Browse Prior Art Database

Method for transmitting file attachments to shared storage Disclosure Number: IPCOM000173722D
Original Publication Date: 2008-Aug-21
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Aug-21
Document File: 4 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue



Email file attachments may be stored on a networked server, and references transmitted to addressees to minimize the storage and network transmission costs associated with them. File attachments have traditionally been transmitted to network servers using file transfer protocols like FTP. Disclosed are methods for minimizing the impact of sending file attachments in email systems, for both network attached and disconnected users. In order to provide a more seamless experience for end users, the attachments can be transmitted to the network server using encoded email messages. These encoded messages can be queued and transmitted at the same time as the referencing email, allowing for quicker response times and off-line usage.

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Method for transmitting file attachments to shared storage

Disclosed are methods for minimizing the impact of sending file attachments in email systems, for both network attached and disconnected users.

Email systems and document retentions can become overwhelmed by file attachments to native documents. Attachments are getting larger as users include more rich media like pictures, audio, and video content. The problems is especially bad for email systems because a single email message may be duplicated tens or hundreds of times, duplicating the attachment along with it. This can overwhelm storage systems and network links, and lead to poor performance.

The invention described here is a method to transmit file attachments to shared storage: responsive to a user request to attach a file, the attachment client plug-in

generating headers describing the metadata related to the file;
encoding the file into plain text;
optionally, cryptographically signing the metadata and encoded file;
generating an email to the attachment server containing the metadata, encoded

file, and optional signature;
pasting a URL into the document where the attachment originated; responsive to the receipt of a coded message, the attachment server plug-in

verifying the optional signature;
decoding the plain text version of the file into shared storage; updating the metadata of the file in shared storage.

The invention allows a user to seamlessly transmit a file attachment to shared storage while working on an email or other networked document. The user initiates a file attachment on their client. The invention then builds an encoded email to transmit the file to shared storage, and pastes a URL into the document. The document can be an email message or other document on their system. The encoded email is transmitted the next time the user replicates or sends mail. When it is received on the server it is processed and written out to shared storage by the invention.

The invention is novel because it transmits file attachments to shared storage using email rather than a traditional file transfer protocol.

The invention resolves the drawbacks of present art by transmitting the attachment via an encoded email message. When the user attaches the file, the attachment is queued for transmission, and is sent later when the user is not waiting. The client need not be connected to the network at the time the message is composed and the file is attached. The outbound mail queue ensures that the attachment is transmitted before the underlying email, and the user does not have to wait for the transfer.

Because the processing takes place on the client, any digital signature or encryption of the message works as expected. The attachment processes do not access the network directly. Instead they generate an encoded message and hand it off to the client's mail system to transmit across the network. This relieves them of the need to queue and