So this is the 2nd article in a series of 3 that shows you how to get started on creating a basic warehouse application, using Forge and the Cipherlab 8200. Yesterday we went through the basics, how to set up your PC, what hardware you need to buy and today we’ll look at Forge a little more closely.
What is Forge Application Generator?
Forge is Cipherlabs application environment for its 8000 series batch scanners. It allows you to quickly and easily create small, basic data capture applications with very little programming knowledge. It’s not for everyone, but it is for a lot of people.
Running Forge is easy, you just install it and run the Forge application form the newly installed Cipherlab folder on your start menu. The main screen is where you do most, if not all your work and is shown below:
So let’s go through the basics by going through each of the blue folders on the main screen:
This is where you set up the main startup behaviour of the Cipherlab 8200 device. You can ask it to start in a menu fashion, giving the user a set of menu items to choose from, or you can go straight into a “Form” which is really an app in Forge. You can also set up the menu you want the user to see and restrict certain elements from it. You can also set up basic font sizes and more from here.
This is where you set up the general behaviour of the whole device and applications you install to it. Its pretty straight forward with options for the keyboard lights, sounds, scan beeps etc. However a key feature here is the connection property of the device. You can choose USB, RS-232, IR all of which are key to getting right if you want to upload and download data with the 8200. You can set up functions keys and the security of the device here too.
This is where you control the bar code scanner on the Cipherlab 8200. It’s much the same as any other device and where you can configure the scanner.
This is where a lot of the work is done when creating an application. You can have 10 menu’s in Forge, I have never needed all of them! From here you can create a custom menu for your application with links to each Form (See below) you create. It’s essentially where you build the framework and navigation of your application.
This is where you create Lookup data which can be used to drive any type of application that requires a data check. An example of this is you might want to scan products in your warehouse, but look up the bar code in real-time, matching it with a description or expected quantity for example which is data designed to be presented to the user in real-time.
So we created a menu structure above, however a Form is where the bulk of the application happens. You can again have a maximum of 10 forms, and onto each from you can create fields, actions and manipulate the data structure captured by the fields. So you can create a text box, set its name, allow input from the scanner or text or neither, set its min and max data lengths and lots more. From here you can also link it to other forms or menu items so you build the form right into the fabric or workflow of your application.
Uploading the application
It couldn’t be easier, simply put the device into Accept Application mode. Select the “Send Application” option from the Forge software and you’ll see the app upload and run. This will then run every time the user turns the 8200 device on.
It really is simple. Tomorrow we’ll round off with the types of apps you can create using different configurations of the Cipherlab 8200 device.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.