MultiPath File Format
Original Publication Date: 2004-May-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-May-05
Disclosed is a software file format that permits a user to retrieve select portions of a file’s content over a network. The file format will better conserve network resources and reduce file download times.
MultiPath File Format
Disclosed is a software file format that permits a user to retrieve select portions of a file's content over a network. The file format will better conserve network resources and reduce file download times.
When a user downloads a file over a network today, the file is transmitted sequentially from the source to the target. The entire file will be transmitted even if the user wants to view a portion of the file. For example, a file contains 320 pages of text and graphics organized into 10 chapters. The user must download the entire 320 pages even if the user only wants 18 pages from chapter
7. This wastes network resources, network provider resources, and end users time.
MultiPath File Format directly addresses the problems noted above. This format:
1) Allows a user to retrieve select portions of a file's content over a network.
2) Allows portions of that file to be joined, in order if desired, and stored in a single file on the target.
3) Allows portions of that file to be added to the local target version in the future.
4) Employs a digital signature scheme for authenticating future portions.
Any file that can organize its contents with a table of contents (TOC hereafter) can utilize this format. For example, a database file's contents can be organized with a TOC. The portions are downloaded using techniques that are well known through download manager applications. These techniques allow a user to specify the start and end byte of a file to download. This information for all the portions is stored in the TOC. The TOC itself, however, is an exception. The length of the TOC is variable and is not known to the MultiPath File Format client at first. There are several techniques that could be employed to address this issue. For example, the file could begin with a start and end byte for the TOC followed by a binary sequence that represents end of file to the MultiPath File Format client. The MultiPath File Format client may be provided in several different forms ranging from Internet browser plug-ins to an operating system integration package.
Assume that the user has downloaded chapter 1, 3 and 4 to the target machine. When the user attempts to view chapter 2 from the TOC, a MultiPath File Format c...