No assignee for this patent application has been made.
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to the field of computer font technology. In particular, the present invention relates to methods, systems and computer program products for allowing characters of fonts that are not standard to an operating system of a computer to be displayed and/or otherwise used by the operating system of the computer.
"Authors are in the business of conveying a message through the skillful and artistic use of characters often referred to as 'text'. In addition to the message read from the text, authors are often also concerned with the impression made by the visual appearance of the text. For example, a skilled author would not draft a technical document using the font style of a child's picture book as doing so would diminish the seriousness and professionalism of the work.
"Recently, network sites, such as Internet web sites, have been made available as a new authoring medium. For example, an author using an authoring program loaded on a computer can write an electronic document, such as a web page. The authoring program may contain a number of unique or non-standard fonts that allow the author to create the electronic document so as to have a unique or desired appearance. In general, a font is simply a set of characters having a predefined typeface or configuration. Once created, the electronic document is stored on a server. A reader can then request and download the electronic document for display on the reader's computer.
"Authors of conventional printed material can generally feel assured that, unless there is some damage to the printed material, the printed material will appear to the reader precisely as it was generated by the author. In contrast, electronic documents requested by a reader are displayed on the reader's computer using only the fonts that are currently loaded on the reader's computer. Accordingly, if the reader's computer does not contain the same fonts that were used by the author in creating the electronic document, the electronic document is displayed on the reader's computer in a form different than that originally created by the author. Generally, the operating system of the reader's computer replaces the unknown fonts with known fonts when displaying the electronic document.
"Several attempts have been made to ensure that electronic documents made with non-standard fonts are displayed on a reader's computer in the same form, i.e., same font(s), as created by the author. One commonly used method is to represent the text as images in a digital format, such as bitmaps or jpeg files. These digital images, however, cannot be resized without a loss of quality. For example, if a digital picture of a text character is enlarged, the resolution of the text character is also enlarged, thereby degrading the visual appearance of the character both on the screen and in print.
"Furthermore, characters represented as image files are typically much larger than characters represented by fonts. Accordingly, using an image file increases the size of the electronic document, thereby increasing its download time. In addition, image files take longer to display on a screen. Thus, operations such as scrolling that require an image to be frequently rendered are slowed down and otherwise degraded. Finally, characters represented as image files cannot be stylized. For example, such characters cannot be italicized.
"In another attempted solution, a first computer includes a document builder that receives input text so that the input text may be represented in the document. The input text is originally defined using pre-defined font descriptions. The document builder then creates a new font description (hereinafter called a 'proprietary vector font description') for the input text with the aid of a character shape recorder. The proprietary vector font description is then placed in the document. The first computer system then delivers the document to a second computer system.
"The second computer system includes a character shape player which is uniquely configured to interpret the proprietary vector font descriptions included in the document. If the second computer system does not already have the character shape player, the character shape player may be downloaded with the document.
"Although this latter solution improves upon the prior state of the art, the proprietary vector font description is not standard to a reader's operating system. Accordingly, this solution requires the use of the character shape player by every reader's computer that is to display an electronic document containing the proprietary vector font. Many applications may not be configured to access the services of the character shape player. Accordingly, this solution does not allow the fonts represented by the proprietary vector font description to be freely copied and pasted into or otherwise used, such as by printing, by other applications that do not access the services of the character shape player. In addition, even if an application had access to the object player mechanism, the fonts cannot be rendered as efficiently as they could if the operating system itself was capable of interpreting the fonts. Accordingly, operations such as scrolling of the fonts is sluggish.
"Therefore, what are desired are methods, systems, and computer program products for allowing characters of fonts that are not standard to an operating system of a reader's computer to be conveniently used by the operating system to facilitate viewing, copying, pasting, printing, and/or editing of the characters in different applications."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention extends to methods, systems, computer program products and data structures for allowing an operating system to have access to characters of non-standard fonts included in a network document. In one embodiment, a browser loaded on a computer navigates to a network document, such as a web page, that is hosted by a server. In an alternative embodiment, the network document can be any HTML document stored on any form of computer readable medium that can be opened by a browser. The network document contains characters that are defined by 'non-standard fonts,' i. e., fonts that are not loaded on the requesting computer and thus the corresponding characters cannot be displayed or otherwise used by the operating system thereof.
"To enable the computer requesting or opening the network document to generate the characters defined by the non-standard fonts, a font package containing computer readable formatting information necessary for an operating system to render the corresponding characters is provided. The formatting information defines the configuration of each character for a corresponding font using standard font file formats such as a scaleable outline format. Installation software is also provided. The font package and installation software can be downloaded off of the sever or otherwise loaded onto the computer.
"The computer automatically executes the installation software which in turn either permanently installs or temporarily exposes the computer readable formatting information to the operating system so as to enable the operating system to render the characters of the non-standard fonts. As a result, the network document is generated and displayed by the computer using the same characters with which it was originally created.
"Furthermore, in one embodiment the installation or exposure of the computer readable formatting information is done in a manner that the operating system of the computer has at least temporary access to utilize the characters of the nonstandard fonts. That is, the operating system is able to use the characters of the nonstandard fonts in the same way that it uses characters of original standard fonts. The operating system is thus able to efficiently copy, paste, print, modify, and otherwise edit the characters of the non-standard fonts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present invention, a more particular description of the invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
"FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an example of a system that provides a suitable operating environment for the present invention;
"FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of a network architecture in which a developer computer can post a network document, to a server for access by browsing computers;
"FIG. 3A is a schematic diagram of an architecture that may be used to develop the network document as shown in FIG. 2 containing non-standard characters so as to facilitate delivery of the non-standard characters to the browsing computers;
"FIG. 3B is a schematic diagram of an alternative design of the architecture shown in FIG. 3A;
"FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a data structure that may be used to deliver the non-standard characters to the browsing computers;
"FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing one method of operation of the present invention;
"FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of an installation module operating between a browser and an operating system;
"FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of an HTML network document incorporating features of the present invention; and
"FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of an email based network document incorporating features of the present invention."
For more information, see this patent application:
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Software.
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