App Building Two Cents’ Worth: Barcode Apps for iPad/iPhone, Android, & Blackberry

By Jason Good on July 23, 2013

Barcode scanning apps for iPad/iPhone, Android, & Blackberry here at GoCanvas are very popular and powerful!  Today I want to talk about combining our barcode scanning feature with one of our other powerful features, Reference Data.  Using these features in tandem allows you to do some really awesome stuff…all customized around your organization.  You can streamline your organization in ways you never imagined and make your mobile workforce more productive than ever.

Using Barcode Scanning in conjunction with our Reference Data feature is MEGA POWERFUL!  This allows you to upload a file (CSV) to GoCanvas that lists your assets and the associated barcode.  When your users scan a barcode out in the field then the information about that asset or item is automatically displayed on their mobile device. 

Reference Data

Reference Data is a feature commonly used for price lists, customer lists, and lists of items with associated barcodes. You can read about uploading a price list in this other blog I wrote if you want to create an app to do estimates and pricing.

You can create your reference files in Excel.  You might be able to export them from one of your existing systems!  You need to save it as a CSV file to upload to GoCanvas.  Here is a sample:

Barcode Scanning Apps

A. This is the number associated with the barcode that is on your equipment.

B. When you scan the barcode the data in the blue box would auto-populate in subsequent fields in GoCanvas. Your technician then easily has access to information about that piece of equipment when the barcode is scanned.

Then you need to upload your CSV file to GoCanvas in the Reference Data area.  Login to GoCanvas, go to My Account, and click on Manage Reference Data on the left hand side.  Click New Data and upload the file.  At the end of this Blog there are a list of other Help topics and Blogs that will help you learn Reference Data in more detail if you need a hand.

Building the GoCanvas App

Now you need to build a GoCanvas App using the GoCanvas App Builder (See links below for more help on this!).  You will want to use a Simple List screen and include all of the fields in your reference data file.  Here is what it would look like in the App Builder:

A. Barcode Field – This is the first field on your Simple List screen. This is a text box enabled for barcode scanning (more later).
B. Remaining Fields – These are all the fields that are represented by columns in your reference data file. These will be auto-populated based on the barcode scanned in the Barcode field.  They are all Text Box fields.

Barcode Scanning Apps


Now we need to configure the Barcode field to reference the reference data file we created and uploaded to GoCanvas. This is the edit view of the Barcode field in our App Builder.

Barcode Scanning Apps 

A. Barcode Field – This needs to be a Text Box.
B. Reference Data – Under “Advanced” you’ll find the reference data mapping fields.

Reference Data: This is a drop-down listing all reference files uploaded to your account. Choose the appropriate file.
Reference Col: This refers to the column of data in the file that you want. We want the Barcode column referenced.

C. Barcode Enabled – You must check this box to enable this field to accept a barcode.




The remaining fields are all configured almost exactly the same way.  The DEVICE field is showed below as an example. These are the fields that will auto-populate based on the barcode scanned by your user.

Barcode Scanning Apps

A. DEVICE – This will be a Text Box field.
B. REFERENCE DATA – Under Advanced, you’ll see that we are using all 4 reference data fields.

Reference Data: Choose the same file as before.
Reference Col: Choose the DEVICE column. For the remaining fields, this is the only setting you change. This is the data you want to auto-populate in this field.
Reference Screen: Now we want to identify the field that triggers the auto-population. In this field we choose the screen the field is on.
Reference Field: Now we choose the field on the screen that will serve as our reference field. This field remains the same for all fields you want to auto-populate.

– You can make this field read only so your user can’t change the value. In many cases you wouldn’t want your user changing values that are auto-populated from a reference file (Especially something like pricing!).

Repeat the above for all other fields in the GoCanvas App. Just change the “Reference Col:” setting based on the data that you want to show up in the particular field you are configuring.  When done hit SAVE and choose the “Save, Close, and Publish” option to push it out to your mobile device.

Mobile Device

What does it look like on the mobile device?  Check it out! 

On the first screen you push the button to scan the barcode (A) and then push the plus (B) button to add it to your list. This is how a list screen in GoCanvas works.  It allows you to add multiple line items to your work order depending on what needs to be done at the job site.

Barcode Scanning Apps Barcode Scanning Apps Barcode Scanning Apps

You can see in the second two images that the data for each barcode scanned auto-populates for your user to easily reference! The grayed out fields are the Read Only fields that the user cannot edit.  The client information can be edited. 


How to Use Reference Data
How to Use a Simple List
How to Use Barcode Scanning

Contact Us

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