PHP, Scanners and Document Management

Hi, Everybody,

My name is Dave. I’ve written a few applications in PHP and MySQl. I’m by no means an expert, but I’m not a straight out newbie either. Although I am new here on the board.

Currently I’m talking with a company about a particular application and attempting to find an inexpensive approach to their need. Here’s the deal…

They have a large plot of land with a large amount of sub-plots. Each sub-plot is owned by someone. They have a basic grid that where each cell shows the sub-plot’s owner and location of that owner’s file (which contains a bunch of documents like contracts, copies of ownership documents, etc.). This is all stored on paper copies in filing cabinets. They want to digitize all of this. They want a database program which will register each plot, their owner, and then they want to scan in each document in that person’s file and store the images as tiff files or jpg files or whatever.

They were looking at a program called Alchemy to accomplish this, but Alchemy requires them to purchase an SDK as well as Visual Studio .Net and go through $8000 worth of training, etc. This is not an economic solution for them. So I’m trying to come up with an alternative that is a bit more palatable to their checkbook.

I believe that MySQL can handle the images (through large blobs) and the grid data entry and manipulations can be done in straight forward PHP/MySQL. The question I’m facing is how can I handle the scanning issue. Is there any way to read the data coming in from the scanner and port it into MySQL directly using PHP. Or should I look for another approach?

Any suggestions would be really helpful.



PHP might be able to use the scanner via command line applications but I’m not really sure it’s worth it. In the end, you need to feed the scanner and associate the documents to the entries in the database.

From the moment you have those documents as an image, you won’t really be able to do things like text recognition unless you code your own application to do it or your scanner application does it and you can handle to store it separatly. If all you want to do is list them and allow the users to view them, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Thanks, Bane,

I figure the best approach, seeing that this is going to be on an internal network, is to store the files and record their location in the database. They only need the ability to view the files, so that part is pretty simple.

I didn’t think about that 'til late last night. My creative abilities were hampered by a really bad sinus headache.

Anyway, thanks for the response.


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