The Drivers

We can access Alfresco, through it’s Share portal, from anywhere through any computer or computing device ( including tablets/mobiles ) with access to the internet. However, we still have to do scanning, a key functionality in the business flow, outside the business application through external software that integrates with the scanner. With scanners becoming more portable the ability to provide this functionality within the Document Management application is very useful and that is where the Web Scanning Solution comes into play.

The Options

There are not many web scanning solutions in the market – we found the following products after a cursory review

  1. Web Twain from Dynamsoft – Click Here for online demo
  2. SimpleIndex from SimpleIndex
  3. WingScan from Atalsoft
  4. Image and Scanning SDK’s from Leadtools

We finalized on Dynamsoft, for three reasons. There was a  good technology fit with support for TWAIN, SANE and ICA compatible scanners. It works across all platforms ( Windows, Mac and Linux ) . And for our usage, it provides a good value for money and they provided good, personalized support.

The Solution

We implemented the integration in two ways:

1. Menu option provided at the top which helps in bulk scanning.

Scanner witharrow

2. Scan and save option at the folder level.

scan and submit action

Dynamsoft provided samples and APIs for both the scanning user-interface as well as for scan image review and submission. On submission, we use the Alfresco rest-api to post the image to a particular folder. With all the integration done , the solution looked like this.

scanner pageScanned page

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing post implementation issues

We realized early on that any web-scanning product requires the installation of the  the product-specific drivers ( TWAIN/SANE etc ) on the local m/c that is connected to the scanner. We wanted to make this as painless as possible. Dynamsoft actually tests and provides a link to a download site from where the drivers can be downloaded and installed . However when  we used that, we realized that the version gets upgraded regularly resulting in incompatible installations. So we identified and packaged the components from the version that we had tested with and bundled it within the Alfresco site with a page that would help the user download the installer. With that we eliminated the one issue that required technical support .
All in all, I was happy that we could provide a simple solution for a pressing customer need quickly ,