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Quick Address (PAF) in Visual Basic

Posted on 2000-03-06
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Can you link VB4 or VB6 with quick address(PAF). If it does, how is it done?

Thanks

Mari
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Question by:mari_carmen
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11 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:wsh2
ID: 2590209
What the heck is Quick Address PAF?. Optimist that I am, the answer is most certainly, absolutely, positively, unquestionably -> MAYBE.. (depending on what you want to do).. <smile>.
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Author Comment

by:mari_carmen
ID: 2592886
wsh2

Quick Address is a program supplied by the post office that holds a database full of post codes and related addresses.

With quick address you can type in the post code, and the address right up to the street is pulled in. It saves on users typing in the whole address.

I know that quick address is a generic program and can be linked to programming applications. I just don't know if it can be linked to VB.
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by:wsh2
ID: 2593109
Then.. our first step is to contact the Post Office and see if there is any technical information available.. principally database layout and field definitions. If indeed we can get this info.. we can then access the data stored there natively.. to provide the user what they want.. <smile>.

Short of that, we can possibly use the programs provided with the database to export all the data we need, into a file that we could then import into a database of our own design and purpose.  

Either of these thoughts give us the greatest flexibilty in what we can do with our programs.. as we are in very close touch with the data source. However, failing to expose the data, there are still things we can do.. <smile>.

For one, there may be a program already included in the database software that is already built as a data retrieval interface.. but to use that program we need the appropriate specs. Or.. (on a much more difficult level).. we can mimic a user working at a PC, and intercept the messages sent to the screen.

At this point.. your most expedient bet is to contact the Post Office's technical support group, and ask of them, whether they have an API (Advanced Programming Interface).. and if so.. how can you get a copy of the documentation.

If I had more time here.. I would hyper over to the Post Office site, and see what information is available online. Perhaps I can get to it this evening.. but one never knows when you have Teenage kidz and a direct connection to the INternet Hormone Zone.. LOL.

Good Luck in your endeavors..

Bill.
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by:wsh2
ID: 2594797
USPS National Customer Support Center at 1-800-238-3150.

Here is a URL for downloading the AIS (I assume that is the basis for Quick Address) technical manual.. <smile>

http://www.ribbs.usps.gov/files/addressing/pubs/ais.pdf
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by:wsh2
ID: 2594831
Rut Roh.. just found out that Quick Address is NOT USPS software.. but rather.. a commercial product.. http://www.qas.com/ is their web site.
Now.. back to your question.. <smile>.

From what I briefly read at QAS, the way the product works is the user gives some key information and then QAS puts the address onto the clipboard for pasting into another application. Using VB and sub-classing window APIs of the QAS screen forms, it is highly likely that we can send to the QAS program and then intercept the items responded back by it. Mind you.. the VB code to do this won't be particularily pretty.. but it will work.

As it is late, I am off to blissful slumber.. let me know if you want to explore this topic further.. and I will see what I can do to help.. <smile>
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Accepted Solution

by:
bobobrien earned 150 total points
ID: 2605350
To use vb and quick address requires very little work in VB. No api's or dlls are needed.

It is a while since I have used it with VB but its stimple to use and make your own app look very good.
Quick Address is a standalone package.

Once it is loaded, either from start up or fired up from VB it just sits in the back groud. On a function key press (F12 i think, but you may be able to change this in Quick Address' own options Screen) the Quick Address dialog pops up on top of all other apps and waits for you to enter a post code. Once the post code is entered, Quick Address displays the relevant address (road, town, city/county and sometimes even the building number). You can either another post code or press return to accept the address it has presented you with.

This is the clever bit. When you press return, Quick Address pastes the Address details through to which ever app had focus before it did. It sends each field followed by a tab or return character (also an option in its settins i think). Therefore if you have your address fields set up in the same order that QA will paste the values into you app, without you having to write any code at all.

If you can't change the order of your fields to match those of QA, I think you can change the order in which QA pastes the fields.

Basically, its a simple, but very effective product.

Good luck and I hope this helps.
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by:wsh2
ID: 2605496
Bob..

<Can you link VB4 or VB6 with quick address(PAF). If it does, how is it done?>

I believe Mari Carmen wants to do this programmatically.. ie. WITHOUT operator intervention.

This can be done programmatically.. but to do it effectively in VB.. you have to hook the QA program.. feed QA the necessary criterea.. and then intercept the response residing on the clipboard.

All in all.. it is a VERY doable programming task.. <smile>.
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Author Comment

by:mari_carmen
ID: 2606137
bobobrien, one last question

Do you have to enter a key, i.e. F12 to start it or can you use a text box in VB so when the post code is entered into it, the other text boxes defined are populated with the address.

Thanks.

Mari
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Expert Comment

by:bobobrien
ID: 2610799
Sorry, I couldnt tell you the answer to that,

however, I would have thought that QA would dupply that type opf functionality.

Sorry I can't be of more help

Bob
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by:wsh2
ID: 2610997
The QA software has its own textbox where you enter the postal code desired. When you hit enter, the software retrieves and displays the data in its own window. If you hit F12 (I assume), QA will post the data to the Windows Clipboard (line delineated), then allowing you to Paste it any application you desire. If indeed you want to Paste this into a VB textbox, rest assured, the VB Textbox will accept it.

As the QA program sits, all of this has to be done manually. In looking at their website, I saw nothing to indicate that a programming interface to automate zip code entry / and or return postal addresses was available.

That does NOT mean, we cannot automate the user interface ourselves.. (ie. unattended processing). Through VB programming (and the judicious use of APIs) we can make the QA program behave as though there were an operator sitting there punching codes.. and pasting addresses away like crazy.. when in reality no one is siting there. that is automation.

In that, I ask you to please restate your question.. are you after a manual solution or an automated (programatic) one? If programatic, please be specific as you can in what you would like your application to do.. <smile>

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Expert Comment

by:bobobrien
ID: 2612489
To all,

I have just had a look at there web site and there does seem to be dlls available to use directly from VB. Take a look at their site map, there is both a developers page and an area to download sample code. I haven't had time to do this but I imagine that it is what you want


Bob
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