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      03-26-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
scalbert
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iOS Development Question

Does anyone do any, know of someone or know of a decent forum for iOS development? I have searched and found some forums but unsure of which would be a better resource and before registering to several, I thought I would ask here first.

The application is to connect a Cognex industrial scanner to an iPad. Unfortunately Cognex does not make it easy and wants everyone to use their base station and have it connect to a PC via USB. The idea is to have the scanner connect to a tablet and whatever they scan is entered into any field, regardless of application. It could be a field in a website, Word, Excel, whatever. Cognex offers a keyboard wedge but requires the use of the base station connection via USB. The customer wants to bypass the base station.

To cut to the chase, there are workarounds and we have it working on a Win8 tablet or PC. The scanner will allow direct wireless network connections to it and it acts as a Telnet server. We wrote a quick application that connects to the scanner via Telnet and then whatever it receives is passed on to the OS via the SendKeys command and the active window receives the data as though it was entered into the keyboard. This was easy to mock up for Windows and even runs on all versions, XP, 7, etc. excluding RT.

However, knowing some of the restrictions of iOS but ignorant on details, I am not sure this could even be done. I know there are ways to create apps to run in the background in iOS but unsure if it could perform this. I have a feeling that the connection to a telnet server could be done. But am unsure if text received could be sent to the active app as keyboard input.

Any assistance or direction is greatly appreciated.
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      03-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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You can jailbreak your iPad and do anything you want with it.

Other than that, I am pretty sure you can write an application that would be able to telnet into another wireless device, pull data and upload it to the main box. I don't think there are any restrictions that would not allow you to do that.
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      03-26-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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This customer will not jailbreak hundreds of iPads.

Due to limiting app interaction, I am not sure if keyboard emulation is possible with iOS. The is the biggest hurdle that I am not sure about.
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      03-26-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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there are wireless scanners that already work with iOS, so yes, keyboard emulation is very possible. Hell, you dont even need a barcode scanner, just use the camera.
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      03-26-2013, 07:21 PM   #5
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The camera would have no hope of scanning a dot peen datamatrix code on a stainless steel part. This is not your high contrast QR code where it is literally black and white. This is dimples in metal with very little contrast when viewing. It takes specialized lighting, which is built into the scanner, to gain the needed contrast. Plus, the scanner needs to be able to take repeated drops from about 6 feet or so. These are just a couple of reasons why the customer is using a $3500 scanner.

The point is that they want to be able to scan the text from the datamatrix code into any app, not a specific one. Be it Safari or any app that support text input.

As mentioned, this is very easily done in Windows and most likely the direction they will take. But I commitment to exploring other options.
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