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Barcode scanner display and update data on access

Posted on 2013-10-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-10-28
Good day!

Wondering if there is any way to query MS access data based on the barcode scanned and display it on a barcode scanner. what barcode scanner should i use?

i also want to be able to update data in an access database. even if it takes exporting and importing into access is fine.

i just need a head start on how to begin this.

i really appreciate the help
Question by:repco
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LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 200 total points
ID: 39595698
Most barcorde scanners are "keyboard wedge" type, which means they simply replace the keyboard in terms of input. So if I have an form with a Textbox, and I place my cursor in the TExtbox and scan something, the Textbox would be filled with whatever was returned by the barcode scanner.

From there I could take whatever action I need. Generally you would use a controls AfterUpdate event, or a button click, or something of that nature, to respond to these user actions.

There are other, more high end scanners as well, that can take action on their own. Most of those come with an API that allows you to monitor the scanner action, and respond whenever a scan takes place. Many of those are not suitable for use with Access, however.
LVL 24

Accepted Solution

Bitsqueezer earned 1800 total points
ID: 39602297

if you want to display anything on a barcode scanner the minimum you need is a scanner with a display and an own operating system. The most scanners, like LSMConsulting already said, are "stupid" scanners which are only able to scan something and output it on different ways, including WLAN.

So the first thing is that the scanners you need are not cheap. Start around 900$ and depending on your expectations there is no limit up.

Most scanners with display and OS are using Windows CE 5.0 up to Windows CE 6.5. They can be programmed easily with the API from the manufacturer but they cannot be programmed with VBA and you cannot use Access on them. You normally need to program beginning from C++ up to .NET languages (regularly .NET 3.5 as there is no newer Windows than 6.5 as far as I have searched for). Depending on the manufacturer there are also sometimes some ready made simple demo applications where you can see how it must be programmed.

.NET for example is of course able to work directly with an Access database but it is of course highly recommended to use a database server as backend here, my recommendation would be SQL Server if you want to use an Access frontend.

Next issue would be security. These scanners are able to work with WLAN, so you must secure the way the data is transmitted, means at least encryption of the signal, even better you should use a certification method. Windows CE on the barcode scanners support that. If you only use cable bound scanners you do not have this issue.

Next is security to the database. It is a good idea to integrate a third tier between the database and the barcode, usually a secured Intranet web server. This helps to improve the security as for example a stolen barcode scanner has no login information for the database server but only the methods to get only the needed data through a web server.

In my current project I have the same issue as we also need to implement barcode scanners with displays into the system. I've personally tested these two ones:

Motorola MT 2090
This is, as far as I could found, the really cheapest solution with Windows CE5.0 as OS. It is not bigger than a mobile phone and has an API which could be programmed with .NET 3.5. Be careful: You need to have Visual Studio 2008, not higher, to program these devices as newer Visual Studios do not support Windows CE anymore. VS2008 can used to program Windows CE with a WCE emulator, unfortunately there are no emulators for barcode scanners with their special hardware so you would mostly need to use the original device.

Our company has now decided to use a company-wide standard and decided to use scanners from Intermec. We have chosen the Intermec CK71 but there are different models with different capabilities (like included phone, RFID, different keyboard layout and so on). In comparison to MT2090 the CK71 outperforms the Motorola device in any point, better hardware (faster processor, better camera, more RAM etc.), better software (newer OS version (6.5), looks a little bit like Windows 7), better functionality - but also the double price.

In all cases you would need to program a little application which runs on the barcode scanner which is able to download the data from the database and maybe insert the scanned data back into the table. This can be done with .NET (the database stuff) and the API of the barcode scanner manufacter is the interface to the scan hardware to get the scanned data with all the needed information. The display of the MT2090 is very small so no good idea if you want to display table data. The CK71 (or comparable scanner sizes) has enough space to display a little table, it has also a touchpad which MT2090 do not have so it is easier to scroll.

Hope that helps a little bit to get you started. The mentioned models are only two of a wide range of scanners but in case of these two I have personally tried them out and they are both very good, the CK71 a lot better.



Author Closing Comment

ID: 39605531
thank you!

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