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Auto Id Middleware is a platform that orchestrates automatic data collection and identification processes, using hardware (RFID readers, barcode scanners, label printers etc.) and software (databases, web services, email servers etc.) to easily collect, filter, aggregate and store data.

To create a new process, the user starts with a design surface, drags the necessary objects from a toolbox, sets their properties and links the objects together. The toolbox contains objects that gather data from RFID readers or HTTP endpoints, filter and aggregate data to extract only relevant information, store data in files or databases, send data to other applications or use data to trigger other actions such as printing a label. Each object has properties that control its behavior, events that are triggered when data is generated and methods that handle data received from other objects. Objects can be linked together in two ways:

  • To initialize a property value, a link is drawn from a parent object to the property of a child object. When the process starts, the parent's value is used to initialize the child object's property. For example, a Local directory object can be linked to an Excel file object to specify its location on disk. A child property can be set using a single link.
  • To control the data flow, a link is drawn from an object's event to another's method. Anytime the event is triggered, data from the event is handled by the method. For example, the TagRead event from a Zebra reader can be linked to the Write method of an Excel file to write all RFID tags to that file. Data from an event can be handled in multiple ways, by drawing multiple links from that event. Similarly, a method can handle data from multiple events, by drawing multiple links to that method.

In places that require more control over how data is handled, expressions can be written using C# language syntax and a set of built-in functions. Once the surface design is completed, the user compiles the surface to find and fix problems (e.g. missing required properties, incorrect expressions or links between incompatible objects). If there are no design errors, the process is ready to be started.

While the process is running, the platform shows execution statistics gathered from the data flow (number of times an event was handled, average duration, pending handlers) and execution errors (network connection errors, file or database access errors etc.). If the errors are caused by a design problem (e.g. a property was initialized with a wrong value), the process can be stopped, changed and restarted.

User interface

The platform is accessed using a web browser (Chrome, Edge or Internet Explorer).

Login


User interface login.png

Access is limited to a single user, authenticated by entering a user name and password.

The initial user name is admin and the initial password is set during installation. Both can be changed from the Account screen.

Account


User interface account.png

The account screen is accessed by clicking on the account drop-down (located in the upper-right part of the screen) and then choosing the account name:

  • The user profile section allows the user to change the display name and e-mail address.
  • The password section allows the user to change the password associated with this account.

Licence


User interface licence.png

The licence screen is accessed by clicking on the account drop-down (located in the upper-right part of the screen) and then choosing Licence:

  • Shows the licence information required by Next Id Software to generate the licence: Installation key, Product and Version
  • Shows data found in the current licence
  • Upload licence key - allows the user to upload a licence file

Surface list


User interface surface list.png

The main screen shows a list of existing surfaces:

  • When there is a large number of surfaces, they can be filtered using the Filter surfaces textbox
  • The New surface button is used to create a new surface
  • After selecting a surface from the list, the following options are available:
    • Surface name - opens the details screen
    • Design - opens the design screen
    • Start - starts the surface
    • Restart - restarts the surface
    • Stop - stops the surface
    • Copy - creates a copy of the surface
    • Delete - deletes the surface

Create surface

User interface surface select template.png

Creates a new surface based on a surface template. After pressing the Create button, the surface name and description are entered:

User interface surface create.png

After pressing the Ok button, the surface is created.

Surface details

User interface surface detail.png

Shows details about the selected surface. The following options are available:

  • Navigation bar:
    • Auto Id Middleware - return to the surface list
    • Write tags to file - name of the current surface. Use the drop-down to select a different surface
    • Back - go back to the previous screen
    • Design - open the surface design screen
    • Live statistics - open the live statistics screen
  • Actions:
    • Design - open the surface design screen
    • Start - starts the surface
    • Restart - restarts the surface
    • Stop - stops the surface
  • Statistics:
    • Live stats - open the live statistics screen
    • Refresh - refreshes the statistics

Surface design


User interface design.png

The design screen is used to change the objects placed on a surface. From top to bottom, the available options are:

  • Navigation bar:
    • Auto Id Middleware - return to the surface list
    • Write tags to file - name of the current surface. Use the drop-down to design a different surface
    • Back - go back to the previous screen
    • Design - indicator for the current screen
    • Live statistics - open the live statistics screen
    • Save - save the current version of the surface
    • Undo - undo the last action
    • Redo - redo the last action
    • Help - open this page or the help page for the selected object
    • Account - access the account and licence pages
    • Minimize - minimizes the top bar
  • Action bar:
    • Paste - disabled. Use the CTRL + V keyboard shortcut to paste objects
    • Cut - cuts the selected objects
    • Copy - copies the selected objects
    • Toolbox - hides/shows the toolbox on the left side of the screen
    • Grid - hides/shows the grid
    • Properties - hides/shows the properties on the right side of the screen
    • Zoom in - increases the zoom level
    • Zoom out - decreases the zoom level
    • Zoom percent - changes the zoom level
    • Align - aligns two or more selected objects
    • Bring to front - brings the selected objects in front of other objects
    • Send to back - sends the selected objects behind other objects
    • Compile - compiles the surface
    • Start - starts the surface
    • Restart - restarts the surface
    • Errors - hides/shows the error list on the bottom of the screen
    • Settings - opens the settings screen

Toolbox

Appears in the left side of the design area and contains objects that can be dragged to the design surface, grouped in several categories:

Design properties

Appears in the right side of the design area and presents all editable properties of the selected object. The selected object can be changed using the combo box located at the top of the properties box.

Compile errors

Appears in the bottom side of the design area and shows the compilation errors. If an error was generated by an object on the surface, clicking the error will select the object and center the surface on it.

Surface settings

User interface surface settings.png

Changes compilation settings for the current surface:

  • Referenced assemblies - manage a list of additional .NET assemblies that are loaded when the surface executes. Each assembly must be entered using its full path on the application server
  • Compiler imports - manage a list of C# namespace imports.

Live statistics


User interface live statistics.png

Shows live statistics and errors for a surface. From top to bottom, the available options are:

  • Navigation bar:
    • Auto Id Middleware - return to the surface list
    • Write tags to file - name of the current surface. Use the drop-down to view a different surface
    • Back - go back to the previous screen
    • Design - open the surface design screen
    • Live statistics - indicator for the current screen
    • Help - open this page or the help page for the selected object
    • Account - access the account and licence pages
    • Minimize - minimizes the top bar
  • Action bar:
    • Refresh timer - changes the refresh interval
    • Zoom in - increases the zoom level
    • Zoom out - decreases the zoom level
    • Zoom percent - changes the zoom level
    • Start - starts the surface
    • Restart - restarts the surface
    • Stop - stops the surface

Templates

  • RFID POS - Identify sold items using RFID readers
  • Room detector - Detect items as they enter or exit a room
  • Time tracker - Compute the amount of time each tag has spent inside or outside a room or building
  • Checkpoint tracker - Compute the amount of time each tag has spent at checkpoints and traveling between them
  • Logical operation - Scans RFID tags and associates them to a logical operation