August 7, 2007
My work on flegita-gimp does not mean i forgot OCR which is, IMHO, the first class feature of scanning. Writing AbiScan clears my vision on how to design Gnome OCR UI. Before writing AbiScan, i was wondering how to integrate OCR in Gnome Scan. I was really worried because Gnome Scan is designed to pass image (as GeglBuffer) to application, not text or HTML or wathever OCR output format. I decided to write AbiScan and use ocropus directly instead of through Gnome Scan.
This lead me to find the way Gnome will receive OCR and OCR UI. AbiScan use ocropus command line tool, the idea is to use a library providing common OCR UI instead. This library should be ship by OCRopus. Why OCRopus and not Gnome Scan ? Because i think this library depends more on OCRopus and not on Gnome Scan. I may provide an OCR sink in Gnome Scan which help pluging Gnome Scan and OCRopus, but that’s not all the UI and OCR interaction part which should heavily rely on OCRopus itself, just like OCRopus command line tool.
Publishing AbiScan seems to have revealed questions from users. At the risk of repeating OCRopus website, let me explain a bit of OCRopus. OCRopus is not an OCR engine. OCRopus is a document analysis and OCR system. Instead of rewriting its own OCR engine, it uses existing one, especially tesseract, but more are to come. The difference between OCRopus and an OCR engine is exactly the same as between HTML and plain/text. HTML contains semantic, formatting and test itself while plain/text contains only … text ! So, if ever you read a comparision between OCRopus and e.g. gocr or ocrad, you can laught at it. Well, in fact, ocrad has a minimal layout analyser for text column, but that’s not as advanced as OCRopus layout analyser.