7 Replies Latest reply on Jun 8, 2008 1:59 PM by Michael Borbor

    Can Flex do this?


      My company is redesigning their activity registration software. We have been looking at Flex, since it makes providing a very attractive solution seem pretty easy. However, our clients need specific features such as:

      Ability to design membership cards
      Ability to have cash drawer open after completion of sale
      Ability to take photos using a web cam
      Ability to scan members in with a barcode scanner

      I'm pretty sure they will be able to design their cards and use a barcode scanner (since the scanner uses a keyboard-like input), but what about the cash drawer and photos? Can Flex interface with a USB or serial cash drawer?

      Thanks in advance
        • 1. Re: Can Flex do this?
          Noppadon Sodram Level 1
          Yes, barcode scanner can use
          • 2. Re: Can Flex do this?
            slaingod Level 1
            Any of those could be done with a small web server running on the same box as the Flex app. AIR applications might also have additional ways to do these.
            • 3. Can Flex do this?
              eric_bockyn Level 1
              The issue is that, for a given organization, the database and web server will be running off of a central computer (usually a dedicated server), so we wouldn't be installing web servers on all of the clients. The clients don't want to have to install multiple things on their computers. I wish we could do this, but they are usually very picky and stubborn.

              We plan to offer a solution that works from a website and with AIR. Only the AIR version needs to interface with the cash drawer and take photos. Our typical client has between 5 and 50 computers in their organization, but only a few with cash drawers. Our solution needs to be simple to install on new computers, and they typically replace the front desk computers more often than the others, so walking them through the installation of a web server will probably be too much.
              • 4. Re: Can Flex do this?
                ntsiii Level 3
                Even AIR does not interface easily with other programs, so look carefully at this.

                • 5. Re: Can Flex do this?
                  AICC Level 1
                  We too are looking at building our new registration system(both for online using a browser and using a desktop application). We have similar needs.

                  Id Cards (this seems to be quite tricky.becuase of the sure size of the idcards...not standard print paper size.)
                  Photo Capturing (we created an application in Action Script-60 hours worth of work..which saves the images to the server and allows the users to crop and resize images as their hearts desire)
                  Bar Code printing (I believe I have seen docs which says it can be done)
                  Bar Code Scanning (does work)
                  Receipt printing (we would like the receipt to automatically print)
                  Cash Drawers (we do not need cash drawer to open just have it work within our database).
                  This application we are creating a proof-of-concept is very similar to a point of sale system. We are looking at both flex or asp.net AJAX controls as the user interface and web services as the busines layer.

                  Problems I have discovered:
                  Printing in Flex does not seem to be easy and when printing mulitple pages (does anyone a good report writer for the web....either generated on the server side or client side...does adobe have a report writter?)... in other words their is not a easy report writing system in flex. Also the user has to click print using the printer interface in the OS. can I just issue a print job directly to the printer from the application. I know traditional thick client based applications allow this to happen (windows app....etc).

                  Other problem I am researching is load time. Even the shopping cart that adobe uses on their website seems to take a long time (built in FLEX). My users do not have this time for appliations to load or for the data it hosts to load. And for some of the shopping cart systems that have scrolls enabled, you do not even know the appliation is doing anything. In other words the little "Loading" circle which appears in the middle of the datagrid or list...is below the readable area on the screen. So I do not realize anything is happening on the screen. It appears broken. Only way I can think of this is to show a user a popup window (which would grey the main appliation out until data loaded). but that would only be a work-around for the slowness of the application. Maybe adobe just has a slow server where th web services are hosted. (specific reference: https://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/flex/index.cfm?store=OLS-US&storeclient=flex&view= ols_prod&promoid=DHFBK&category=/Applications/AcrobatProExtended&distributionmethod=FULL&n r=0 ..click on software and then select alphabetical listing and then click on the I-L link...seems to be slow, takes anywhere from 3-6 seconds to load.)

                  Another thing I have am researching is client-side datasets. For example> I have a datset with about 6000 companyname records that I use in our current application which is cached on the client so that it does not need to reload for every drop down list on every new form the user opens. In reality I have about 7 or 8 datasets like this that would be great to store them as client side datasets.

                  Another thing I am researching: how extensible it is in the number of forms it can handle nicely. Our current application has about 75 forms. I believe it can handle this nicely.

                  Bottom line: we are trying to avoid building a web application and client application. It would be nice to build 1 application to support and have it accomplish all scenarios.

                  If anyone has suggestions for anything like this, please let me know.

                  Doug Lubey of Louisiana
                  • 6. Re: Can Flex do this?
                    slaingod Level 1
                    You can see http://posewood2.ugenmedia.com for a webcam with resize/crop/blur tools (click webcam link) in Flex that does JPEG encoding on the client, so webcam is certainly possible.

                    Designing new membership cards also sounds like something you could do with Object Handles and some drag and drop functionality, then combine that with screencap/jpeg encode client side.

                    Just need a server piece to save the data to disk basically, though may be possible to do with AIR locally, not sure.

                    Automatic printing probably would not work. The docs explicitly state that you will need some user action in the OS print dialog to commence printing.
                    • 7. Re: Can Flex do this?
                      Michael Borbor Level 4
                      You'll find most useful to use LiveCycle DataServices that would allow you to create reports and so on, if you want to create a single application for all your users, you could use RSL or create small applications and load them at runtime so you'll reduce the app download time.

                      In flex you can even read barcodes using just a web cam there's a great example of that over there.