Seagull Scientific have released an app for Android and Apple phones and tablets. I was going to have a play with this as soon as it was released, but I thought I’d let the dust settle just in case there were any bugs or unfinished features in the app (wishful thinking as there hasn’t been any updates in nearly a year). I’d say it would be a wise choice to wait for the next version (BarTender 2017?) as today you will stumble into a plethora of teething problems.
Firstly, a lot of the setting up is done through the “Web Print Portal” web page on the host machine which can be accessed locally through http://localhost/BarTender/. Once you can access it from another machine (by allowing the IIS option in Windows Firewall), you can continue setting it up, change other settings, and print remotely from the host. This is perfect as you can have the software and printer connected to a dedicated computer or server and print labels from an unlimited amount of computers on the same network. If you setup your port forwarding just right on your router, you will be able to print from outside your internal network as well. I would advise a word of caution doing this though, as you could end up with anyone from all over the world being able to print or changing settings within the print portal. You can setup a username and password to prevent unauthorised tinkering.
Using the web portal
Using the web portal is a breeze, if a breeze had a 5 second delay. The entire system runs on a database (even if your label doesn’t have a database connected) which might be the bottleneck. Nearly every loading screen has a spinning loading wheel so you know it’s trying to do something, otherwise it just sits there looking like it’s crashed.
The web app isn’t hugely flexible like the BarTender design and print software. You can print labels that you’ve designed and saved beforehand. You can use the data entry form in the designer to assign bits of the label to be changed, which can then be amended before printing through the web portal and app. If you’re looking to use a database, then you’re in luck, but you still need to use the data entry form to load up the database selection, or else it will print the entire database every time you hit “print” once.
The video below shows 2 demos:
- The first demo is choosing a label, choosing a selection from a database, printing it, then choosing a different item from the database, changing the quantity, and printing that label using the mobile app on an Android phone.
- The second demo is choosing a label, choosing selections from the drop down menu in the designed data entry form, changing the quantity ready to print using the web portal on a computer.
From the video we’ve learnt that it can work smoothly all the while working slowly. I tap/click on an object and there’s a delay between my action and the action of BarTender. There is potential for Enterprise Automation to be used as an alternative to purchasing multiple Professional editions as the Pro edition only really sells for database connectivity once a label has been designed.
Using it on a mobile? I think this is just a gimmick to be up there with the likes of Brady and Brother with their apps.