October 6, 2008 at 9:57 pm #22416
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as person who workED with closely with ISIS I was asked by my friend about technology of choice. I know ISIS well but it is still hard for me to compare TWAIN and ISIS because I have very basic Twain knowledge. Did anybody make comparison? As I see may ISIS drawbacks:
1) price (expensive)
2) small range of scanners
1) ability to set and store scanner configuration without UI
3) More uniform access to advanced features like ScanAhead, Barcode, ACD
So I am very interesting in your opinion about this.
and second question: why TWAIN do not want to close gap with ISIS?
DenisOctober 13, 2008 at 5:15 am #24660
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for me your second point ‘small range of scanners’ kills much of my interest toward working with ISIS. Then your first point kills the rest of my interest, but this isn’t criticism – just my point of view.
But more to the point of your post it has seemed to me (from afar with little to no knowledge of ISIS) that the comparison is similar to Mac vs PC.
One has historically been more expensive with fewer choices in hardware and a reputation (in some circles) as being more stable or easier to use. Doesn’t make one better than the other, just suited to different parts of the market.September 11, 2009 at 8:14 am #24661
ISIS drivers are sable but so is good Twaindrivers also. Twaindrivers for “professional” scanners are stable and good. No limitations in Twain, just how much work the manufacturer puts into the driver. Usually there is no problem controlling all features by Twain, specific features are controlled by custom capabilities. Twain has often a bad reputation of beeing less stable than ISIS but lokk at it this way : The unstable Twain drivers with little funtionallity is the low-end scanners like you buy in a shopping center and there is no ISIS drivers for them. So basicly, profesional scanner you can use either Twain or ISIS – your choice. Then you have the 100s or whatever scanners where you have no choice – only Twaindrivers exists. And have you ever seen an ISIS driver to a MFP (copy-machine) ? Possible there is some but I have never seen any. New MFPs will have high-speed scanning (dual sensors for duplex scanning) and customers do not need to buy an expensive document scanner – they can you their MFP in the future.September 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm #24662
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repair topic after a long time =)
JFY there are ISIS drivers for MFD as well but you are correct this is small range of MFDsOctober 1, 2009 at 9:44 pm #24663
In my experience as a TWAIN toolkit vendor, the TWAIN drivers for MFDs will have to get a LOT better before they are an alternative to desktop document scanners such as Fujitsu fi-series, Canon DR-, Kodak, Visioneer/DocuMate, etc.
If you want to see a poorly engineered TWAIN driver, just buy a multifunction device with an ADF and install it. Even from companies that sell dedicated scanners with good TWAIN drivers.
Don’t know why, seems foolish given the number of businesses that would love an ADF scanner for < $300. For Canon and HP I suppose it could be some desire to avoid competing with self, but Brother? Another factor may be that MFD TWAIN drivers come from 3rd party chip company that makes core chipset of MFD, and lacks (to put it very kindly) TWAIN expertise. If you have found an exception please post with evidence (not opinion or “I was able to scan from XYZ”) – I and my customers would be thrilled to hear about it!November 13, 2009 at 10:16 am #24664
I agree, and the reason is possibly (probably) that a document scanner vendor needs to have a proper Twaindriver because Twain is the defacto standard to use document scanners. Good drivers means 3rd party SW runs good and by this specific vendors with good drivers is recommended by xxx SW vendor which in turn gives increased sales. But with MFDs there is another way around which is a better way to work. The MFDs are typically very good at placing files on some folder on the network (per user). Using functionallity like DocServer you will have automatically prosessing of the scanned documents, like barcode recognition, OCR, PDF/A and so on so an automatic documentflow is very easy to setup. And the panels on the MFD is typically easy to setup/program for individual needs.November 13, 2009 at 10:28 pm #24665
I don’t understand that. It is not “a better way to work”, it is a better way for *some people* and it is worse, or even impossible for other people. Some people already have TWAIN-based applications, and if the scanner cannot provide images through TWAIN, it cannot be used with those applications.
Barcode recognition, OCR, and PDF/A are useless if you are trying to feed documents into a document management system that expects to use its own barcode recognition and OCR, and to generate PDF/A. If you have a medical records system with TWAIN support, what good does it do the end-user to scan into a folder on a network? They have to go back to their workstation and do some kind of ‘import’ operation, which is rarely as simple as clicking a ‘scan and attach’ button, if it even can do the same thing. What quality of OCR do you get from a 150$ Brother MFC?
Who wants to program their MFD for their individual needs, when with other scanners they just click a button in their application?
I understand completely that the scan-to-folder process is good for many purposes. But it is not a replacement for TWAIN support, it is complementary: Some people need one, some people need the other, some people need both. Neither replaces the other in meeting the needs of the marketplace.
And what on Earth is the point of doing a bad TWAIN driver? Creating ANY TWAIN driver is a lot of work – assigning an engineer or hiring a consultant, working out the user interface, parsing all the triplets, packing and unpacking capabilities, coding the UI, tracing and debugging, doing QA, creating a manual, etc. etc. – A bad TWAIN driver costs just as much as a good one! It is stupid to go to the cost and trouble of creating a TWAIN driver, without making it work correctly! Why not just go out in the parking lot and set some money on fire?November 16, 2009 at 6:31 am #24666
Sorry, maybe I was a bit fast. What I meant was you have an application that supports Twain so it can be used on any Twain compliant scanner (could be an expensive document scanner, a small simple Brother, an MFD or whatever). This application does the scan and process the document automatically, PDF/A, OCR, remove blank pages ..) so you have the full functionallity you need for your documents. So it does not matter if you buy a new model of your scanner, you get the same result out. This application puts the the “finished” documents to a folder for importing into your medical system, database system or whatever it is. Typically, in a good designed such system, it supports some kind of automatic import so the scanning application reads barcodes on the documents and names the outputfiles according to the barcodes making an automatic import possible – this will in most cases save a lot of manual work and reduces costs. But here we are more into a good design of the medical/database system, not so much Twain. The scanning application should also be able to support folder import so instead of scanning with Twain it automatically picks up files coming into a folder from MFDs, processes them and put them to the importfolder of the database system. This also opens up for the possiblity to scan with any scanning application and have “proper” documents go into storage in the database whatever the source is, like maybe you get a Tiff file on mail form some customer but you have standardized on PDF/A in your database you just drop the file in a folder and it will be converted and imported. I totally agree with you there is no single solution here, different needs. However the “scanning and import” application should be flexible enough to handle most situations and be configurable in both ends, the source and the destination. Hopefully this clarified a bittNovember 16, 2009 at 10:52 pm #24667
Hey, good clarification! And good description of how all document-importing systems should be designed to allow the most flexible document capture.
I admit to ranting about Brother’s awful TWAIN support, which is extremely frustrating given the number of my customers who want to use, or *expect* to use, or have customers how own, Brother MFC’s. It ends up in my lap, and my customers laps, because they are commercial software vendors.
So over and over I have to explain, in person and on my website, that Brother MFCs can’t do ‘automated’ TWAIN scanning (where the user scans without having to interact with the scanner or its user interface) – you will get only the first or last page of the job.
“If you want to support Brother MFC’s with your application, you will have to put in a special mode that allows interactive scanning (where the scanner’s dialog is displayed) and you will have to specially detect Brother MFCs, or support your users to select this mode when needed.”
= trouble, expense, and tarnished reputation for my customers.
“Yes, I know they claim to be TWAIN compatible. Yes, I’m sorry you or your customer already bought one. Yes, I know it was a great price for a scanner with an ADF!!”November 17, 2009 at 8:39 am #24668
Agree. Have not any experience with Brother Twain drivers but quality of Twaindrivers vary a lot. But this is not the fault of Twain standard. In my experince the ISIS driver is usually of high quality, they are probably tested qute a lot and reliable. But so are Twaindrivers from many manufacturers also, like from Canon DR scanners and Panasonic document scanners. With Twain you may create a driver with minimum effort and make it work to a certain degree with most (all most all) Twain compliant programs. And the manufacturer may choose how much effort they want to put in development into SW driver – functionality and quality. So if you have a cheap “home” scanner do not expect a high performance driver with a lot of functions – actually you do not need it because you will not buy a $200 scanner together with scanning software to $2000 and vice versa. Also, again based on experience, putting too much “advanced document processing” functions into the scanner itself is not good. In some case it will work but very often not because of the wide varity of type of documents customers scan. Like automatic detection of blank pages and so on. It is much better to put such funtionality into the receiving application. Such fancy stuff costs if they are put into the scanner. Then when the scanner is worn out you will have to pay for this again. If it is in the software (scanning program) tou may use these functions again and again, also on existing historic files, from MFDs or whatever.February 8, 2010 at 6:16 am #24669
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As someone that writes sophisticated scanning software that has to support many different scanners and hide the driver’s UI it is my general experience that the writers of TWAIN drivers do not bother to implement most of the capability querying in the TWAIN specification. ISIS drivers do.
This is a real pain as we have to maintain a database of scanners and all their individual features and supported settings.
TWAIN drivers also do not necessarily adhere to the specs. for setting features either. For example DPI might be a range or an enumeration. Brightness might adhere to the 1000 based range or use the ISIS range based upon 127 and, as I said the getter methods to ascertain this may not be implemented.
If you know these features or have the freedom to allow the user access to the drivers UI then the drivers are typically fine for scanning etc.
Just my personal experience.February 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm #24670
Agree. A lot of the Twaindrivers are “bad” in many ways and many features, even recommended, may be omitted. But this does not tell ISIS is better than Twain. It only tells what amount of work the manufacturer has put into the driver/software for the scanner. If they where to do a certification prosess like in ISIS the scanner itself or the driver would cost more. Why is it typically a Twaindriver and not an ISIS driver following a scanner to 150$ ? In general the Twaindrivers are very good for business document scanners, like from Canon and Panasonic. But don’t expect much of a scanner more built for home usage.March 12, 2010 at 8:56 am #24671
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does anybody know why there are still no utility which would test TWAIN driver automatically and says if this driver follows TWAIN specification. I suppose it would resolve most lacks of TWAIN drivers. Especially if this tool would be free 🙂March 12, 2010 at 9:45 am #24672
Good idea. Should come from Twain.org. You have Twister but it reports doubtful info on certain scanners. See http://www.dosadi.com/twister.htmMarch 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm #24673
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TWAIN is in the process of implementing a Self-Certification Program. This program will have tools available to test TWAIN drivers for compliancy. We don’t have an exact release date at this time, but it will be before the end of may this year.
The TWAIN Working Group