News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Generating Interactive Electronic Documents", for Approval

September 11, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Knoulich, Jan (Hradec Kralove, CZ); Rouillard, Didier (Pully, CH), filed on February 18, 2014, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The patent's assignee is GMC Software AG.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a computer-implemented method and a computer system for generating interactive electronic documents.

"Electronic documents are widely used to store, transmit, and receive information, for example in customer communication. Electronic documents may adhere to document formats such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), PDF (Portable Document Format), PS (PostScript), etc. On receipt, besides usual printing of the electronic document, a user may display the electronic document on a computer display. In case of an interactive electronic document, user interaction may be used to adjust a document readout when displaying the electronic document. Using a mouse to move a cursor and to select a specific item of the displayed interactive document, or by touching a specific item on a touch-screen, a user may invoke functions to change how the information stored in an electronic document is displayed. For example, an electronic document may include a list of towns, which are displayed together with a first button for sorting the list alphabetically, and a second button for sorting the list according to a geographic distance from a geographic reference. By pressing the respective button, a user may change the displayed list of towns interactively. At the date of filing of the present specification, an interactive document including a sortable list of towns is published on http://de.selfhtml.org/dhtml/modelle/dom.htm, which uses an extension of the HTML format according to the Document Object Model (DOM) defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). DOM is a platform- and language-neutral interface, which allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents.

"In customer communication, interactive electronic documents are to be generated and delivered to customers consistently at high speed. In the prior art, however, generation of interactive electronic documents is time consuming and cumbersome.

"US 2003/0025732 relates to graphical user interfaces for use in computer systems. A display/editor text file is stored in a first format and a screen layout text file is stored in a second format different from the first format. In response to an input to an operator interface, application software combines current system data with data derived from the display/editor text file to create a populated display/text in said first format. Web scripting software creates a display text in the second format based at least in part on the screen layout text file and the populated display/editor text file. Web browser software displays a user interface on a display monitor based on the display text.

"U.S. Pat. No. 7,665,014 relates to rendering a form of a selected form type on multiple different types of display targets. A data model and a form type to render the form are selected. A schema including fields corresponding to the data model associated with the form type is identified. Fields are selected on preference. Meta data associated with the selected fields is determined. Multiple layouts including interface areas corresponding to the selected fields and specifying how the form is to be rendered on different display targets are identified. The form is rendered on different display targets using the identified multiple layouts and the meta data.

"U.S. Pat. No. 7,620,893 relates to using features of a software application. A user selects a layout, which is to be used in creating an informational display for displaying results of a data repository query. At least one input field and an image are displayed to the user, the image being a sample informational display based on the selected layout and the at least one input field being displayed in association with at least one feature of the image. Via the input field, a user input is received and used for modifying the at least one feature of the image in a new informational display. The at least one input field may be displayed on top of the displayed sample image, in close proximity to the shown feature.

"US 2007/0219973 relates to dynamic statement processing in database systems. A first set of characteristics associated with a dynamic statement is calculated when the dynamic statement matches one of a plurality of dynamic statements previously processed by the database system. The first set of characteristics is compared to a second set of characteristics associated with one of one or more access paths generated for the one previously processed dynamic statement. The one access path is utilized to execute the dynamic statement when the comparison of the first set of characteristics to the second set of characteristics satisfies one or more predetermined criteria."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "It is an object of this disclosure to provide a method and a computer system for generating interactive electronic documents, which do not have at least some of the disadvantages of the prior art. In particular, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method and a computer system for generating interactive electronic documents at high speed, in particular in order to enable high throughput.

"According to some embodiments of the present invention, the above-mentioned objects are particularly achieved in that a computer-implemented method of generating interactive electronic documents comprises: generating each of the electronic documents as an object having a non-variable first part, the non-variable first part comprising instructions configured to direct a processing unit to perform a function call in response to user interaction, and a variable second part separate from the non-variable first part, the variable second part comprising variable data and functions defined to return the variable data in response to the function call. For example, the non-variable first part may be directed towards the layout of the interactive electronic document, such as the size and layout, whereas the variable second part may be directed towards tables, fields, etc. of the interactive electronic document which have to be shown according to user interaction, such as sorting a list of shown data elements alphabetically or according to a date. The complexity of the non-variable first part differs from the complexity of the variable second part and adequate processing power can be provided when generating the object having the non-variable first part and the variable second part in order to increase speed and throughput.

"In an embodiment, a plurality of the electronic documents are generated as objects having the same non-variable first part. As the same non-variable first part is used for the generated interactive electronic documents, speed and throughput may be further increased.

"In an embodiment, the electronic documents are personalized for a particular user by inserting in the variable second part variable data linked to the particular user. Variable data linked to the particular user (user specific data) may directly include variables, arrays, characters, etc. relating to the user, wherein the generated interactive electronic document may be processed off-line. In a variant, variable data linked to the particular user may include access information to retrieve the respective data from a remote database, wherein the generated interactive electronic document needs to be processed on-line.

"In an embodiment, the electronic documents are generated by a processor storing the same non-variable first part for the plurality of the electronic documents once in a fixed fashion in local data memory of the processor, and loading the variable data individually for each of the electronic documents from a data store arranged externally to the processor. As the non-variable first part remains stored in the local data memory of the processor, high speed and high throughput generation of electronic documents is enabled.

"In an embodiment, the electronic documents are generated as objects having a non-variable first part comprising instructions configured to direct a processing unit to show on a display user interface elements enabling the user interaction, to perform the function call depending on the user interaction, and to show on the display the variable data returned in response to the function call. The non-variable first part includes instructions for performing user interaction, which requires careful design and therefore is time consuming during generation of the interactive electronic document. The variable second part comprises simple functions returning values only (e.g. of user specific data elements), which may be performed easily and fast during generation of the interactive electronic document. Hence, speed and throughput for generating interactive electronic documents is further improved.

"In an embodiment, the electronic documents are generated as objects having a non-variable first part, comprising instructions in a markup language and instructions for the function call in a language for a virtual machine, and a variable second part, comprising instructions for the function in the language for the virtual machine. Markup languages such as HTML and virtual machines for languages such as Java or JavaScript are widely deployed in user terminals. Accordingly, the interactive electronic documents may be shown and used on practically every user terminal.

"In addition to a method of generating interactive electronic documents, the present invention further relates to a computer system for generating interactive electronic documents, the computer system comprising one or more processors and being programmed to implement at least: a document generator configured to generate each of the electronic documents as an object having a non-variable first part, the non-variable first part comprising instructions configured to direct a processing unit to perform a function call in response to user interaction, and a variable second part separate from the non-variable first part, the variable second part comprising variable data and functions defined to return the variable data in response to the function call.

"In an embodiment, the document generator is configured to generate a plurality of the electronic documents as objects having the same non-variable first part.

"In an embodiment, the document generator is configured to personalize the electronic documents for a particular user by inserting in the variable second part variable data linked to the particular user.

"In an embodiment, the document generator is configured to generate a plurality of the electronic documents by storing the same non-variable first part for the plurality of the electronic documents once in a fixed fashion in local data memory of the one or more processors, and by loading the variable data individually for each of the electronic documents from a data store arranged externally to the one or more processors.

"In an embodiment, the document generator is configured to generate the electronic documents as objects having a non-variable first part, comprising instructions configured to direct a processing unit to show on a display user interface elements enabling the user interaction, to perform the function call depending on the user interaction, and to show on the display the variable data returned in response to the function call.

"In an embodiment, the document generator is configured to generate the electronic documents as objects having a non-variable first part, comprising statements in a markup language and instructions for the function call in a language for a virtual machine, and a variable second part, comprising instructions for the function in the language for the virtual machine.

"Moreover, the present invention relates to a computer program product comprising a computer readable medium having stored thereon computer program code for controlling one or more processors of a computer system such that the computer system generates interactive electronic documents by: generating each of the electronic documents as an object having a non-variable first part, the non-variable first part comprising instructions which direct a processing unit to perform a function call in response to user interaction, and a variable second part separate from the non-variable first part, the variable second part comprising variable data and functions defined to return the variable data in response to the function call.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The herein described invention will be more fully understood from the detailed description given herein below and the accompanying drawings which should not be considered limiting to the invention described in the appended claims:

"FIG. 1 shows a block diagram illustrating schematically a computer system and user terminals connected via a telecommunications network;

"FIG. 2 shows a block diagram illustrating schematically an interactive electronic document; and

"FIG. 3 shows a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary sequence of steps for generating interactive electronic documents."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Knoulich, Jan; Rouillard, Didier. Generating Interactive Electronic Documents. Filed February 18, 2014 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=346&p=7&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: GMC Software AG, Software.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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