The assignee for this patent application is Canon Kabushiki Kaisha.
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Technologies in related art are known in which print instructions are transmitted from clients to servers and the servers, which have received the print instructions, convert content to be printed into print data.
"PTL 1 discloses a method in which a server receives a print instruction and information for controlling the printing from a client and the server generates print data on the basis of the information for controlling the printing. The server in PTL 1 provides a service of generating the print data to the client.
"As described above, the provision of services from servers to clients has been hitherto realized in various modes. Cloud computing attracting increasing attention in recent years is also included in the modes in which servers provide services to clients. The cloud computing features spread of data conversion and data processing to many computing resources to simultaneously process requests from many clients. Many vendors currently exist which install Web services in a cloud computing environment in which the cloud computing is realized to provide a wide variety of services.
"One of the most remarkable vendors is
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "However, there are problems described below because vendor servers in the cloud computing environment generate print data. A first problem is that, when the quality of print data generated in applications on the vendor servers is low, the print quality in the entire printing system using the print data is also lowered. A second problem is that there is a case in which the image forming apparatuses cannot print the print data provided by the vendor servers. In such a case, after relay servers acquire the print data from the vendor servers, it is necessary to convert the print data into a format printable in the image forming apparatuses again. The data conversion is performed multiple times to possibly degrade the print quality. A third problem is that there is a case in which the print data generated by the vendor servers is largely increased in size. In this case, the time for the relay servers to acquire the print data over networks can be increased. This is because it is necessary to decompose data in the applications, composed of font data or vector data, into the print data. A fourth problem is that there is a case in which it is not possible to acquire content from the vendor servers on the basis of information concerning the printing, received from the vendor servers. Such a problem occurs because the interface mechanism to acquire the content released by the vendor servers is not based on the information concerning the printing received from the vendor servers. This problem can be resolved if the information concerning the printing received from the vendor servers has sufficient information necessary to acquire the content. However, there is no assurance that the content can be constantly acquired because the information that can be received is determined by the vendor servers.
"The present invention provides a mechanism to acquire content that has not been converted into print data from a vendor server providing a print service in order to resolve at least one of the problems described above.
"Solution to Problem
"According to an embodiment, a print relay server is capable of communicating with an application server, a print server, and an image forming apparatus. The application server provides a Web service for generating content data to a client and stores the content data generated by the client by using the provided Web service. The print server provides print data generated on the basis of the content data stored in the application server to a destination. The image forming apparatus includes a print unit that performs printing on the basis of the print data. The print relay server includes a notification information acquiring unit configured to acquire notification information that is transmitted by the print server to provide the print data to the destination and that includes common information commonly added to both the content data and the print data; an identification information acquiring unit configured to acquire content identification information for identifying the content data to which the acquired common information is added from the application server; a data acquiring unit configured to acquire the content data corresponding to the content identification information from the application server if location information about the print data acquired on the basis of the acquired content identification information coincides with location information about the print data included in the acquired notification information; a print data generating unit configured to generate the print data on the basis of the acquired content data; and a transmitting unit configured to transmit the print data generated by the print data generating unit to the image forming apparatus.
"Advantageous Effects of Invention
"The present invention proposes a mechanism to acquire content that has not been converted into print data from a vendor server providing a print service. With the proposition, it is possible to improve conversion quality of the print data.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 illustrates an example of the configuration of a content printing system according to a first embodiment.
"FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of the hardware configuration of each apparatus and each server group composing the content printing system according to the first embodiment.
"FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an example of the software configuration of each apparatus and each server group composing the content printing system according to the first embodiment.
"FIG. 4 illustrates functions realized by print control software.
"FIG. 5 illustrates functions realized by a relay-virtual-printer management service unit.
"FIG. 6 illustrates functions realized by a relay virtual printer.
"FIG. 7 illustrates functions realized by a print service.
"FIG. 8A illustrates an example of print service information.
"FIG. 8B illustrates information stored in a print service information manager.
"FIG. 8C illustrates an example of information stored in a printer information storage part.
"FIG. 9A illustrates an example of a registration UI.
"FIG. 9B illustrates an example of a print setup UI.
"FIG. 10A illustrates Capabilities represented in an XML format.
"FIG. 10B illustrates a print setting represented in the XML format.
"FIG. 10C illustrates notification information represented in the XML format.
"FIG. 10D illustrates other notification information represented in the XML format.
"FIG. 11 illustrates the other notification information represented in a JSON format.
"FIG. 12 illustrates a state in which a Print button is pressed.
"FIG. 13 is a sequence chart illustrating an example of a process of registering the relay virtual printer in the print service according to the first embodiment.
"FIG. 14 is a sequence chart illustrating an example of a process before printing is performed by an image forming apparatus after a printing instruction is issued by a Web application according to the first embodiment.
"FIG. 15 is a sequence chart illustrating an example of a process of acquiring content data from the Web application by the relay virtual printer according to the first embodiment.
"FIG. 16 is a sequence chart illustrating an example of a process of comparing the size of print data held in the print service with the size of content data held in the Web application to acquire the data of a smaller size by priority according to a second embodiment."
For more information, see this patent application: Towata, Hiroaki. Printing System, Print Relay Server, Method of Controlling the Server, and Program. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: Software, Canon Kabushiki Kaisha.
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