12 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2014 1:47 AM by thomas_staehli

    Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues


      I've started to develop a small inventory app that integrates the scanning of barcodes. Everything works really well and everyone at work was impressed how quickly I could develop a small app as a proof of concept.


      The barcode we need to scan is pretty small (3mm x 3cm ) and using an iPad air and an iPad 3, the barcode was recognised almost instantly (even I was impressed). But for some reason, on my iPhone 5s, It doesn't!!!! I tried with 2 other barcode scanners app, and it worked instantly, but from filemaker go, it keeps trying to focus, but almost never recognises the barcode. We could give iPads to people doing inventories, but running around with an iPhone or an iPod touch seems more convenient in some situations.


      Anyone else noticed that kind of behaviour?

        • 1. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

          I found this behavior can usually be resolved by adjusting the phone's distance to the object being scanned. The camera seems to settle on the best focus it thinks it can get after a little while, and changing the distance seems to trigger it to refocus. I suspect that the observed difference between iPhone and iPad results may be the result of user behavior: it's easier to hold an iPhone steady, never triggering focus adjustment, than an iPad.


          How many barcodes do you expect users to be scanning how fast? If scanning speed is a bottleneck in their productivity, a bluetooth barcode scanner is going to be much faster than FileMaker Go, even when Go is having a good day. Zero Blue sells several scanners than have been pre-screened for how well they work with FileMaker Go.


          Does your solution need to generate the barcodes being scanned, too? You may want to consider Barcode Creator for that. (In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote it.)

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          • 2. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

            Thanks for your answer.


            Well actually, my problem is that in this case, if I adjust the distance to have a stable image, filemaker doesn't recognise the barcode because it's too small I guess. The strange thing is that I don't have the issue with other scanning apps or when scanning from the iPad. They don't have to scan really fast, but they need to be able to scan it, if it takes too long to adjust, it's annoying.


            I thought about the bluetooth scanning device, but I really liked the idea of having 1 device (ipad or iphone) for the entire workflow (in this case, entering a number => scanning a barcode of a box => asking for a signature => printing a label). Not to mention that the bluetooth devices are expensive and we need approximately 15 - 20 devices in total.


            Thanks for the Barcode creator. I'll probably need it in a near future.

            • 3. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

              What makes you say that the problem might be the barcode being too small? Have you printed the same barcodes at a larger size and had an easier time scanning them? Hardware-wise, that may or may not make sense; iPhones typically have better cameras than iPads available at the same time, but maybe you're mixing older iPhones with newer iPads? Even then, cameras on both devices have been good enough that resolution should usually be a non-issue as long as the device can focus.


              If the size of the printed barcode does influence the ease of scanning, is it an option to simply print larger barcodes? If not, is it an option to print a barcode the same size, but using a different, more compact symbology so that the features of the barcode are larger?

              • 4. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                I scan bar codes on my 5s with no problem. The barcodes are about I/2 high and 2 inch long. I'm surprise how well it does in low light conditions. Do you have another iPhone that you can test?  My iPhone focuses very quickly from around 3 to 4 inches away from the barcode.

                • 5. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                  Because I tried scanning bigger barcodes and QR codes, and had no issues. I know it doesn't make sense in terms of hardware, but believe me I know that my phone is a 5S and not an older model ;-)


                  The barcode in question is the serial number printed behind the iPad boxes. I can't really tell Apple to print it bigger. I haven't tried yet with another iPhone than mine. I will ask a colleague to try with his see if it works better.

                  • 6. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                    I have no issues either with bigger barcodes, but barcode I need to scan is way smaller...  3cm long (1.18 inch) and 3mm ( 0.118 inch) high (iPad serial number on the back of the box).

                    • 7. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                      Here's a little video to illustrate the problem.



                      • 8. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                        Don't see a video.  I tied to scan an iPad box with my iphone 5s and it also had trouble locking in.  I was able to scan with Red Laser.  Red Laser also scanned in multiple barcodes.  I don't think the ipad can do multiple barcodes.  Here is an alternative that might work for you.  If you take a photo instead of a scan, you can zoom in on the barcode which takes a better picture of the small barcode.  Then run a script trigger when the container field is modified to interpret the barcode.  Barcode scanning is a good start in FM Go 13 but it is definitely an area that FileMaker needs to improve if they want FM Go to be ready for prime time.

                        • 9. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                          strange that you don't see the embeded video. Here's the link




                          I've just tried to scan with an iPad mini, and it recognised the barcode instantly.

                          • 10. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                            I've tested this and it works better if you take a photo instead of scanning the barcode.  No need for a script trigger.  Just the following script


                            Insert from device [photo field;camera]

                            Insert from device [serial number field;barcode;photo field]


                            It appears that the FM Go on the iphone has trouble with smaller barcodes.

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                            • 11. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                              Thomas, I did a lot of testing on this issue today.  I used two barcodes (the small apple product barcode and a half inch high code 39 barcode).  Here is what I found

                              1. The iphone 5s never was able to scan the barcode but you could take a photo of the barcode and get the barcode from the photo

                              2.  The iPad air could scan the barcode but not consistently

                              3.  Both devices had no trouble scanning the code 39 half inch high barcode

                              Here is where things got interesting

                              4.  Once you cancel the scan on the apple barcode, the iPhone lost its ability to scan any barcode.  It could not scan the code 39.  The only way I found to resolve it was to restart the App.  The iPad also had this problem but not 100% of the time like the iPhone

                              5.  If you insert a photo in a container field, both the devices lost the ability to scan any barcode.  You had to restart to correct this issue. Once the camera is used to take a photo, it seems like the barcode scanner thinks it is the camera but you have no button to take the scan so nothing happens

                              6.  Occasionally when you would try to insert a photo from the camera the camera screen would go black.  The only way i found to solve this issue is to restart the App.


                              I don't think the issue is with the iPhone since other barcode scanning Apps have no problem with the small apple barcode.  The camera is fully capable of taking a picture of a small barcode.

                              • 12. Re: Fm go 13 barcode scanning issues

                                Thanks a lot for all your tests you ran. It seems like filemaker has some improvement to do in the barcode scanning area.


                                Anyway I tried your solution of inserting a picture of the serial number barcode, and it seems to work pretty well from the iPhone, but I had to zoom slightly on it to be able to stay far away enough to avoid the camera trying to focus all the time. Definitely not a long term solution, but it might do the trick for now. Thanks!