Today we are going to briefly describe some basics on how software drives scanners.
Like all hardware, a scanner is a pile of “dead” electronics and mechanics; it needs software to “bring it to life.”
From a logical point of view, the most basic (hardware-level) software is the data-source driver, which is particular to a given type of scanner.
On another logical level, some other part of the software has to connect it with the multitude of existing imaging software applications.
Ideally, such a piece of software should allow any imaging application to operate any scanner.
To bring users closer to this wish, the solution was to create a standard to provide a unique API on the application side and keeping specific, scanner-dedicated driver parts on the scanner side.
The standard is in fact a protocol, containing all needed specifications for any imaging application to be able to handle a scanner.
TWAIN is such a protocol and, due to Windows Operating System widespread, Microsoft’s WIA became a popular driver and API model, too.
There are also ISIS (“Image and Scanner Interface Specification”) and SANE (“Scanner Access Now Easy”) open specifications, but they are less common.
The reasons we have provided the above short description are for our general public to understand:
Each scanner type and model requires its specific driver
Different scanners models might have similar generic names, but they nevertheless might require specific drivers to run.
You need to make sure to use the exact driver for the exact model of scanner, written for the exact OS you are using.
Using the latest available version is always a good idea, and caution is required for deprecated drivers (whose maintenance has been abandoned).
You can use any imaging application but just the unique driver dedicated to and delivered with a given scanner
No matter the name of the manufacturer’s software provided with the scanner (ScannedAll, DeskScan, etc.), it surely complies with a standard to allow you to operate your scanner from within other applications that offers you more power or convenience than the manufacturer’s one.
Incompatibility issues can arise
A protocol (such as TWAIN) is a set of specifications to be followed by driver developers, not a software ‘per se.’
Some manufacturers might not always fully comply with the specifications, and this might generate various incompatibility issues.
Also, you have to keep in mind that drivers are not infallible, and they too are subject to bugs and glitches.
So again, make sure always to use the latest available version.
By supporting both TWAIN and WIA, PaperScan provides users with universal image acquiring features and complete image and document processing power.
Of course, GdPicture.NET SDK, upon which PaperScan was built, offers developers full support for TWAIN and WIA.
04/01/20 edit: our AvePDF web app includes a Scan to PDF widget with TWAIN support so you can scan your documents directly from your browser!
See you next week!