shown in FIG. 25, but operation instructions are displayed.

[0240] The list of destinations displayed in the destination indication area (3202) includes destinations which have already been input. If a new destination is input, it is added at the end of the list. The number-of-destination indication area (3203) indicates the number of currently registered destinations.

[0241] If the Delete button (3211) is pressed after selecting a destination from the list displayed in the destination indication area, then the selected destination is deleted from the list.

[0242] The subject input box (3205), the message input box (3206), or the file name input box (3207) is pressed, a full keyboard is displayed as shown in FIG. 26 so that the user can input data via the full keyboard.

[0243] 3.5 Address Book Subscreen

[0244] If the address book button (3208) is pressed, an address book subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 27). After marking desired destinations with a selection mark (3232) on the address book display area (3221), if an “OK” button (3231) is pressed, then those marked destinations are added to the list of destinations displayed in the destination indication area (3202) of the SEND main screen. If one of setting buttons (3224-3226) is pressed, the list of destinations is sorted by the class (the type of output), the name in the ascending order, or the name in the descending order depending on the button pressed. The number-of-selected-destinations indication box (3227) indicates the number of destinations marked with a selection mark.

[0245] If the “OK” button (3231) or the “Cancel” button (3230) is pressed, the address book subscreen is closed, and the SEND main screen is displayed.

[0246] When one of destinations is selected in the address book, if the “Detail” button (3229) is pressed, then a detail subscreen is displayed (refer to FIG. 28) and all information about the selected destination extracted from the address book is displayed.

[0247] 3.6 Search Subscreen

[0248] If a “Search” button (3228) on the address book subscreen is pressed, a search subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 29) whereby the user can search the local address book provided in the image processing apparatus or an external address server for a particular destination. The upper area of the search subscreen is used to designate the searching conditions. The searching condition designation area includes a class indication box (3245), an attribute indication box (3247), a searching condition indication box (3249), and an address book indication box (3252) wherein current selections are displayed in these boxes. If a class setting button (3246) is pressed, a list of classes is displayed (refer to FIG. 30). If one of classes is selected from the list, the selected class is displayed in the class indication box. If an attribute setting button (3248) is pressed, a list of attributes is displayed (refer to FIG. 31). The contents of this list vary depending on the class selected, as described below:

[0249] common name, address, country (class=person)

[0250] common name, owner, location, model, type, resolution, color, finisher (class=printer)

[0251] common name, member (class=group)

[0252] all attributes (class=everything)

[0253] If a research condition setting button (3250) is pressed, a list of research conditions is displayed (refer to FIG. 32) so that the user can select a condition from the list. If an address book setting button (3253) is pressed, a list of address books is displayed (refer to FIG. 33) so that the user can select an address book from the list. If an attribute input box (3251) is pressed, a full keyboard is displayed (refer to FIG. 26) so that the user can input desired data via the full keyboard.

[0254] If a “Do Search” button (3254) is pressed, a searching operation is started in accordance with the specified search conditions. The search result is displayed in a search result indication area (3241) the number of obtained destinations is displayed in a number-of-retrieved-destinations indication area (3244).

[0255] When one destination is selected from those displayed in the search result indication area, if the “Detail” button (3255) is pressed, then detailed information (3235) about the selected destination is displayed.

[0256] If there are destinations which should be added to the list of destination, those destinations are marked with a selection mark (refer to FIG. 34). If the “OK” button (3257) is pressed, the search subscreen is closed and the SEND main screen is displayed in which the list of destinations includes those marked in the search process. In the case where the “Cancel” button (3256) is pressed, the search subscreen is closed and the SEND main screen is displayed without making any change in the list of destinations.

[0257] 3.7 Destination Subscreen

[0258] If the “New” button (3209) on the SEND main screen is pressed, then a person class subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 35) so that the user can input a new destination. If one of transmission method selection buttons (3271-3274) corresponding to transmission methods (E-mail, facsimile, printer, FTP) is pressed or one of destination input boxes (3275-3278) is pressed, then a ten-keyboard (FIG. 36) is displayed when the facsimile is selected as the transmission method or a full keyboard (FIG. 26) is displayed when any other transmission method is selected, thereby allowing the user to input data. Although not described in further detail here, there are also provided buttons 3279-3282 used to set the transmission options.

[0259] When a destination in the person class is selected on the SEND main screen, if the “Edit” button (3210) is selected, the person class subscreen also appears (refer to FIG. 37) and detailed information of the selected destination is displayed in the corresponding destination input box (3275-3278) (see FIG. 35). In this state, if a keyboard is displayed in the above-described manner, then it becomes possible to edit the destination.

[0260] When a destination in the database class is selected on the SEND main screen, if the “Edit” button “3210” is pressed, a database class subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 38) wherein a database name (3311) and a folder list (3312) are displayed on the database class.

[0261] When a destination in the group class is selected on the SEND main screen, if the “Edit” button (3210) is pressed, then a group class subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 39) and group members (3321) are displayed.

[0262] 3.8 HD Setting Subscreen

[0263] If a “Put into HD” check button (3213) is pressed, a HD setting subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 40) so that the user can set the conditions in which data is transmitted to a hard disk and stored thereon. When a “Put into HD” check button (3406) provided in common for all categories is pressed, the HD setting subscreen (FIG. 40) also appears and setting can be performed in a similar manner.

[0264] 3.9 Print-out Subscreen

[0265] If a “Print-out” check button (3214) is pressed, then a print-out subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 41) so that the user can set the number of copies to be printed, the paper size, the scaling factor, the two-sided copying conditions, the sorting conditions, and the resolution. If a paper size selection button (3345) is pressed, a list of paper sizes is displayed (refer to FIG. 42) so that the user can select a desired paper size from the list. If a sorter selection button (3350) is pressed, a list of available sorters is displayed (refer to FIG. 43).

[0266] 3.10 Scan Setting Subscreen

[0267] If a “Scan Setting” button (3215) is pressed, a scan setting subscreen appears (refer to FIG. 44). If one of scan settings is selected from the preset mode selection area (3371), the preset resolution, scan mode, and intensity are displayed in the corresponding indication areas (3377, 3379, 3381). These values can be changed by the user. FIG. 45 illustrates a screen on which a list of paper sizes is displayed in the form of a pull-down menu so that the user can select a paper size and a paper feeding direction from the list. FIGS. 46 and 47 illustrate screens where a list of resolutions and a list of scan modes are displayed, respectively, in the form of a pull-down menu.

[0268] 3.11 Retrieve Screen

[0269] The “RETRIEVE” main screen (FIG. 48) includes a “WWW” subtab (3401), an “E-Mail” subtab (3402), a “Fax” subtab (3403), an “FTP” subtab (3404), a “Put into HD” check button (3405) which is used in common in the respective subcategories, and a “PRINT SETTING” button (3406). If one of subtabs is pressed, a WWW, E-Mail, Fax, or FTP subscreen is displayed depending on the subtab pressed. When the image processing apparatus is initialized for example by pressing the reset key 2017, the WWW subscreen is displayed.

[0270] 3.12 WWW subscreen

[0271] When the WWW subscreen is displayed, if the start button is pressed, the contents of the designated home page is printed in accordance with the conditions displayed on the screen. However, if the start key 2014 is pressed when nothing is displayed in a URL input box.

[0272] If the URL input box (3411) displayed on the WWW subscreen (FIG. 48) is clicked, a full keyboard (FIG. 26) is displayed so that a URL address is directly input. If a “Link Depth” input box (3412) or a “Max Pages” input box (3414) is clicked, a ten keyboard (FIG. 36) is displayed so that numerals can be directly input.

[0273] 3.13 Bookmark Subscreen

[0274] If a “Bookmark” button (3419) is pressed, a bookmark subscreen (FIG. 49) appears. The bookmark subscreen includes a bookmark display area (3461) in which a list of bookmarks is displayed. If any line is clicked, the corresponding bookmark is selected. If an “OK” button (3466) is clicked, then the bookmark subscreen is closed and the WWW subscreen again appears wherein a URL address corresponding to the selected bookmark is displayed in the URL input box. The bookmark subscreen includes some other buttons, but their functions are not described here.

[0275] 3.14 E-Mail Subscreen

[0276] The E-mail subscreen (FIG. 50) is used to set conditions in which E-mail is received. If any input box (3431-3433) is clicked, a full keyboard (FIG. 26) is displayed thereby allowing the user to input data.

[0277] 3.14 Facsimile Subscreen

[0278] The facsimile subscreen (FIG. 50) is used to input a facsimile number. If an input box (3441) is clicked, a ten keyboard (FIG. 36) is displayed thereby allowing the user to input a facsimile number.

[0279] 3.15 FTP Server Subscreen

[0280] The FTP server subscreen (FIG. 52) is used to set conditions in which data is received from a server. If any input box (3451-3453) is clicked, a full keyboard (FIG. 26) is displayed thereby allowing the user to input data.

[0281] 3.15 Print Setting Subscreen

[0282] If a “Print Setting” button (3406) provided for common use in all categories is clicked, a print setting subscreen (FIG. 53) appears. This has functions similar to those of the print-out subscreen in the “SEND” screen.

[0283] 3.16 “TASKS” Screen

[0284] When the “TASKS” screen is displayed as a result of selecting the “TASKS” tab, if the “Start” key 2014 is clicked, then data is automatically retrieved according to the parameters set on the “TASKS” screen.

[0285] The “TASKS” main screen (FIG. 54) includes a “WWW” subtab (3501), an “E-Mail” subtab (3502), a “Print Receive” subtab (3503), a “Fax Receive” subtab (3504), and a “Fax Polling” subtab (3505). In the initial state immediately after starting the image processing apparatus or after resetting it by pressing the reset key (2017), a WWW subscreen (FIG. 55) is displayed.

[0286] 3.17 WWW Subscreen

[0287] The WWW subscreen includes a WWW task display area (3511) in which a list of tasks stored in the device is displayed in the same order in which they are input. Those tasks which should be actually executed are marked with a selection mark. Tasks which are not marked with a selection mark are not executed although they are stored in the device.

[0288] If a “New” button (3513) is clicked, a WWW task subscreen (FIG. 55) appears so that the user can input a new task. The WWW task subscreen is described in detail later.

[0289] If an “Edit” button (3514) is clicked after selecting one task from the WWW task list, the WWW task subscreen (FIG. 55) including information about the selected task is displayed so that the user can edit the setting.

[0290] After selecting a task from the WWW task list, if a “Delete” button (3515) is clicked, then the selected task is deleted.

[0291] 3.18 WWW Task Subscreen

[0292] The WWW task subscreen (FIG. 55) includes components (3521-3533) which are common for both the RETRIEVE main screen and the WWW subscreen in the RETRIEVE mode, a check time indication area (3534), a check time setting button (3535), a “Print When Changed” check button (3536), a transfer check button (3537), an “OK” button (3539), and a “Cancel” button (3538). The components which are similar to those in the “RETRIEVE” screen are not described here.

[0293] The check time indication area (3534) includes no data when the WWW task subscreen is opened by clicking the “New” button, but it indicates the time at which the task is set to be executed in the case where the WWW task subscreen is opened by clicking the “Edit” button. In the case where setting is performed on the check time subscreen which will be described later, the time at which the task is set to be executed is indicated.

[0294] If the check time setting button (3535) is clicked, then the check time subscreen which will be described later is displayed so that the user can set the time at which the task should be executed.

[0295] 3.19 Check Time Subscreen

[0296] The check time subscreen (FIGS. 56-58) includes a schedule mode setting buttons (3551-3553), a time input box (3554), an “OK” button (3558), and a “Cancel” button (3557). When a “Once” button (3551) of the schedule mode setting buttons is selected (refer to FIG. 56), a month inputting box (3555) and a date inputting box (3556) are displayed. When a “Weekly” button (3552) is selected (refer to FIG. 57), day-of-week check buttons (3561) are displayed. When a “Monthly” button (3553) is selected (refer to FIG. 58), a data input box (3571) is displayed. If any input box is clicked, then a ten keyboard (FIG. 36) is displayed so that the user can input numerals. A plurality of days of week can be selected by clicking a plurality of day-of-week check buttons.

[0297] 3.20 MGMT Screen

[0298]FIG. 59 illustrates a management screen which is displayed when the “MGMT” tab is selected. This screen indicates information of various items managed, although they are not further described herein.

[0299] 3.21 CONFIG Screen

[0300]FIG. 60 illustrates a configuration screen which indicates information about various settings of the image processing apparatus 1001 although they are not described in further herein.

[0301] 3.22 Full Keyboard

[0302] When a character input box is clicked, a full keyboard (FIG. 26) is displayed on the current screen (so that the character input box is not hidden by the full keyboard). If a “www.” button (3041) or a “com” button (3042) is clicked, a string of “www.” or “com” is input. These buttons are convenient because “www.” and “com” are frequently input. Other keys for providing well-known functions are not described here.

[0303] 3.23 Ten Keyboard

[0304] When a numeral input box or a month input box is clicked, a ten keyboard (FIG. 36) is displayed on the current screen (so that the numeral input box or the month input box is not hidden by the ten keyboard). The functions of keys are not described here.

[0305] 3.24 Error Screen

[0306] If some error occurs, an error screen appears as shown in FIG. 16.

[0307] The error screen includes a message indication area (3031) in which an error message in the form of a text is displayed and also includes an “OK” button (3032) used to close the error screen.

[0308] 4. Device Information Service (DIS)

[0309] Herein, a device information service (DIS) refers to a database including information about the setting values for jobs performed by the controller of the image processing apparatus 1001, functions of devices (scanner, printer), status, and accounting information in the form according to the control API. The DIS also include an I/F with that database. A similar program (a required part of the program) may also be installed in other apparatus to realize similar functions.

[0310]FIG. 61 illustrates data flow among the DIS 7102, the job manager 7101, and the document managers (the scan manager 7103, the print manager 7104).

[0311] Dynamic information such as a job start command is basically transmitted from the job manager 7101 directly to a document manager. On the other hand, static information such as device functions or contents of a job is obtained by referring to the DIS 7102. Static and dynamic information and events from the respective document managers are transmitted to the job manager 7101 via the DIS 7102.

[0312] When a document manager stores or reads data into/from the database of the DIS, it is required to convert the data format because the data format according to the control API is employed as the internal data format of the DIS. That is, it is required to convert the data format between the control API format and the format acceptable by the document managers. For example, when a document manager writes a status data in the DIS, the document manager interprets the data in a specific form employed in a specific device, and converts the data into the format defined in the control API. After that, the resultant data is written into the database of the DIS.

[0313] When the job manager writes or reads data into/from the database of the DIS, it is not required to convert the data format.

[0314] The DIS updates the event data in accordance with event information received from the document managers.

[0315]FIG. 62 illustrates various databases included in the DIS. The respective databases are described below. In FIG. 62, boxes with rounded corners denote databases.

[0316] A supervisor database 7201 includes general information about the image processing apparatus 1001 and also includes user information. Information such as a user ID or a password which needs backup is stored on a hard disk or in a nonvolatile storage device such as a backup memory.

[0317] Reference numeral 7202 denotes a scan component database, and 7203 denotes a print component database. One component database is created for each component, and stored in the DIS. For example, in the case of a device including only a printer, there is only a print component database. On the other hand, in the case of a device having a facsimile function, there is a facsimile component database. That is, when an apparatus does not have as many functions as the image processing apparatus 1001, only required components may be provided in the apparatus so as to achieve desired functions according to the invention. The functions and status of the respective component databases are set by the corresponding document managers when they are initialized.

[0318] Reference numeral 7204 denotes a scan job service database, and 7205 denotes a print job service database. The functions and supporting conditions of these job service databases are also set by the corresponding document managers when they are initialized, as in the case of the component databases.

[0319] The job database and the document database are described below. Reference numeral 7206 denotes a scan job database 7207 denotes a print job database, 7208 denotes a scan document database, and 7209 denotes a print document database.

[0320] Whenever a job and associated document are generated, the job manager dynamically creates a job database and a document database and initializes these databases thereby performing required settings. Before starting to execute a job, the document manager reads required information from the job database and the document database. The document then begins the job in accordance with the obtained information. When the job is completed, the job database and the associated document database are released. Because each job has one or more documents, a plurality of document databases may be created depending on the job.

[0321] Reference numeral 7210 denotes a database for storing event information received from the respective document managers. Reference numeral 7211 denotes a counter table for storing the data representing the number of scanning operations and the number of printing operations performed by the image processing apparatus 1001.

[0322] Events generated by the document managers includes status transitions of components, completion of a scanning process, various errors, generated by the scan document managers, and status transitions of components, completion of a printing process, paper jamming, and paper cassette opening generated by the print document manager. Event ID's are assigned to the respective events to identify these events.

[0323] When an event is issued by the document manager, the DIS writes the event ID assigned to the issued event and also the detailed data associated with the event, if necessary, into the event database 7211. On the other hand, when an event release message is issued by the document manager, the data of the specified event is removed from the event database 7211.

[0324] If the job manager issues an event of polling, the DIS refers to the event database 7211 and returns the event ID's of currently occurring events and detailed data associated with the events, if necessary, to the job manager. If there is no event, the DIS notifies the job manager that there is no event.

[0325] In the case where a scan process end event or print process end event is received, the DIS updates the count values of the users who have performed the scan or print operation. The count values of these software counters are stored in a nonvolatile storage device such as a battery-backup memory or an HD device so that the values are not lost even if a power failure occurs. The values are rewritten in the nonvolatile storage device whenever the values are updated.

[0326] 5. Scanning Operation

[0327] The scanning operation is described in detail below. Although in the following description it is assumed that a document is scanned by the scanner 2070 of the image processing apparatus 1001, a similar scanning operation may also be performed by another scanner.

[0328]FIG. 63 is a conceptual block diagram illustrating the scanning operation. A CPU 8101, a memory (semiconductor memory) 8102, an image compression/decompression board 8104, and a SCSI I/F circuit 8103 are connected to a PCI bus 8105. A scanner 8107 is connected to PCI bus 8105 via the SCSI I/F circuit 8103 wherein the scanner 8107 (or a scanner unit of a multifunctional copying machine) and the SCSI I/F circuit 8103 are connected to each other via a SCSI interface cable 8106.

[0329] Furthermore, an IDE controller 8108 is connected to the PCI bus 8105 and an IDE hard disk 8101 is connected to the IDE controller 8108 via an IDE cable 8109. FIG. 64 illustrates the software structure involved in the scanning operation. In FIG. 64, a job manager 8201 classifies application levels and stores them. A DIS 8208 stores parameters required by the application levels in the scanning operation. A request from an application is stored in the memory 8102. A scan manager 8203 acquires information required in the scanning operation from the job manager 8201 and the DIS 8202. The scan manager 8203 receives from the job manager 8201 a table data 8301 including a job number and a document number, shown in FIG. 65. On the basis of the table data 8301 including the job number and the document number, the scan manager 8203 receives scan parameters 8302. Thus the scanning conditions requested by the application are determined, and a document is scanned under these conditions thereby reading an image of the document.

[0330] The scan manager 8203 sends the scan parameters 8302 obtained from the DIS 8202 to a scan sequence controller 8204 in the order of document numbers. If the scan sequence controller 8204 receives the scan parameter 8302, the scan sequence controller 8204 controls a SCSI controller 8207 according to the scan image attribute 8308. The SCSI controller 8103 connected to the PCI bus 8105, shown in FIG. 63, sends a SCSI control command to the scanner 8107 via the SCSI cable 8106. In response, the scanner 8107 starts a scanning operation. The image data obtained via the scanning operation is transferred to the SCSI controller 8103 via the SCSI cable 8106 and further to the memory 8102 via the PCI bus 8105 and stored in the memory 8102. When the image data has been stored in the memory 8102 after completion of the scanning operation, the scan sequence controller 8204 issues a request to a compression/decompression unit 8205 to compress the image data stored in the memory 8102 in accordance with the scan image compression format 8309 included in the scan parameters 8302. Upon receipt of the request, the compression/decompression controller 8205 compresses the image data using the CODEC 8104 connected to the PCI bus 8105 in accordance with the scan image compression format 8309 specified by the scan sequence controller 8204. The compression/decompression controller 8205 stores the resultant compressed image data into the memory 8102 via the PCI bus 8105.

[0331] If the image data has been stored in the memory 8102 after being compressed by the compression/decompression controller 8205 in accordance with the scan image compression format 8309, the scan sequence controller 8204 converts the compressed image data stored in the memory 8102 into file data according to the image file type 8307 included in the scan parameters 8302. To this end, the scan sequence controller 8204 issues a request to a file system 8206 to convert the image data to file data according to the file format indicated by the image file type 8307 included in the scan parameters 8302. In response to the request, the file system 8206 converts the compressed image data stored in the memory 8102 to file data according to the image file type 8307 specified by the scan sequence controller 8204. The resultant file data is transferred to the IDE controller 8108 via the PCI bus 8105 and further to the IDE hard disk 8110 via the IDE cable 8109. When the file data has been stored on the IDE hard disk 8110 by the file system 8206, the scan sequence controller 8204 determines that the process for one document on the scanner 8107 has been completed, and the scan sequence controller 8204 send a scan end message to the scan manager 8203.

[0332] If the scanner 8107 has another documents to be scanned, and if there is another scan request from the job manager 8201, then the scan manager 8203 again issues a request to the scan sequence controller 8204 to perform a scanning operation according to the scan parameters 8302 stored in the DIS 8202.

[0333] If the scanner 8107 has no more documents to be scanned, or if there is no scan request from the job manager 8201, the scan manager determines that the scanning operation has been completed and issues a scan end message to the job manager 8201.

[0334] 6. Printing Operation

[0335] The printing operation is now described in detail below. Although in the following description it is assumed that an image is printed by the printer 2095 of the image processing apparatus 1001, a printing operation may also be performed in a similar manner by another printer.

[0336]FIG. 66 is a conceptual block diagram illustrating the printing operation. A CPU 9001, a memory 9002, an image compression/decompression board 9004, and an engine I/F board 9003 are connected to a PCI bus 9005. A printer 9007 is connected to PCI bus 9005 via the engine I/F board 9003 wherein the printer 9007 (or a printer unit of a multifunctional copying machine) and the engine I/F board 9003 are connected to each other via an engine interface cable 9006.

[0337] The engine I/F board includes a DPRAM so that setting of parameters of the printer, reading of the status of the printer, and transmission/reception of control commands to/from the printer are performed via the DPRAM. The engine I/F board also includes a video controller for transmitting image data on the PCI to the printer via the engine interface cable in synchronization with VCLK (video clock) and HSYNC signals given by the printer via the engine interface cable, as illustrated in the transmission timing diagram shown of FIG. 67. The VCLK signal is always generated, but the HSYNC signal is generated when the printer starts each line. The video controller reads image data with a specified width (WIDTH) from a specified memory (SOURCE) on the PCI and outputs the obtained image data as a video signal over the engine interface cable. After performing the above process for a specified number of lines (LINES), the video controller generates an IMAGE_END interruption.

[0338] As described above, when a print job request is sent from an application program on the CPU to the control API, the control API transfers the print job request to the job manager at the controller level. Furthermore, the job manager stores the data representing the setting of the job in the DIS, and sends a command to the print manager to start the job. Upon receipt of the job, the print manager reads the information required to execute the job from the DIS and sets the engine I/F board and the printer via the DPRAM.

[0339]FIG. 68 illustrates the parameters associated with the engine I/F board, and FIG. 69 illustrates the parameters, control commands, and status commands transmitted via the DPRAM of the printer.

[0340] The operation is described in further detail below. For simplicity, it is assumed that the job is to print one set of two pages of two-level images which are not compressed and which have a letter size (11″×8.5″) and it is also assumed that the printer is capable of printing an image with a resolution of 600 dpi.

[0341] Upon receipt of the job, the print manager calculates the number of bytes present along the width (8.5″ in this specific example) of the image.

width=8.5×600÷8≈630 (bytes)

[0342] The print manager then calculates the number of lines as follows.

the number of lines=11×600=6600 (lines)

[0343] These values calculated here and the SOURCE address at which the first page of image data is stored are substituted into variables WIDTH, LINES, and SOURCE shown in FIG. 68. Now the engine I/F board is ready to output image data, but no HSYNC signal is transmitted from the printer (although the VCLK signal is transmitted) and thus the engine I/F board has not started to output image data yet.

[0344] The print manager writes “1” representing the number of copies to be printed into the DPRAM shown in FIG. 69 at a predetermined address (BookNo). After that, the print manager outputs a paper feeding request (FEED_REQ) for the first page, and waits for an IMAGE_REQ request from the printer. Upon receipt of IMAGE_REQ from the printer, the printer manger outputs an IMAGE_START command. In response, the printer starts to output the HSYNC signal, and the engine I/F board waiting for the HSYNC signal now starts to output image data. If the printer detects the trailing end of the paper, the printer outputs an IMAGE END signal. Furthermore, when the paper is fed out, the printer outputs a SHEET_OUT signal. If the print manager receives the IMAGE_END signal associated with the first page, the print manger sets the engine I/F board in terms of WIDTH, LINES, and SOURCE for the second page. After that, the print manager outputs a FEED_REQ request and waits for an IMAGE_REQ request. After receiving the IMAGE_REQ request for the second page, the operation is performed in a similar manner to the first page.

[0345] The process performed on a file during the process of reading an image of a document by the scanner 2070 of the image processing apparatus 1001 is described below.

[0346]FIG. 70 illustrates the file name structure which is uniquely determined when an image of a document is read in response to a request from an application in a controller.

[0347] A disk identifier 10001 indicates the storage area where the image data obtained by scanning a document is stored. On the basis of the information described in the disk identifier 1001, it is possible to determine whether the image data should be stored into (or is stored in) the hard disk 8110 or the memory 8102 shown in FIG. 63. The storage device into which the image data should be stored is predetermined by the scanner for each application.

[0348] A program identifier 10002 is an area used to indicate the application issuing a request to scan a document. The scan sequence controller 8204 shown in FIG. 64 examines the program identifier 10002 and decides whether the image data obtained by scanning the document should be stored into the IDE hard disk 8110 or the memory 8102 shown in FIG. 63. According to the decision result, the scan sequence controller 8204 selects information to be stored into the disk identifier 10001. The performance of the application depends on this selection result.

[0349] A job identifier 10003 is an identifier issued by an program and indicating a job to be executed. This identifier is used by the job manager 8201 and the DIS 8202, shown in FIG. 64, to store information and issue a scan request to the scan manager 8203.

[0350] A document identifier 10004 is an identifier similar to the job identifier 10003. A document count 10005 stores a number which is automatically generated and incremented by the scan sequence controller 8204 when there are a plurality of documents.

[0351] A file identifier 10006 indicates the type of the file specified by an application. In accordance with the file type indicated by the file identifier 10006, the scan sequence controller 8204 sends a command to the file system 8206 to convert the image data obtained by scanning a document to file data of the file type specified by the application.

[0352] In accordance with these identifiers, it is possible to perform a process in a proper manner depending on the process and the processing speed of the application program.

[0353] The scan sequence controller 8204 generates a file required in the internal process of the image processing apparatus 1001, as described below. FIG. 71 is a flowchart illustrating the flow of operations in which when the scan sequence controller 8204 receives a scan request from the scan manager 8203, the scan sequence controller 8204 scans a document present on the scanner 8107 and generates an image data file. The operation shown in this flowchart is performed under the control of the CPU 2001 in accordance with the control program stored on the HDD 2004.

[0354] The scan sequence controller 8204 waits for a scan request to be issued (step 11001). If the scan sequence controller 8204 receives a scan request from the scan manager 8203, the scan sequence controller analyzes the scan process requested (step 11002).

[0355] That is, the scan sequence controller determines which application program has issued the scan request (step 12001), and determines the disk identifier 10001 depending on the type of the application program (step 12002) thereby specifying whether the image data obtained by scanning a document should be stored on the IDE hard disk 8110 or in the memory 8102. Herein, the selection of the storage device is important because the IDE hard disk 8110 and the memory 8102 are different in characteristics from each other. The IDE hard disk 8110 is selected to store data which is large in size but does not need a high speed, such as a file transmitted together with an E-mail or facsimile data (memory transmission). On the other hand, the memory 8102 is employed in a copying process which needs a high processing speed but does not need a large memory space.

[0356] Furthermore, the method of storing the image data is determined depending on the type of the application program and the process performed therein. That is, when the application program needs the highest processing speed, the image data is stored so that a succession of image data is stored on a storage medium at a succession of addresses, and a storage area is reserved so that the image data can be stored in the above-described manner. On the other hand, when the application program does not need a very high processing speed, the image data to be processed is divided into blocks and these blocks are separately stored in free spaces of a storage medium. The latter method has the advantage that other processes can easily find available storage spaces.

[0357] The job identifier 10003, the document identifier 10004, and the file identifier 10006 are determined in accordance with the job number 8305, the document number 8306, and the image file type 8307, respectively, of the scan request. The document count 10005 is set to an initial value of “00”. (step 11003).

[0358] In accordance with the scan image attribute 8308 described in the scan request received from the scan manager 8203, the scan sequence controller 8204 controls the operation of the SCSI controller 8207 thereby making the scanner 2070 scan the document (step 11004).

[0359] If the scan sequence controller 8204 receives a scan end message from the SCSI controller 8207 (step 11005), the scan sequence controller 8204 determines whether there is another document to be scanned (step 11006). If there is still another document to be scanned, the scan sequence controller 8204 sets a scan document flag into a “ON” state. If there is no document to be scanned, the scan document flag is reset into a “OFF” state (step 11008).

[0360] Subsequently, the scan sequence controller 8204 selects the compression function according to the scan image compression format 8309 described in the scan request received from the scan manager 8203 (step 11009). If the image data obtained by scanning the document is requested to be compressed, the scan sequence controller 8204 issues a compression request to the compression/decompression controller 8205 (step 11010). If the scan sequence controller 8204 receives a compression end massage from the compression/decompression controller 8205 (step 11011), the scan sequence controller 8204 issues a request to the file system 8206 to convert the document image data to file data in accordance with the image file type 8307 (step 11012). In this process, in accordance with the content of the disk identifier 10001, the scan sequence controller 8204 specifies the storage area in which the resultant image data in the form of the file is stored.

[0361] After completion of the file generation, the scan document flag is checked (step 11013). If the scan document flag is in an “ON” state, the scan sequence controller 8204 determines that the scanner 2070 has another document to be scanned, and generates a new file name by incrementing the document count 10005 (step 11014). On the other hand, if the scanner 2070 has no more document to be scanned, the scan sequence controller 8240 notifies the scan manager of the fact that the scan request is completed and also of the file name.

[0362] The scan sequence controller 8240 also notifies the job manager 8201 of the file name and the address indicating the storage location of the storage medium where the image data is stored (step 11015).

[0363] Although in the above description, the scanner 2070 is used by the application, other applications using another unit may also be processed in a similar manner.

[0364] The process of outputting the image data from the storage device in response to a request from an application is described briefly with reference to FIG. 73.

[0365] The process shown in the flowchart of FIG. 73 is also executed by the CPU 2001 in accordance with the program stored on the HDD 2004.

[0366] If an output job request is issued from the job manager 8201, it is determined which application program should be started (step 13001).

[0367] In the next step, the specified application program (print, facsimile, E-mail) is started (step 13002). Furthermore, the storage medium on which the image data to be processed is stored is selected on the basis of the file name (step 13003), and the image data is read from the selected storage medium in accordance with the address information managed by the job manager 8201 (step 13004). The resultant image data is output to the destination specified by the application program so that the application program further processes the image data (step 13005).

[0368] In the present invention, as described above, an image file (unit of image data) having an unique file identifier is generated in a storage area properly selected depending on the process of an application and the processing speed required so that the application can easily store a plurality of pages of image data on the storage medium and easily can process the image data. This allows application programs to perform their process in an optimum manner (speed) without having to perform complicated processes.

[0369] Whether the image data used by each application program is stored on the hard disk or in the semiconductor memory is preset in the scanner which receives a scan request from an application program. When a document scan request is issued from an application program, documents are scanned page by page while counting the number of documents. The obtained image data is assigned an unique file identifier for each page, and the image data is automatically stored in the predetermined storage area page by page. When the document scan process is completed, the file names are returned to the application. This makes it possible to store image data on optimum storage media and properly process the image data even when processing requests are issued from a plurality of applications. The file name is uniquely determined depending on the application which has issued a processing request. The file name includes an identifier indicating the storage area (hard disk or semiconductor memory) where the image data is stored, and also an identifier indicating the order of the image data when there are a plurality of documents, thereby allowing the image data to be easily processed.

[0370] Furthermore, in the present invention, image data can be stored in an optimum storage area depending on the processing speed of each application without requiring each application to have a complicated procedure for processing a plurality of documents. This allows a reduction in the program area as a whole and an improvement in the throughput. Furthermore, the same program can be used to scan a document in any application.

[0371] In the embodiment described above, the scan sequence controller 8204 identifies the application which has issued a scan request, on the basis of the information described in the scan request, and then determines the disk identifier 10001 and the program identifier 10002. Alternatively, applications may provide information corresponding to the disk identifier 10001 to the scan sequence controller 8204 thereby directly specifying the disk identifier.

[0372] The present invention may be applied either to a system including a plurality of devices (such as a host computer, interface device, reader, printer, etc.) or to an apparatus constructed in a single form (such as a copying machine, facsimile machine, etc.).

[0373] Furthermore, the objects of the present invention may also be achieved by supplying a software program code implementing the functions of any of the embodiments described above to a computer connected to a plurality of devices or to a computer in a system whereby the computer (CPU or MPU) in the system or the apparatus controls various devices in accordance with the program code. This technique also falls within the scope of the present invention.

[0374] In this case, it should be understood that the program code itself implements the functions of the invention and thus the program code itself and means for supplying the program code to the computer, such as a storage medium on which the program code is stored, fall within the scope of present invention.

[0375] Storage media which can be preferably employed in the present invention to store the program code include a floppy disk, hard disk, optical disk, magneto-optical disk, CD-ROM, magnetic tape, non-volatile memory card, and ROM.

[0376] Furthermore, the scope of the present invention includes not only such a system in which the functions of any embodiment described above is implemented simply by executing a program code on a computer but also a system in which the functions of any embodiment described above is implemented by the program code in cooperation with an OS (operating system) on which the program runs or in cooperation with another application software.

[0377] Furthermore, the program code may be stored into a memory provided on an expansion board inserted into the computer or an expansion unit connected to the computer, and a part of or the whole of process may be executed by a CPU or the like provided on the expansion board or the expansion unit thereby realizing the functions according to the invention. This technique also falls within the scope of the invention.

[0378] In the present invention, as described above, a storage medium for use in the data processing is selected depending on an application. Furthermore, depending on the application, an identifier is assigned to the image data to be processed. This makes it possible to perform the process required in an optimum manner depending on the application.

[0379] Although the present invention has been described above with reference to preferred embodiments, the present invention is not limited to these embodiments. Various modifications and changes are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6594032 *Oct 26, 1999Jul 15, 2003Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.Facsimile apparatus and electronic mail server
US6621592 *May 11, 1999Sep 16, 2003Canon Kabushiki KaishaData storage control apparatus and data storage control method
US7023566 *Dec 12, 2000Apr 4, 2006Xerox CorporationPage description language on demand printing
US7460254 *Mar 5, 2004Dec 2, 2008Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc.Image printing system, image printing apparatus, and image printing method
US7519636 *Mar 30, 2005Apr 14, 2009Sap AgKey sequenced clustered I/O in a database management system
US7962449 *Apr 22, 2005Jun 14, 2011Apple Inc.Trusted index structure in a network environment
US7969590Nov 10, 2008Jun 28, 2011Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc.Image printing system, image printing apparatus, and image printing method
US8190566 *Jun 8, 2011May 29, 2012Apple Inc.Trusted index structure in a network environment
US8245137 *Jul 25, 2002Aug 14, 2012Xerox CorporationElectronic filing system with scan-placeholders
US8510858 *Jun 7, 2006Aug 13, 2013Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Multi-functional device and method of storing a transmission list of users in the same
US20070156920 *Oct 6, 2006Jul 5, 2007Canon Kabushiki KaishaControl apparatus and its method, and control program and storage medium holding it, with changing of transmission source
US20110238830 *Jun 8, 2011Sep 29, 2011Dominic GiampaoloTrusted index structure in a network environment
EP1580976A2 *Mar 16, 2005Sep 28, 2005Ricoh Company, Ltd.Image processing apparatus, image data generation and transmission method and image data generation and transmission program
Classifications
U.S. Classification358/1.16
International ClassificationH04N1/21
Cooperative ClassificationH04N2201/3212, H04N2201/216, H04N1/2179, H04N2201/3243, H04N2201/3216, H04N2201/3254, H04N2201/3226
European ClassificationH04N1/21C3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 22, 2014FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Jan 29, 2010FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Jan 27, 2006FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Mar 11, 2003CCCertificate of correction
Oct 26, 1998ASAssignment
Owner name: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:UNNO, KOUICHI;REEL/FRAME:009543/0887
Effective date: 19981016