If you're on iOS, there is a special function for capturing barcodes. If you're using a desktop and a barcode scanner, you click into a text field and scan. The scanner enters the data as if you were typing it in.
Really bar codes are just another type of keyboard. Instead of converting keystrokes into letters/numbers on your screen, a bar code scanner scans a graphic and converts it into letter/numbers.
As David said above, the iOS device comes with a bar code scanner built in. But you can get bar code scanners for iOS devices that are faster and more durable. And you can scanners for your Mac/PC. They can attach by USB or Bluetooth (as well as some old serial technologies). But they essentially are just a keyboard. You click in the field you want to bring it into focus, then scan the bar code and it "types" those characters into the field.
Once the data is in the field, it is up to you to do something like go to a web viewer to get info about a number such as an item at store or an ISBN for a book or whatever. Or you can use Insert from URL script step to post/get data from web or RESTful APIs on the web. All kinds of things you can do.
Thank you both for your answers. So I am using a Mac desktop and a bar code scanner. Once I enter the barcode with the scanner, How do I write a script to automatically go to the web and search, let's say, Terapeak, to find the item and what it's worth, since the barcode is usually available on their web site? Is it a built-in script in Filemaker Pro Advanced 14 (can't afford the upgrade to 15) I can locate? Could you direct me? I am learning as I go, and even bought a book on Filemaker Pro Advanced, so I can learn more about scripting. Thanks so much.
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The process to do your search will vary based on what site you're searching. Different sites make different hooks available for automation. In general: first check if the website in question has an API designed for automated processes to connect to, and use that if it exists. If there is no API, try doing a manual search on the website, and copy the format of the URL for the search results page to start your own searches from FileMaker. You can use Open URL to just look at the results manually in a browser; or you can set the URL to a web viewer or use the Insert From URL script step to get something into FileMaker to continue automated parsing of the results. Each of these processes is worth it's own discussion thread.
Thank you! I will attempt that! Greatly appreciated.
Note that most bar code readers can be configured to append additional text to the end of the scanned data. This can be a return, tab or enter character and this can then trigger the OnObjectExit trigger on your field so that you can scan the data and have the act of scanning the code automatically perform your script.