RIP Philo

getting data from offline barcode collector into web application

We have a customer in need for a new in-house application. Taking all things into consideration, web application seems the way to go. However, they also use bar code scanners - online (connected into PS2 port and therefore acting basically as keyboards) and offline (bar code data collector) which can be connected to PC at any point in time.

How to read those bar codes into web application? Basically, what needs to be done are the same operations as with online scanners, but more than one time.

Any ideas, how to do it? Java applet, flash, ActiveX or something different?

Scanners are Datalogic Forumula 732e and Metrologic Scanpal. Web application will be JEE running on BEA Weblogic.

Final note: English is not my first language, so apologies for that.
Permalink Send private email kristj 
March 16th, 2007 5:18am
Im torn between a deep desire to abuse you for using this forum like a help forum, and a faint distaste for the idea of being accused of acting like a hypocrite*

so anyway, have you considered hiring some kind of programmer?

* actually _being_ a hypocrite I have no problem with, its just Im scared someone might notice..
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 16th, 2007 6:35am
Not all JEE programmers have experience with bar code readers which connect to PC's over RS-232. Unfortunately, I haven't got any of these... out of a good hundred. So, whom should I hire next? A .net guy, a Flash guy?
Permalink Send private email kristj 
March 16th, 2007 6:43am
When dealing with these kind of scanners the best bet is usually to use the built-in aplication facilities to write software that will communicate back to the web service as XML (or whatever you are using). Trying to write aplications on desktops in JS or Java to pick up the data is probably going to be more effort than it is worth, particularly since you are going to need quite a high level of access on the client PC, which JavaScript won't get without using ActiveX objects.

If you were UK based I could recommend some people to help, but I don't know many companies outside the UK that do this kind of thing; if you want to ask for help then I'll do what I can, but I am more experienced with Symbol and Opticon units than the Scanpal or the Datalogic units.
Permalink Send private email Paul Brown 
March 16th, 2007 7:01am
Usually those scanners are just keyboards. So you can use em as one of those.

You use a little bit of javascript to keep the capture field on focus and voila, you are done :)
Permalink Send private email Masiosare 
March 16th, 2007 10:02am
> Usually those scanners are just keyboards

That's true of the "online" scanners. However, the question was about "offline" scanners - these collect data in memory or storage that's internal to the scanner and then occasionally you connect it to its docking station and it transfers all of the data that it has collected since the last time that it was docked.

Perhaps the vendor of the scanner can provide software or drivers that can handle the data input and export it to some other format that your application code can accept.

I had to deal with one of these types of scanners some time ago. The vendor supplied a utility (a 16-bit DOS utility!; it may have even run as a TSR) that read the data from the scanner when it was plugged into its port and then produced a CSV-like text file as its output (with the scanned barcode, date, time, an ID for the scanner, and maybe a few other fields in each row or line of data).

We wrote a small amount of code that watched for this file and read it in and parsed each row.
Permalink Philip 
March 16th, 2007 12:49pm

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