Browse Prior Art Database

Method to Allow Viewing Documents Without an External Viewer That Provides Safety, Portability, and Access Control

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031876D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Oct-15
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Oct-15
Document File: 3 page(s) / 54K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

To allow the exchange of information via documents, this invention describes the use of a "viewable binary". A "viewable binary" combines the document to be viewed with a computer program designed exclusively to format and display the document into one computer file. The advantages of a "viewable binary" include eliminating the need to install an external program just to view a document, portability (can be viewed on any operating system), access control, and automatic updates.

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Method to Allow Viewing Documents Without an External Viewer That Provides Safety, Portability, and Access Control

A program is disclosed that allows users to view documents without the need of an external program by combining the document to be viewed with the program to do the viewing into one file termed here a "viewable binary". In addition, methods are described to provide the "viewable binary" with safety, portability, access control, automatic updates, limited interactivity, and decreased disk space usage. These inventions are intended to address the problems with a common form of information exchange. Typically, to exchange information, a document is created using one of several off-the-shelf computer programs, and then emailing the created document to other people who merely want to view the document. Examples of such documents are presentations, text documents, and spreadsheets. [This form of communication is also becoming more common by the government, which is making an ever-increasing number of documents available on-line in Microsoft* Word format.]

    There are six inventions discussed, each which builds on some or all of the previous invention(s):
(i) Have the document creating program create a "viewable executable" that contains a viewing program with the data to view embedded within, rather than sending the raw document and requiring the use of an external viewer/program.
(ii) Use Java** as the language for the viewer executable to remove concerns with security and portability.
(iii) By the use of encryption, limit access to the data in some manner, such as when it can be accessed, who can access it (e.g., require password), or what can be done with the data (e.g., copy, print).
(iv) The viewable executable can contact a remove server (over the internet or a company private intranet or some other network) to check for updates and/or corrections to the document.
(v) For spreadsheets, allow some limited modification of the data, and the viewable execution will recalculation the values, to limited allow "what-if" exploration.
(vi) The viewable executable can, instead of containing the entire viewing executing, contain just a "stub" that can either find the correct binary on disk or via network.

    Regarding prior art, for the first invention the essential difference between this invention are previous work is that the executable-program part of the "viewable binary" is substantially different than the program used to create the document. That is, prior art includes prepending a uncompressor (e.g., "pkunzip") or image viewer (e.g., "ifranview") to the data; however, in both of these cases the binary that is prepended is identical or substantially similar the stand-alone binary. In this invention, the program used to create the data is substantially different than the program used to view the data in terms of such aspects as the functionality provided, the programming language used, etc. In terms of prior art for the second i...