Tuesday, July 08, 2014

SSRS Barcode Printing & Reporting

SSRS Barcode

Commonly known as SSRS, SQL Server Reporting Services is a powerful reporting platform that enables organizations to build complex reports that improve understanding of a wide range of factors in business including revenue analysis, quality of service, and even the efficiency of a store or websites’ layout. Many organizations choose to integrate SSRS barcodes into their environments which adds an entirely new level to inventory control, document tracking, marketing promotions and more. SSRS does not include barcode generation capability by default, however, and so most organizations look to a third party like IDAutomation for a solution they can rely on.

The best SSRS barcode solution is the .NET Assembly which is a font encoder tool that may be used in conjunction with any IDAutomation linear barcode font. This special encoder is designed to format the data-to-encode so that it generates a readable barcode when the font is applied to it according to spec of the particular Symbology as noted by the AIM or ANSI standard.

It is important to note that the .NET Assembly in this article is only going to work with the linear barcode fonts, as IDAutomation’s 2D barcode font package include their own .NET Forms Controls which can be used to achieve this same SSRS barcode integration goal.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Code 128 Font Package Available

IDAutomation has released the latest update to their Code128 Font Advantage Package, and it is now available in both demo and purchased versions from IDAutomation.com. This package includes some new features and changes that are not available in the prior version, released in September 2013:

  • TrueType font files have been updated to OpenType with Digital Signatures, which authenticates IDAutomation as the author of the files. This shows users that the files are of high quality, and can be trusted not to do something terrible like crash your application.
  • TrueType fonts have been updated with Symbol Encoding, which means users can select the font by it's name rather than what it looks like. This is beneficial because barcodes can be very difficult to tell apart in a list!
  • Added PostScript ASCII Type 1 fonts.
  • Updated Crystal Report Formulas.
  • Added examples for FileMaker
Purchase the Code 128 Fonts and download this latest version if you haven't already done so. If you currently own a license to this product and would like to download the latest version, you may do so by activating your Priority Support & Upgrade Subscription.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Optional Integration Makes Sense, and Here's Why

After the great economic downturn of 2008, it’s no secret that businesses across the nation have significantly tightened their belts. In the slow recovery that the economy has experienced following, businesses have kept a watchful eye on spending habits. In fact, many businesses have found that by cutting spending, they are able to keep more employees and even become more profitable. This change spells trouble for many B2B companies who make the bulk of their revenue by selling the components that their customers need to continue to do business. As these customers continue to place their spending habits under a microscope, B2B companies may well see a drop in revenue because these companies are going with more affordable options.

There are many companies that offer a wide range of barcode generation solutions that are suited to an even broader base of customers throughout a multitude of industries and businesses both large and small. One of the most important things is the ability for developers to bundle these products into their own, and then distribute them to their own customers, retail or otherwise. The authority to do this does not always come cheap, however, and prospective customers can find it quite challenging to pinpoint a company that has an affordable alternative.

While IDAutomation does provide commercially-focused developer licenses which allow our customers to bundle our products with their own custom applications which are then distributed via resale, we also offer a little-known, low-cost alternative. The Optional Integration is an excellent and extremely cost-effective way of integrating our products into applications that are meant for distribution or resale. There’s just two simple steps, and here’s how it works:

Integrate Our Product into Yours

To integrate our product into your custom application, you must purchase a Single User License or you can integrate one of our free demo's instead. These are the lowest-cost options and will allow you access to the product API so that you can make sure it works when installed. Please do not distribute the purchased fonts within your application, however, as that is a choice left up to your customer.

Notify Your Customers!

Since the purchased fonts will not actually be installed in your custom application, your customers will need to be made aware. This is a great time to provide your customers with a hyperlink to our website, or better yet, a hyperlink directly to the product they need to install. They can use that link to purchase and then install into their system. This is the part where your customer incurs the cost of this added feature instead of you.

Here are some other important things to consider when utilizing our Optional Integration License:
  • Make it Easy!
    Additional installation steps can be dangerous for customers. During the integration phase of your development, don't forget to make it as easy as possible for your end users to add our component or font/encoder to your custom application. For instance, it is a great idea to develop your software so that the customer need only purchase and install our software on their system in order to use it in yours. IDAutomation can provide some assistance to your end users if there are any problems installing.
  • Want to Add a Revenue Stream?
    One really great thing about the Optional Integration License is the potential for a new revenue stream. IDAutomation's Barcode Affiliate Program allows software developers to receive a 20% commission on purchases that customers make when they purchase from a link on your website, in an email from you, or within your application itself. Utilizing the IDAutomation Affiliate Program is a great way to get a piece of the action when your end users do decide to take advantage of the barcode generation feature, and need to complete a purchase with us in order to do so.
If you like the idea of paying a low-or-no cost to give your end users the ability to add barcode generation to your software, AND you like the idea of potentially making 20% off of each of those sales, we encourage you to take a serious look at our Optional Integration License, and contact us with any questions you may have.

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Updates to Barcode Generator Scripts

IDAutomation has released a new update for our family of Barcode Generator Scripts for ASP, ASPX and PHP environments. This latest update resolves a cosmetic issue with the Human Readable Fonts embedded in these products.

IDAutomation Barcode Generator Scripts provide an easy means of streaming dynamic barcodes into internet-connected environments including web pages and applications that can access the internet. One very useful method of integrating these scripts is through SSRS 2012 for linear barcode generation, and this is an excellent alternative to the Barcode CRI that is compatible with SSRS up to 2008.

If you currently own a license to the ASP, ASPX or PHP Barcode Generator Scripts and would like to download this latest version, purchase the Priority Support & Upgrade Subscription today. Or, you can purchase a new license directly from our website.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Inserting Barcodes in Crystal Reports

Crystal Reports is one of the most popular environments in the business market today. Companies across the globe utilize the power of Crystal Reports to generate reports from a multitude of data sources, providing immeasurable insight in terms of business analysis, strategic planning, inventory control and much, much more. Crystal Reports is also one of the most popular environments that businesses integrate barcode technology into. While many barcode technology companies offer fonts or .NET components to meet this need, customers often find these solutions to be cumbersome, complicated and often costly.

In 2010, IDAutomation was able to secure a patent for a special barcode generator object, thus eliminating the need for cumbersome fonts or complicated components. Known as the Native Barcode Generator for Crystal Reports, this totally unique product affords companies the ability to easily add barcode generation capability to reports without installing fonts or any other components. In short, the native barcode generator lives inside the report itself, and travels with the report when being distributed electronically.

IDAutomation has also secured similar patents for generating barcodes in Microsoft Access as well as Oracle Reports, giving customers the freedom to explore a completely new method to generate barcodes without much of the confusion. To learn more about the Native Barcode Generator for Crystal Reports or to watch us demonstrate how you can generate Code 128 barcodes in Crystal Reports using this innovative product, please view the video below.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to Stream Barcodes into iReport Designer

iReport Designer is an open source report designer that can be used with Jaspersoft Corporation's JasperReports and JasperReports Server. iReports Designer allows users to design complex, sophisticated layouts which can include a range of valuable elements from charts, crosstabs and images as well. One little-known, but very valuable feature is the environment's ability to utilize a dynamic web address to source an image for display onto a report. This is particularly useful in situations where a barcode needs to be displayed on a report for document tracking or automated data entry purposes.

IDAutomation's technical support staff has worked hard to find an easy way to integrate barcode generation capability into iReport Designer, and we are pleased to release our latest tutorial. If iReport Designer is your environment of choice and you have a need to generate linear or 2D barcode images for your reports, we encourage you to test with a demo to use alongside this easy step-by-step tutorial. We also offer free pre-sales technical support, so you can always contact technical support with any questions you may have.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Should Barcodes Be Used on Student ID's?

Student ID from school.discoveryeducation.com

A customer recently came to us with questions about integrating barcode technology in an elementary school lunch program. Barcodes are an excellent way to cut down on human error, and also great for a first-line defense against theft of important information like numbers, addresses and other data that may otherwise appear on an ID card.

Here is how the lunch program currently works:

  1. Each student is issued an ID card that displays the student's ID number.
  2. The student selects their meal items and brings them to the register where the cafeteria employee enters the items.
  3. The student manually enters their ID number and the debit card associated with the ID number is then charged accordingly.
This seems pretty simple, doesn't it? While this process may look good on it's face, there are glaring inefficiencies, and a lot of room for potential errors.

What if the student forgets their ID card? 

Students are encouraged to memorize their ID number in the event that they forget the card, but they do not always do so. The resulting impact is that cafeteria employees have to spend more time at checkout locating a student's ID number, which can slow down the line and leave students with less time to eat.

A potential solution to this problem is to leave the student ID cards with their teachers instead of with the students themselves. Each teacher would keep the ID cards of the students who go to lunch after their class, and distribute them so that the students will always have their cards. It's possible that some students will find a way to lose their cards between class and lunch, but the likelihood is greatly diminished if the cards are handed out by the teacher on a daily basis and then returned to the teacher after.

What if the wrong ID number is entered? 

Given the high rate of error in elementary school children entering a string of numbers from memory or even a card, it's probable that one student's account may end up being charged for another's lunch. This can also be a problem when students see the ID numbers of their peers and enter them intentionally, instead of their own. This is an inconvenience for both parents as well as for the school, whose employees have to process a refund and charge the correct account. Questions of theft can also come into play under these circumstances.

The best way to minimize the likelihood of human error is to eliminate the opportunity for the error to occur in the first place. This can be done by either adding  a barcode to the existing student ID, or by completely replacing the student ID number with a barcode.

How To Add Barcodes to Student ID Cards

It's easier to add barcodes to your student's ID cards than you think. All you really need are a few important things as outlined below:

Barcode Software To Use

Most student ID numbers are going to be no more than 13 characters. This is good news because the easiest solution is to use Code 39 barcode fonts. Why? Because of it's simple encoding process. The data you want to turn into a barcode must be formatted properly before the font is applied to it, or else your scanner will not recognize the barcode. In the case of Code 39, all you need to do is type an asterisk before and after the data you want to encode. Like this:


Just highlight the above data and then apply the appropriate Code 39 font to it and you've got a readable barcode. Other barcode types that encode larger amounts of data require more complex encoding which is usually done with a special font encoder tool. This makes these other font types less compatible with other programs, especially in comparison to Code 39 which is essentially compatible with any application that can call on a specific font. Simply apply the font to the student ID number when you are creating the student ID card.

Buy the Code 39 Font Advantage Package

Barcode Scanner To Use

IDAutomation USB Bacode Scanners are excellent for reading Code 39 barcodes in a POS environment, even if it's a school cafeteria. If a stand is purchased as well, the scanner can be programmed to continuous mode which means the student need only hold their ID card in front of the scanner and wait for the beep that indicates a successful read without even even touching any POS equipment. This not only cuts out the risk of human error in entering the correct ID number, but also extends the life of POS equipment which is handled much less.

Buy a USB Barcode Scanner

It doesn't take much to increase the efficiency of your elementary school's lunch room, thereby cutting wasteful costs. IDAutomation can provide the necessary products to add barcodes to your student ID's, and to scan them into your cafeteria POS system with relative ease.