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A method to continuously file composing based on automatically thread tracking in a distributed collaboration environment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000141086D
Original Publication Date: 2006-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2006-Sep-30
Document File: 6 page(s) / 206K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The purpose of this invention is to improve the efficiency of file composing in a distributed environment. First two kinds of information are added into a file: 1) a file thread and 2) meta change data. The file thread is a file identification description including a file universal id, author name, copyright, file version, etc. It is used to trace the relationship among files. The meta change data describe what have been changed based on the original file (an incremental change based on original file), which are used to merge two files having the same file thread. Three functions should be added into a file editor to achieve automatic file updating: 1. Search: searching files with the same thread on a computer if the file includes a thread. 2. Thread management: it is used to improve the searching efficiency. 3. Merge: merging the two files together with the same thread according to the meta change data. The invention could deal with the file composing problem in a distributed environment with the following advantages: 1. There is no need to setup a central server as a control point to manage the file composing procedure. So it’s more feasible to use this invention than central version control mechanism in our real life. 2. Thread management could speed up the file searching performance

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A method to continuously file composing based on automatically thread tracking in a distributed collaboration environment

1. Background: What is the problem solved by your invention? Describe known solutions to this problem (if any). What are the drawbacks of such known solutions, or why is an additional solution required? Cite any relevant technical documents or references.

In a distributed environment people always share information and cooperate by distributing files. Once an original author sent out a file to several people, currently there is no efficient method for the author to update the distributed file copies since it's possible for every receiver to make changes based on the original file. Therefore it's hard to keep the file as one consistent version. One way to keep them consistent is to manually merge these files. For example, as shown in Fig 1, the file receivers have to manually update their file copies according to the changes made by the original author.. But it's difficult to make sure that every receiver could merge his/her changed file copy with the updated file from the original author in time and correctly to keep the files consistent in a distributed environment.

Fig 1. File Update Scenario

Another scenario is that several people work together to compose one file. As shown in Fig 2, one person assigns three other persons to complete one task. Different person works on different part of the file. The assignees have to manually manage the distributed files and keep them as one version. Apparently it's not an efficient method.

The two scenarios happen in our life almost everyday but there is no good solution to deal with this problem. In a distributed programming environment, there is similar problem which is resolved by version-control software. As the version-control software uses a central server to manage the distributed files, it's somewhat easy to solve the version control problem. However in the distributed collaboration environment, this method can not be adopted to automatically update and merge distributed files because there is no central server to serve this function.

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Fig 2. File Merge Scenario

2. Summary of Invention: Briefly describe the core idea of your invention (saving the details for questions #3 below). Describe the advantage(s) of using your invention instead of the known solutions described above.

In order to improve the efficiency of file composing among people, this invention first adds two kinds of information into a file: 1) a file thread and 2) meta change data. A file thread is a file identification description including a file universal id, author name, copyright, file version, etc. A file thread is used to trace the relationship among files. The meta change data describe what have been changed...

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