Is it possible to scan a barcode and have an application know which field is intended?

Posted on 2013-06-05
Last Modified: 2013-06-29
Is it possible to scan a barcode and have an application know which field is intended?
I have a hand-held scanner and lets say that I had 3 different bar codes, would it be possible for me to scan one of the barcodes and the application automatically place the data in the correct field?
I am using VB.NET but will consider C# as well.
ps. All hints, ideas and suggestions are welcomed.
Question by:middlefox
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

Paul MacDonald earned 250 total points
ID: 39223362
Not in and of itself.  If the data is sufficiently different - one barcode is text, one barcode is numeric, one barcode is a date - you might just accept the data and populate the field with some logic.  Another possibility is if the data has a prefix or suffix.

That said, it might make sense to presume the barcodes will be scanned in the same order each time.  A, B, C, then back to A, etc.

Another alternative would be to scan a barcode that tells the application which barcode is coming next.  This wouldn't stop someone from telling the application that "barcode A" is being scanned next, then scanning "barcode B", but you can rarely work around all human error.
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Assisted Solution

by:Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson earned 250 total points
ID: 39223400
Not unless you trapped the barcode entry at a low level before it gets to your application so you could inspect it and decide where it needs to go.  Otherwise it will just go to the currently focused application/control.

See "Distinguishing Barcode Scanners from the Keyboard in WinForms":

Author Comment

ID: 39223590
I am assuming there are ways to write custom code to interpret a scan, but that is the least interesting to me.

I am more interested in having special formatting in the barcode content that helps do more than just put the content into the selected textbox. And the cases I am most interested improving are not our custom apps, they are Epicor. What I am most interested in are conventions that exist that people use out there to solve this kind of problem: scanning multiple fields into multiple text boxes from one barcode in one scan. I believe this is possible with delimiters if the tab order of the text boxes are known… however I am also wondering about solutions that might leverage alt key labeling so that scan order would be irrelevant.

ask your friends if they know.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39223873
"What I am most interested in are conventions that exist that people use out there to solve this kind of problem: scanning multiple fields into multiple text boxes from one barcode in one scan."
There may be solutions, but they're proprietary.  I'm not aware of any barcode convention that both defines the data and where it should be stored.  

I'm sure you could do something like that (my note about prefix/suffix above), but there's no standard for it I'm aware of.  I have no doubt it's possible; you'd just have to do it yourself.

Author Comment

ID: 39264031
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

no real answers, its sad that these are the "experts" of this site.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39263685
Several - possibly all - viable solutions ("real answers") were offered for your consideration.  That none of them meet your expectations doesn't make them any less valid; they show your expectations to be unrealistic.  

If you come up with a solution to the question you posed - other than one already proposed by an Expert - feel free to share it and enlighten us.


Author Comment

ID: 39263825
My expectations were very realistic, trying to get points for a non-answer is not realistic. I found real answers elsewhere. Real answers not theoretical ideas, it was obvious that not a single one of the "experts" had ever worked on such an issue. I found several good solutions, with code examples. I already paid to use the "experts" on this site. I am not sharing my findings, let the "experts" on here figure it out.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39264032
I think, if you have a workable solution and can prove it, you could get a refund for the cost of posing the question.  Wouldn't sharing your answer be worth getting your money back?

I've asked a moderator to intercede and give guidance.

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