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The Alpha Software Forum Participation Guidelines

The Alpha Software Forum is a free forum created for Alpha Software Developer Community to ask for help, exchange ideas, and share solutions. Alpha Software strives to create an environment where all members of the community can feel safe to participate. In order to ensure the Alpha Software Forum is a place where all feel welcome, forum participants are expected to behave as follows:
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Bonus TIPS for Successful Posting

Try a Search First
It is highly recommended that a Search be done on your topic before posting, as many questions have been answered in prior posts. As with any search engine, the shorter the search term, the more "hits" will be returned, but the more specific the search term is, the greater the relevance of those "hits". Searching for "table" might well return every message on the board while "tablesum" would greatly restrict the number of messages returned.

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Similarly, if you are uploading a zipped archive, you should simply create a .ZIP file and not a self-extracting .EXE as many users will not run your EXE file.
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Alpha and VM and Scanner

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  • Alpha and VM and Scanner

    Just thought I'd share this since it's working quite well.
    I'm running A5V10, Windows 7, and a Fitness Membership Database.

    Apart from the Membership database that handles sign-ups we have a Symbol desktop barcode scanner that controls access to the centre. Access to the centre is through a turnstile gate system that is electronically controlled through the serial port in the PC

    I wasn't thinking too much when I ordered the scanner and got a USB version - I should have ordered the serial version, although that would have created a serial port problem in that there is only one port and it's needed for the access gate - I would have needed to add a 2nd port.

    The problem with the scanner is that because it's USB it acts as a keyboard type device and anything that gets scanned pops into whatever application is running in Windows.

    Windows 7 comes with a VM and I believe it will allow capture of a USB device. However it will not see any COM ports.

    So I found Sun's Virtual Box (from a search here) and found that the current version supports USB and COM access.

    I installed Virtual Box and installed Windows 7 - the same copy of Windows 7 that is running on the host - this is OK - I checked with Microsoft - it's the same base PC... yay!

    So, I have Windows 7 and runtime A5V10 database running in the VM. The Symbol Scanner automatically gets detached from the host and attached to the VM when the VM starts. I've defined a COM port under the VM pointed to the COM port on the host.

    There is only the A5V10 Membership Scanning database running in the VM, waiting for keyboard input from the scanner. The scanner attaches an "Enter" key to whatever is scanned and code in the Alpha form confirms a valid membership and then sends a control code to the serial port via SendStr, courtesy of Jim Chapman

    I implemented the Membership Scanning database a couple of different ways and both work well. Virtual Box supports network connections and so I created a Shadow Database - this worked well, but I wasn't getting a Gate Open signal flowing all the time - it was intermittant - but nothing to do with the Shadow process.

    I then created a network connection and a "MembershipScans" table in my main database. The VM runtime A5 database attaches the MembershipScans table through the network connection. This or the Shadow works but I left it with the extra table.

    There is a lag for sending out the serial port signal - I don't know why and have given up trying to figure it out. If the membership is valid I run a quick loop sending the signal out 5 times - this works every time. A loop of 3 didn't... go figure.

    Anyway... a long story, but a very successful and simple implementation.