At Dynamsoft, we recently wrote about Google choosing to no longer support NPAPI in its latest Chrome browser versions. We pointed out that a Chrome browser without NPAPI support would have an impact on our users. So, it became important for us to quickly find a good solution.
Our customers rely on our software development kits (SDK) to expedite development of their image capture browser-based web applications. These SDKs include Dynamic Web TWAIN and ImageCapture Suite, among others. Thousands of customers use them to create robust document scanning and management in applications from accounting to healthcare. And, a key reason our customers’ use these SDKs is because they enable developers to build a document scanning module within hours. This is instead of having to do months of development work.
For our customers, it’s clear that Dynamsoft gives them compelling advantages to save in development time and costs. Our SDKs enable fast and easy deployment of browser-based document scanning / image capture applications. And, in a pleasant surprise, it often results in applications that are far more robust than our customers anticipated. Part of allowing the creation of robust document scanning applications included leveraging NPAPI in our SDKs to enable document scanning.
But, browsers and related standards are always changing. A recent change includes Google choosing to no longer support NPAPI in its latest Chrome browser versions. As a result, we received many customer enquiries about Dynamsoft’s plans for Dynamic Web TWAIN and ImageCapture Suite. Customers were wondering how our kits will support differing browser standards and a non-NPAPI Chrome browser.
Dynamsoft’s non-NPAPI solution
As we previously stated, Dynamsoft has approximately 5,500 companies and government agencies that rely on Dynamic Web TWAIN and/or ImageCapture Suite. These companies have used our SDKs for their browser-based document imaging applications. So, it’s critical that Dynamsoft stay on top of browser updates and related standards changes. And, Google’s decision to no longer support NPAPI required a quick address by Dynamsoft.
As a result, we at Dynamsoft have concluded we will leverage the WebSocket protocol to enable document scanning in newer non-NPAPI Chrome browser versions. The WebSocket protocol is part of HTML5 and the latest versions of Chrome support HTML5. Here’s Wikipedia’s summary of WebSocket:
WebSocket is a protocol providing full-duplex communications channels over a single TCP connection. The WebSocket protocol was standardized by the IETF as RFC 6455 in 2011, and the WebSocket API in Web IDL is being standardized by the W3C. WebSocket is designed to be implemented in web browsers and web servers, but it can be used by any client or server application. The WebSocket Protocol is an independent TCP-based protocol. Its only relationship to HTTP is that its handshake is interpreted by HTTP servers as an Upgrade request. The WebSocket protocol makes possible more interaction between a browser and a web site, facilitating live content and the creation of real-time games. This is made possible by providing a standardized way for the server to send content to the browser without being solicited by the client, and allowing for messages to be passed back and forth while keeping the connection open. In this way a two-way (bi-directional) ongoing conversation can take place between a browser and the server. A similar effect has been achieved in non-standardized ways using stop-gap technologies such as Comet. In addition, the communications are done over TCP port number 80, which is of benefit for those environments which block non-web Internet connections using a firewall. WebSocket protocol is currently supported in several browsers including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera. WebSocket also requires web applications on the server to support it.
Our SDKs will support NPAPI too, for those using older browsers. But, our new SDKs to come will also leverage WebSocket. This ensures developers wanting to support the latest browsers will be able to do so. In other words, when you upgrade to one of our new kits supporting WebSocket you can update your application accordingly. In the end, this ensures users of new Chrome browser versions can use your document scanning application.
It’s also important to note our new SDKs to come will provide the same consistent user experience, for developers and users. There will practically be no learning curve related to supporting WebSocket in addition to NPAPI. In other words, Dynamsoft’s SDKs will continue to ensure reduced development times and costs while ensuring more robust applications.
We will always strive to maintain Dynamsoft’s market leadership in software development for document scanning and image capture applications. These new SDKS to come represent our desire to maintain this leadership and our strong customer focus. So, please continue to stay tuned as we soon reveal new Dynamsoft SDKs. These SDKs will leverage the latest browser standards including, WebSocket for document scanning in the newest Google Chrome browsers.