Thursday, February 20, 2014

Drivers for Scanners

Today we’re going to talk about drivers for scanners. A driver is a computer program that is in charge of controlling a hardware device. These programs are specific to a specific device, just like an operating system. The objective of drivers is that they can develop applications for users, independent of the hardware device.
Scanners need drivers to function; and for applications such as Athento, which have to communicate with them, these drivers need to be taken into account. Some of the most common drivers include:

The latest version is version 2.0, and offers support for various Unix platforms and various 64-bit platforms. Additionally, TWAIN supports document types like PDF/A, DjVu and JPEG2000. TWAIN is fairly popular because it goes beyond just being a simple driver and is more like a communication protocol (TWAIN uses a driver called Data Source.) TWAIN contains an API that allows developers to construct applications and drivers. It’s also popular among developers because its creators don’t charge for the use of the development API (which is LGPL).
TWAIN will surely continue to dominate the market for drivers for scanners, given that this project is being backed by large businesses like Kofax, Fujitsu, Epson or Hewlett-Packard.
SANE stands for Scanner Access Now Easy. It was originally developed for Linux/Unix operating systems, although its creators say that, in accordance with the standards they have followed for its development, it should work on any operating system. It’s available under a GNU license and is an API that permits the development of drivers according to devices, instead of having to develop a driver for each pair of device and software. SANE has been created to answer one of TWAIN’s weaknesses: TWAIN doesn’t separate the user interface from the device driver. When we have several scanners linked over a SANE network, you can get access through each console.

ISIS stands for Image and Scanner Interface Specification. This specification belongs to EMS, who you’ll already know for its Documentum product. Many production environments that carry out massive document imaging use ISIS drivers. Although EMC talks about ISIS as an open standard for the control of scanners, the use of the framework for the development of drivers and other computer programs implies having to pay costs which allows them to be catalogued as ISIS drivers. Currently, more than 400 models of scanners function with these drivers, although for drivers for household use, ISIS doesn’t tend to be very popular. According to its owners, ISIS supports advanced functionality at the scanner level (in terms of compression, formats, etc.) and has the advantage of offering functions at the module level. 
Isis Drivers

Windows Imaging Architecture o Windows Imaging Acquisition. This is the platform used to develop drivers for scanners that are going to work in Windows environments. Microsoft’s web site contains an excellent definition of the work of drivers and the development platforms used to build them: “The WIA platform allows applications that work with images or graphics to interact with document imaging hardware and to standardize the interaction among different applications and scanners. This permits all these applications to communicate and interact with scanners without software developers or manufacturers of scanners needing to customize the application or the drivers for each combination of software and device.”
WIA allows us to connect devices to machines which run on Windows and which are recognized automatically; that way, we can have several scanners connected to the same computer. In contrast with ISIS, programmers don’t have to pay to say that the drivers that they develop are WIA.


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