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Re: scanning barcodes into html forms

From: Robert Rothenberg <wlkngowl@unix.asb.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 00:16:14 -0400
Message-Id: <199906070411.AAA07649@mail.asb.com>
To: Ryan Cole <ryanc@iesco-dms.com>
CC: www-html@w3.org
On 3 Jun 99, Ryan Cole wrote:

> I would like to create a specification for scanning bar codes into HTML
> forms. It seems to me that with possibly some minor additions to html

I don't see a need for this whatsoever. Bar code scanners are input devices 
used to make data entry easier, so generally they plug in with the 
keyboard allowing the user to scan in a bar code rather than type the info 
in (but with the option to type the info in when the bar code is unavailable 
or unreadable).

Or they are portable devices where a bunch of information is scanned in 
and every so often downloaded to a computer which processes it.

HTML and XML are device independent specs. They don't care where input 
comes from or where it is "displayed". They only describe the type of data.

Bar code information is not a data type. It's just data. The type of bar code 
only matters to the scanner reading it (and some are smart enough to 
distinguish between different types) and not to the input form. (Why bog 
down a web author with specifying the type of bar code? If a company 
changes the bar code type, all web forms would have to be changed.)

This is akin to requiring the input a user types in to have come from a 
written document in a specific font. When data comes from a form, it 
doesn't matter if it comes from somebody's head, mysterious voices, 
handwritten on a napkin, spoken into a microphone, typed in a hexidecimal 
keypad, read from a punchcard, or printed in 8 pt. Times New Roman from 
a newspaper.

> spec, or just interpreting it with bar coding in mind, it could be great
> for data entry. I know that much of this is a browser area, but there
> are some minor tidbits of information that the browser could use to make
> this much more practical.
> 
> Here are some of my ideas:
> 
> <scan_enable> tells browser that this form is intended for scanning and
> to turn on or enable scanning device.
> <scan guide="textID" prefix="ID" type="code39" length="10"> Specifies
> fields that scanned input could be guided to. Modifiers for guiding
> input into fields could be specified, such as prefixes, bar code types,
> and lengths.
> <scan_autosubmit> automatically submits form after last field is
> scanned.
> 
> The actual syntax is not important to me. I just want to make bar code
> scanning via a browser practical. Believe me, if you have ever
> programmed data collection systems, you would know why I want to make
> this happen so much.

I have worked with these systems. What you want is to have the browser 
smart enough to know when a form is filled to automatically submit it. This 
can already be done with scripting where if a field is the correct length or 
format when the "onchange" event is called, automatically submit the form.

> 
> -Ryan Cole
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Monday, 7 June 1999 00:16:52 GMT

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