Sunday 30 September 2018

More BookingTrack News

I'm still working on BookingTrack - see THIS page for the detailed description. The current focus of the work is to make some key parts of the database available on the local network of computers and devices that the client uses.

So far, I have the Contact Logging part of the program working as a stand-alone module that will allow staff members to log contact with the clients from any machine connected to the network. These devices can be either a PC or an Android-powered mobile phone or tablet device.

If I'm honest, I've never done this type of client/server programming before and I'm finding it all a bit of a challenge to get things working smoothly. I need to write down much more - in terms of notes about rules and data structures - than I've ever had to do before. Still, it is enjoyable and has given me loads of ideas for more projects over the long winter.

Saturday 8 September 2018

Working With RFID Tags

As often happens, I was asked an unusual question by a customer the other day and just had to investigate further. The customer had been looking at quite expensive RFID chip-based cards to use in order to use them as gift vouchers and then as ongoing membership cards.

Well it turns out the cards and readers are really inexpensive if you don't actually need to write data to the cards. I wouldn't write to the cards anyway as that has all sorts of GDPR ramifications that are better avoided.

So, I ordered a card reader from Amazon and while I waited for it to arrive, I started to work out some basic software to manage some cards. As is usually the case with something I'm interested in, progress is fairly quick and after just a couple of days working at it on and off, here's the current state of progress.

So, once you start the program, it will sit and wait for you to scan a tag. If that tag is in the database, then you will be able to display and update the account information for that person as shown below.

As you can see in the top image, I have both cards and key fobs to test with, so the program allows you to register one of each with a given customer. For this customer, the program offers basic account management, to keep track of the balance associated with the account.

I'm going to work on a loyalty card type system next, based on this same framework, but simply counting up the number of times the card is used to offer discounts, bonuses and so on. I've found a source of ready-printed cards (they work out at about £1 each or so in sensible quantities).

As always, watch this space.