Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Barcode Maker: Barcode Studio V9.3 released

Just a short notice for Barcode Studio users: V9.3 is available for download, it introduces the following new feature:
  • EPS files may now be generated with embedded TIFF preview.
And fixes the following bugs:
  • Fixed the problem with auto-resizing PDF files.
  • Set the missing resolution settings and reduced the image file sizes (TIFF Export).
  • File extension is now always adapted to the chosen image type (Data List Export).
  • It is now possible to load files that do not have a file name extension (Mac OS).
  • CMYK color settings can now be used directly for EPS generation (Mac OS Color dialog).
Many thanks to the HP SmartStream team for their valuable feedback!

Users of Barcode Studio 9.0 or higher may update to this version free of charge.

Download it here: Barcode Studio V9.3 (Windows), Barcode Studio V9.3 (Mac OS X - Universal Binary for PPC and Intel), Linux (on request)

Using a Software Wedge with Citrix XenApp

The Requirement:

Recently a customer of TEC-IT reported some troubles when using the software wedge TWedge on a tablet PC (running XP-based Windows Embedded) in combination with Citrix XenApp v11.0.0.x.
The customer was looking for a solution to connect a Bluetooth barcode scanner (from Intermec) with a legacy database application. Scanned data should be transferred to an input field followed by a TAB key. The database application in question is hosted by an ASP and provided to the tablet PC via XenApp from Citrix.

The Problem:

The initial problem was that the scanned barcode data was not reliable transferred to the database application - scanned data was not transferred completely.

The Solution:

The clipboard-functionality of TWedge solved the problem. Instead of simulating single keystrokes based on the scanned data the barcode value is copied into the clipboard and then pasted to the Citrix client. Thereafter a TAB key is simulated. One very important point in this approach is to use some short delays between the single commands. These delays are required to allow Windows and Citrix messaging to work correctly. Here is the OnData() script of TWedge:
CopyToClipboard (DATA);         // copy barcode data into the clipboard
Sleep (50); // allow clipboard value to settle
SendKeyStrokes (CTRL, "V"); // paste the clipboard to Citrix
Sleep (50); // wait until pasted
SendKeyStrokes ("{TAB}"); // press the TAB key
Sleep (20); // wait until TAB was processed
Hope this helps other customers too!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Suppress Duplicate Barcodes or RFID Tags with the Software Wedge?

The Problem:

Maybe you are familiar with this scenario: You are connecting a barcode scanner, an electronic scale or an RFID reader to your computer. When capturing data it turns out that the device is sending identical values multiple times. This happens if the user scans a barcode repeatedly, a scale sends the weight of the item periodically or if a RFID reader reports the value of a RFID tag at regular intervals.

The Solution:

TWedge provides a very flexible and elegant solution to this problem. The software wedge can be customized to suppress multiple, identical values easily: Just save the last data value received from the device and compare it with the current one. Forward the device data to target application only if these values are not identical. Here is the script:

The Software Wedge Script:

OnStart() is the perfect place to initialize the last received data value (sLastData) with a null value. OnStart is executed when device communication is initialized (e.g. the serial port was opened):
// This script is executed whenever communication is started.
// Use it to perform one-time initializations like opening a file or a database connection.
// message informaing the user what this sample is good for
MessageBox("This script demonstrates how to suppress duplicate data packets from a device.\n\nSometimes devices like barcode scanners or RFID controllers are sending the same data packet multiple times. This very useful feature just forwards unique values to the target application.");
sLastData = null; // initialize with a value which is never received from a device
nDuplicates = 0; // set the number of duplicates to 0

OnData() is executed whenever device data is received. Compare the current data value (stored in DATA) with the last one (sLastData). In this example keystrokes are only simulated if these two values are not identical:

// Check if the current device data is identical to the last one
if (DATA != sLastData)
{
SendKeyStrokes(DATA); // not identical: simulate keystrokes
sLastData = DATA; // set the last value to the current one
nDuplicates = 0; // increment the duplicate counter (for info only)
}
else
{
nDuplicates++; // duplicate received, just display an info-message
NotifyInfo ("Duplicate data received. The value " + DATA + " was suppressed " + nDuplicates + " times");
}

More information as well as the script explained in this post will be available soon on www.tec-it.com.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWedge Hotfix

This hotfix solves a problem when saving the settings of the software wedge into a TWI file.

The format of the TWI files was changed. This ensures that the settings can be saved even if special characters (like STX, ETX, EOT, DC1, DC2, ...) are part of the script. TWI files from previous version can be loaded without problems!

Download the hotfix here: Software Wedge for Windows

Monday, May 18, 2009

Barcode Studio V9.3 RC is available!

A new release (V9.3) of the barcode creator software Barcode Studio will be available to the public in a few days. This release introduces the following enhancements and bug fixes:
  • TIFF preview in EPS files
  • PDF Export - Fixed the problem with auto-resizing PDF files.
  • Data List Export - File extension is now always adapted to the chosen image type.
  • Mac OS X - Option All Files in the File Open Dialog
  • Mac OS X - CMYK colors can now be adjusted
As usual the release candidates are available exclusively to readers of this blog:
  • MAC OS X: Barcode Studio V9.3
  • Microsoft Windows: Barcode Studio V9.3
  • Linux: available on request!

Update: Barcode Studio V9.3 was released on 05-26-2009.

Existing customers of Barcode Studio V9.0, V9.1 or V9.2 can update to this version free of charge. All license keys are still valid.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Data Acquisition with a System Service

The software wedge TWedge is able to save data from serial or TCP based devices (e.g. barcode scanners, gauges, scales, controllers) directly into any database (ODBC) or file. When operating TWedge as a system service data acquisition can be automated completely and performed in the background without any user interaction.

Starting TWedge as service is done with the help of a Microsoft tool named srvany.exe (part of the Windows Resource Toolkit).

Check out more details here: how to install the Software Wedge TWedge as Windows Service? The primer explains the required Registry settings in detail.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

TFORMer 6.0 Available

New Barcode Label / Reporting Software Release!


TFORMer 6.0 is an advanced Barcode Label Software and Reporting Software with great usability. The brand-new version introduces a lot of features and improvement:
  • Improved User Interface
  • User-Friendly Manual Data Input
  • Unified Datasources (ODBC, XML, CSV, TXT, ...)
  • Field Bindings
  • Computed Fields / Serial Numbers
  • Datasource Parameters
  • Extended Barcode Support
  • And much more! Check out the details, download the demo version for free!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Windows 7 Software Compatibility

Great News!

Well - not really news because TEC-IT was already aware of this fact. But here is the first screen shot of TEC-IT Software running on a fresh Windows 7 Release Candidate (Build 7100). In the shot you see the Software Wedge TWedge (upper left corner), the Barcode Label and Reporting Software TFORMer (upper right, with some PDF output) and the Barcode Creator Barcode Studio (bottom, center).In the past we invested a lot of time to ensure compatibility with Microsoft products and compliance with Microsoft guidelines.
Thus, TEC-IT software products are usable on all current versions of Microsoft Windows (Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Seven, Server 2003 and Server 2008). You do not need to invest again if you switch to Windows 7 in the future (at least if it comes to TEC-IT products). And yes: 64 Bit operating systems are also supported - just contact us for native x64 versions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Barcode Generator TBarCode: Service Release

As of today a service release of TBarCode (Barcode ActiveX, Barcode DLL, .NET Barcode SDK) is available. It fixes the following bugs:
  • Image Export
    Special Characters in File Names are supported. Images can now be exported to paths or file names that contain special characters (characters that are not part of the ANSI code page).

  • Quiet Zone Bug Fix
    The left quiet zone of several 2D bar codes is now drawn correctly when the unit "Modules" is selected.

  • Data Matrix Bug Fix
    Internal code optimization was improved.
The download is available here: Barcode Software Component TBarCode V9.2

Monday, May 4, 2009

Scan & Store: Scan Barcodes directly into any Database

Are you looking for a basic inventory solution or you are just interested in registering items based on their barcode?

The data acquisition software TWedge provides an elegant solution - TWedge captures data from arbitrary devices (like a serial or USB barcode scanner) and can be configured to store captured data directly into any ODBC database.

Additional database software is NOT required! 

Smart Software Wedge

Configuration of TWedge is extremely flexible: The data acquisition functionality can be configured to meet your exact requirements. TWedge is able to perform read/write access to files, databases and may also simulate keystrokes.

To implement the required functionality you need:

  • A serial (or USB) barcode scanner. The used COM port as well as the interface parameters are important (most likely it will be 9600,N,8,1 - meaning 9600 bits per second, no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit)
  • TWedge (download)

Determine Bluetooth COM Port

For this example I use a Bluetooth bar code scanner (Metrologic Voyager). The scanner provides scanned data via COM3. This serial interface was adjusted manually in the services dialog of the available Bluetooth Devices on Microsoft Windows:

Configure TWedge Interface

Now start TWedge and configure the interface parameters. Adjust COM3 as displayed in the Bluetooth dialog above:

Test Scanner Communication

The next step is to test the interface configuration: just start communication in TWedge. Whenever you scan a barcode the number should appear in the protocol window:

Provide a Database

Now its time to connect the barcode scanner with a database. For demonstration purposes we use an empty database which was pre-installed by the setup application of TWedge:  A so-called System DSN which is named TWedge_Sample.

On 32 bit Windows you can check out the installed DSN by opening the Data Sources (ODBC) administration (Windows Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Set up data sources (ODBC)). If you are running Vista x64 then execute the command c:\windows\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe to view this dialog:

On Vista systems the database is usually stored in the folder C:\ProgramData\TEC-IT\TWedge\2.1\Examples\Database. When you open this database with Microsoft Access you see two tables. The example below stores captured data in the initial empty table tbl_Scans:

Configure Software Wedge

In order to configure TWedge open the script editor and select the predefined template which is named Database - Write. Double click it and close the script editor. This script reads data from the configured interface, determines the current date and time and enters the scanned data in the database mentioned above.

Data Acquisition

Start device communication again and scan some barcodes:

Finished! Barcodes are stored in Database

That's all! TWedge connects to the barcode scanner via the configured COM3. It waits for scans - and whenever a barcode was scanned it enters the barcode number into the database. And this is the result– the scanned barcodes are stored with some additional information like date/time and hostname:

 
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