The assignee for this patent application is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Document generating systems populate form templates with content. A user may prompt a system to display information on a product of interest in a pre-defined form by entering minimally required information on that product via a graphical user interface (GUI). For example, the user enters a product or catalog number. The system then retrieves the form content from a data storage device on a computer. The form includes the requested content and is made available to the user to view, print and possibly save as a separate document. However, separate forms are provided for separate products. Alternations or modifications are either treated as separate products or not reflected in the product specification. The dimensions or other representation of the actual product as built may not be reflected in the specification."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "By way of introduction, the preferred embodiments described below include methods, systems, instructions, and computer readable media for generating a specification document, such as a specification of a product. A modular database structure is used to populate a template. Product modifications are incorporated, resulting in change, alteration, or different data being in the specification than without the modification. For example, a modification may result in the use of a different enclosure for the as-built product. The specification document includes dimension values, images, and/or other information representing the modification and the as-built product rather than a base product without the modification.
"In a first aspect, a method is provided for generating a specification document of a product. Input of a product number and a modification for the product is received. A processor populates a template with first data based on the product number. The processor populates the template with second data based on the modification. The second data represents a difference from base data corresponding to the product number. The specification document of the product is output. The specification document is a function of the template populated with the first and second data.
"In a second aspect, a non-transitory computer readable storage medium has stored therein data representing instructions executable by a programmed processor for generating a specification document of a product. The storage medium includes instructions for identifying the product from a product number, identifying a modification from a modification code, selecting an enclosure as a function of both the product and the modification, and generating the specification document with a dimension value represented in the specification document, the dimension value being a function of the enclosure, and with an image of the product including the modification.
"In a third aspect, a method is provided for generating a specification document. Input of a product number and a modification is received. A processor alters an image of a product associated with the product number. The alteration is based on the modification. The specification document is output with the altered image.
"The present invention is defined by the following claims, and nothing in this section should be taken as a limitation on those claims. Further aspects and advantages of the invention are discussed below in conjunction with the preferred embodiments and may be later claimed independently or in combination.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The components and the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.
"FIG. 1 is a simplified block diagram of a computer system for generating a product specification according to an embodiment;
"FIG. 2 illustrates a database schema for storing information according to an embodiment;
"FIG. 3 is a flowchart diagram of one embodiment of a method for generating a product specification;
"FIG. 4 is a flowchart diagram of another embodiment of a method for generating a product specification;
"FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary Graphical User Interface (GUI) for user input;
"FIG. 6 illustrates the exemplary GUI of FIG. 5 with input product and modification information;
"FIG. 7 is a flowchart diagram of one embodiment of a method for populating product information from a product code;
"FIG. 8 is a flowchart diagram of a method of generating enclosure specifications for a specific product, according to one embodiment;
"FIG. 9 is a flowchart diagram of a method of generating factory modification specifications for a specific product, according to one embodiment;
"FIG. 10 is a flowchart diagram of one embodiment of a method of generating product images;
"FIG. 11 illustrates an exemplary product image without factory modification overlays;
"FIG. 12 illustrates the exemplary product image of FIG. 11 with factory modification overlays; and
"FIGS. 13-16 show an example product specification."
For more information, see this patent application: Otey, David. Product Specification Generation. Filed
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