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BartWestphal asked on

How to create a stand alone program to collect one piece of data

We have several customer service reps that need a stand alone tool/program that they can enter a 10 character code into and have it stored in either a text file, sql table, XML, MS Access or even Dbase format.  It would simply be a rectangle with an area to enter the code, and a button to push to submit it, then the area would be reset so they could enter the next code.  

In a previous life I had a programmer that could build this in FoxPro and it would store the data in a text file or dbase file (can't remember which).  Unfortunately I don't have a programmer, and I'm not one myself.  I thought of using MS InfoPath, but I think there are server licenses, etc. that make it too cost prohibitive for such a small task.

Is this something a non-programmer can do?  Any ideas?

Thanks!  Bart
Visual Basic ClassicPerl.NET Programming

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BartWestphal

8/22/2022 - Mon
surajguptha

Are you looking for a program to do that?
ASKER
BartWestphal

I'm really open to suggestions.  

If I had a little program that would be great.  
If there were some shareware or freeware tool that would work.
A method using MS Office tools would be another possible way.
surajguptha

Just curious, why wouldnt the person just open a text file and add this number?
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James Murphy
ASKER
BartWestphal

That would be the fallback plan.  LOL.  Good question.

My fear is that instead of following directions they might not, then it becomes a matter of cleaning the data before I can use it.  For instance, if I told them to put:
Code
Code
Code

Someone would put:
Code,
Code,
Code,
ASKER
BartWestphal

Also, the codes should be 10 characters long, but have leading zeros, so this is another area that they can goof up.

Instead of:
0001234567
I would potentially get:
1234567

I could certainly correct this on the SQL side, but it would be nice to validate it upfront if possible.
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
mjcoyne

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surajguptha

BartWestphal,
         We can do this simply by adding a validation rule in Excel cells. We can add a regex that is looking for 10 numbers and alphabets. If it does store it in the format you want, we can let the excel worksheet throw an error message.
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ASKER
BartWestphal

mjcoyne,

I like where you're going with this.  Please remember that I don't have a programming background or the tools of a programmer.  Is this something that needs Perl installed on my computer?  Would I get the software from "http://www.perl.com/download.csp"?  Can it be compiled and put on a network drive?

Thanks for your help!!!
mjcoyne

If you're in a Windows environment, you can get Perl from ActiveState:  go to http://www.activestate.com/downloads/, and click on the Get Current Release link in the ActivePerl 5.8.8.822 and ActivePerl 5.6.1.638 panel of the Language Distributions section of the page (at the bottom).  Then click on the Download link for the ActivePerl Standard distribution.  This will take you to a Contact Details page.  You can provide your contact information, or just click the continue button (providing the contact the information is optional).  On the next page, on the ActivePerl 5.8.8.822 side of the page, click on the MSI link under the appropriate version of Windows -- likely Windows (x86), unless you have a 64-bit version of Windows -- and the download should begin shortly.

The file you will download will be called "ActivePerl-5.8.8.822-MSWin32-x86-280952.msi".  Double-click on it to install Perl on your machine.

If you're in a Linux or Unix environment, let me know what the OS is, and I'll find you directions on how to install Perl.  However, these operating systems are usually distributed with Perl already installed, so it might not be an issue, unless we want to upgrade the version of Perl installed.  This too is easy.

You can certainly run such a script in a network environment, perhaps having the script on the server, or having the script reside on each workstation and write to a central file on the server.  You could even have the script identify what user input the data, either by maintaining separate files (in a central location on the server) for each client inputting data, or by writing a header line or some such to a single log on the server.

The "central script, single log" or "distributed scripts, single log" scenarios would require some further code to prevent potential problems (like two clients or sessions trying to write to the log at the same time), but this is not difficult.

A Perl script can also be compiled to a stand-alone executable -- see, for example, the tutorial at http://www.expertsrt.com/tutorials/Matt/perlPAR.html.
ASKER
BartWestphal

This is GREAT information.  It'll take me a little time to pursue it so please be patient.  I'll respond again Friday or Monday.  Thanks again!  I feel like this may open some new doors for me and as such I am very grateful.

- Bart
I started with Experts Exchange in 2004 and it's been a mainstay of my professional computing life since. It helped me launch a career as a programmer / Oracle data analyst
William Peck
ASKER
BartWestphal

I'm very close.  I can get the program to run, but I need to compile it so it can run on others computers.  When I try the instructions you provided I get the following error:

C:\Temp\Perl>c:\perl\site\bin\pp -o Emails.exe Program.pl
Can't find par loader at C:/Perl/site/lib/PAR/Packer.pm line 101.

Any ideas what's wrong?
ASKER
BartWestphal

Update.  I used Perl2Exe
http://www.indigostar.com/perl2exe.htm
And it works.  They have a 2 second nag after the compiled program closes, but it's a small price to pay for a free tool.  They may have a paid version too.

Thank you mjcoyne!
mjcoyne

It's funny -- I was anticipating your need to try PAR, so I installed it today too (I hadn't used it before myself, but had heard good things about it).  Ran into exactly the same problem as you did -- haven't yet figured it out...
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ASKER
BartWestphal

Good luck with it.  I deployed this to two reps and they should be off and running tomorrow with it.  Time for me to buy a book on Perl.