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Accessing window pixel data for application sharing

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Accessing window pixel data for application sharing


Screen sharing in which image pixel data operable to display one or more user interface windows associated with at least one shared application is retrieved from a memory. The retrieving excludes image pixel data operable to display at least one other display object currently contained in a user interface of said computer. The retrieved image pixel data is combined into a shared image.

Browse recent International Business Machines Corporation patents - Armonk, NY, US
Inventors: Raymond R. Hornback, JR., Kevin Solie
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120304077 - Class: 715753 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Computer Supported Collaborative Work Between Plural Users >Computer Conferencing

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120304077, Accessing window pixel data for application sharing.

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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to collaboration software and systems, and more specifically to sharing screen data among multiple computers during a collaborative on-line session.

BRIEF

SUMMARY

A screen sharing technique is disclosed in which image pixel data operable to completely display one or more user interface windows associated with at least one shared application is selectively retrieved by a collaboration application from a memory in a computer. The disclosed retrieving is selective, in that it only retrieves the image pixel data for windows associated with the shared application, and excludes from the retrieval image pixel data operable to display at least one other display object currently contained in a graphical user interface of the computer. The retrieved image pixel data is combined into a shared composite image for distribution from the computer to one or more other computers of other users participating in an on-line collaboration session.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to facilitate a fuller understanding of the present invention, reference is now made to the appended drawings. These drawings should not be construed as limiting the present invention, but are intended to be exemplary only.

FIG. 1 is a first block diagram showing an example of structure of components in an illustrative embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing an example of structure of components in an illustrative operational environment including the illustrative embodiment of claim 1;

FIG. 3 is a first flow chart showing steps performed during operation of an illustrative embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a second flow chart also showing steps performed during operation of an illustrative embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a screen shot showing at least a portion of a graphical user interface displayed by a first collaborating computer system consistent with an illustrative embodiment; and

FIG. 6 is a screen shot showing at least a portion of a graphical user interface as displayed by a second collaborating computer system consistent with an illustrative embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a first block diagram showing an example of the structure of components in an illustrative embodiment. As shown in FIG. 1, a Computer 10 includes at least one Processor 12, a Memory 14, a Graphics Controller 16, a Display Device 18, and other I/O Devices and/or Interfaces 20. In the example of FIG. 1, the Memory 14 stores a Collaboration Application 22, one or more Shared Application(s) 24, and one or more Non-Shared Application(s) 26. The Memory 14 also may store an Operating System 28, a Frame Buffer 30 and a Window Pixel Image Store 32. The Collaboration Application includes and/or has access to a Shared Composite Image 34, one or more Shared Process Identifiers (IDs) 36, and one or more Shared Window Identifiers (IDs) 38. The Operating System 28 may include a Window Image Pixel Data Application Programming Interface (API) 40. A Current Composite Display Image 42 is shown within the Frame Buffer 30.

The Window Pixel Image Store 32 stores a number of files or the like, each containing a complete set of pixels for displaying a corresponding user interface window currently present within the graphical user interface of Computer 10, a current view of which is displayed on the Display Device 18. Accordingly, each pixel file in the Window Pixel Image Store 32 contains a complete set of image pixel data operable to completely display a corresponding window that is present within the graphical user interface of Computer 10 regardless of whether the window is currently obscured, either partly or completely, by another window or other user interface component. Any specific type of graphical user interface may be provided by Computer 10 that includes window display objects, including but not limited to a virtual desktop or the like.

The pixel files stored within the Window Pixel Image Store 32 include Shared Window Pixel Files 44 and Non-Shared Window Files 46. Each of the Shared Window Pixel Image Files 44 contains the pixel data for completely displaying a user interface window owned or otherwise associated with at least one of the Shared Applications 24. Each of the Non-Shared Window Pixel Image Files 46 contains the pixel data for completely displaying a user interface window owned or otherwise associated only with one or more of the Non-Shared Applications 26.

The Current Composite Display Image 42 is a composite image used to display the current view of the user interface. Specifically, the Current Composite Display Image 42 is made up of only the pixels operable to represent the currently visible portions of display objects in the user interface (e.g. windows) through the Display Device 18. Accordingly, the Current Composite Display Image 42 is made up of the pixels used to generate a single screen currently displayed on the Display Device 18. The Current Composite Display Image 42 does not include pixel data operable to display any currently obscured portions of windows that are only partially visible in the current view.

In one embodiment, the Graphics Controller 16 operates to generate the Current Composite Display Image 42, responsive to pixel data including the window pixel data stored in the Window Pixel Image Store 32, and further responsive to a current visual arrangement of display elements within the user interface.

The Collaboration Application 22 operates to generate the Shared Composite Image 34 such that the Shared Composite Image 34 contains only the image data for user interface windows associated with one or more applications that are currently being shared through a collaboration session between the user of Computer 10 and the users of one or more other computers. The Shared Composite Image 34 is shared with one or more other computer systems during the collaboration session. The Colloboration Application 22 may, for example, be embodied as any appropriate type of application, such as a native application executing on the Computer 10, a browser-based Web application, or some other specific type of application.

Further with reference to the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 1, each identifier in the Shared Process ID(s) 36 uniquely identifies an application on Computer 10 that is currently being shared, i.e. a corresponding one of the Shared Applications 24. The Collaboration Application 22 may use the Shared Process ID(s) 36 to obtain the Shared Window ID(s) 38. For example the Collaboration Application 22 may obtain the Shared Window ID(s) 38 by passing the Shared Process ID(s) 36 to the Operating System 28, which then in turn passes back a list of window identifiers uniquely identifying a set of windows including only those windows associated with the application(s) indicated by the Shared Process ID(s) 36, e.g. a list of windows owned by the Shared Application(s) 24.

The Collaboration Application 22 uses the Shared Window ID(s) 38 to retrieve the Shared Window Pixel Images 44 from the Window Pixel Image Store 32. For example, the Window Image Pixel Data API 40 provided by Operating System 28 may accept window identifiers and return the corresponding pixel files from the Window Pixel Image Store 32. In such an embodiment, the Collaboration Application 22 operates to provide the Shared Window ID(s) 38 to the Window Image Pixel Data API 40, and accepts the returned Shared Window Pixel Image Files 44. The Collaboration Application 22 may then operate to combine the Shared Window Pixel Image Files 44 into a single composite image to be shared, shown in FIG. 1 by the Shared Composite Image 34.

While the Frame Buffer 30, Window Pixel Image Store 32, and Graphics Controller 16 are shown as separate blocks in FIG. 1, those skilled in the art will recognize that the disclosed system is not limited to such an arrangement. Accordingly, these logic blocks may be integrated into a single component or device, or otherwise combined or organized as appropriate for a given operational environment.



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Device user interface to input emoji and other symbols
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Industry Class:
Data processing: presentation processing of document
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120304077 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13113903
File Date
05/23/2011
USPTO Class
715753
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/00
Drawings
7



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