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Re: handheld scanner integration for LedgerSMB

On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 8:18 AM, Zev Steen <..hidden..> wrote:
Does anyone have experience integrating handheld scanners into Ledger?


The specific application is for receiving and shipping.  I would like to have a scanner that will allow people in our warehouse to scan items as they are shipped and received and mark them as SHIPPED or RECEIVED in the Ledger system.

I can see this done in any of several ways:

1. Use a smartphone to access Ledger via the web with an app that will scan the barcode of each item and allow the user to decide the SHIP or RECEIVE and the quantity of the item to use with that action.  It should use the Bar Code to match the items sent or received to the item in our inventory. (I added a field for UPC/Bar Code to our installation of Ledger)

2. Use a wireless scanner with memory upload it to a PC periodically.  The PC will have a script that will update LedgerSMB.

3. (Least preferable) have a wired scanner (or wireless) that will scan items and send the information directly to the PC which will upload it to Ledger.

Does anyone have any experience with this or suggestions that are different than mine?

The typical setup is for the scanner to act as a second keyboard.  This is either done by connecting to the PC via a keyboard wedge or a USB HID device.  Handheld scanners often also have keyboard emulation enabled.  If the PC is running windows then most scanners will work without question.  If it is running Linux, you need to make sure any USB scanners support HID operation (many support this by default with other options available).

Sometimes people use portable data terminals (PDT's) (your option 3).  Modern PDT's may be able to access LedgerSMB directly.  Otherwise they will copy/paste to the Windows clipboard and you have to have a script to pull the data in.  PDT's with periodic scripted uploads are preferred however where you may be doing extensive work without internet access (counting inventory in a disconnected warehouse might be a good example).

I have in the past gotten Symbol MC50's working properly with LedgerSMB though this involved patching LedgerSMB just a little (Windows Mobile of the version that comes with that device does not support button elements properly).

As always there are a lot of details that go into these sorts of things.  I would be happy to consult on such projects, but some very basic rules to keep in mind are:

1:  If in doubt about your light level, use laser scanners, not CCD's.  Laser scanners work far better in low light levels.

2:  Pay close attention to details such as wireless connectivity, location where the scanning will take place, etc. when settling on such a solution.  If everything is always done in the same place, a scanner connected to a PC is by far the cleanest solution.  If you have to move around it may not be.

Hope this helps get you started.
Chris Travers

Zev Steen
Fat Owls

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