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Getting started with software development

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ajimal View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 April 2012 at 4:37am
Hello everyone! im new to this forum! Im working on a project in school. This project requires me to program a software to read and write data in RFID tags. However, google(My best friend) wasnt of any help... 
I am hoping the experts here could guide me on how to get started with developing a RFID software.
My team and myself are equipped with some programming languages and we can easily pick up any programming language.
We dont even know which programming language to use.
Please help. Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you soo much.
FYI: We did research on RFID and thus we do know the general information of RFID technology. 
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amal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote amal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2012 at 8:49am
let's back way up here and find out what hardware you're using or plan to use to complete this project... then we can go into software.
Amal ;)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2012 at 5:02am
there is a wide range of hardware as our project specifications state that we should be able to communicate with a range of rfid reader device drivers(ie, a range of hardware RFID readers). 
To sum it up
1) Software should be able to read and write different RFID tags.
2) Software should be able to communicate with different RFID reader devices.
3) Software should be used in a linux environment.

Thats why our team thought that we should learn how to read and write RFID tags before moving on to communicating with RFID reader devices.
Please forgive me for the bad english and thanks for the reply (:


Edited by ajimal - 22 April 2012 at 5:03am
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amal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2012 at 9:15am
Hmm, well the problem is you're trying to learn to run before you learn to walk. The answer to "how to read RFID tags" all depends on the reader hardware you're working with. There is no standard protocol for reader interfaces. It also depends on what type of tags you're dealing with as well... LF, HF, UHF, Active/Passive... 

What you are basically trying to create is "middleware"... something that converts interactions with various disparate hardware devices (readers) and something else. That "something else" could be a human via user interface, or a piece of enterprise software like an inventory control system.

Expand a bit on the goals and maybe we can narrow down your requirements.
Amal ;)

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ajimal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2012 at 3:30am
I see. I do understand where u are coming at.
As for the RFID tags, we should be able to read all types; active and passive tags with LF,HF,UHF. This is a school project and what u r saying is right. We're basically creating a middleware which can read from many RFID readers. 
Our first goal is to be able to read and write from RFID tags. Maybe we'll start with just 1 RFID reader. Like u said, we gotta learn how to walk before we run.
I will tell you the model of the RFID reader we are using soon. 

Can i have your msn messenger? U could pm me or something. It would be easier to communicate in msn. Ur help is much appreciated! Thank you soo much! And once we manage to get this project done, we'll be happy to credit you in our report! (:
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amal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2012 at 9:20am
Hi Ajimal, 

Going with the enterprise middleware theme, the first thing you will need to do is determine the requirements of your business processes. The business process itself will define how you will need to interact with an RFID tag. For example, if you need to store 256 bytes of data on a tag, then you can't use an LF HITAG tag that only has 1024bits (128 bytes) of writable memory blocks. So what good is it to be able to read and write to "all kinds" of tags if many tags don't fit your requirements? Also, many kinds of tags are not writable, only readable.

Also, to be able to talk to "all kinds" of tags means you would have to obtain "all kinds" of reader hardware. Typically, a single piece of reader hardware operates on a single frequency band (LF, HF, or UHF)... and each frequency band can have hundreds of different kinds of tags operating in it. Many times a reader might operate in a certain frequency band, but won't be able to talk to all kinds of tags in that band. Also, you need to consider active vs passive... active RFID systems are more like standard radios than RFID interrogators... and there are many different kinds of active systems across many different bands, and almost none of them talk to each other's tags. 

So, with all that said... what is the hypothetical business scenario your team is working with? If you don't have a business scenario, then you should probably make one up because it will help narrow your RFID requirements and focus software development efforts. If you are trying to create an "open platform" middleware that any business could take and implement using any RFID hardware, I'd forget that goal. Companies around the world have spent billions of dollars developing their middleware solutions to be able to talk to just a limited number of RFID readers and tag families.

As for MSN, I don't have the time to commit to direct chat. This forum allows me to help out when I have a few minutes to spare, as well as make our interactions public for the benefit of future visitors. I am available for consulting, but I don't think getting paid to do someone else's homework is a good idea :)


Edited by amal - 23 April 2012 at 9:20am
Amal ;)

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ajimal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2012 at 7:59am
hi!
im terribly sorry for the late reply! Your information helped me alot!
haha i wasnt trying to bribe my way into completing my project. I juz tot it could be easier if we could contact u on msn. I guess posting on this forum is wayy btr like u said. Im hoping u still can help me out. Please? (:
I have a UHF think magic usb rfid reader and i have to construct a program to read and write UHF rfid tags. I understand we should have the reader's api before we start coding. We are suppose to be able to make the program work on a LINUX platform.
However, my team hit another dilemma. We are not sure what programming language we should use. We are comfortable with java but base on some research online, we received feedbacks that java may cause problems later. We are not sure if we can use c# coz linux may not be able to install .net framework. Would u recommend me what programming language we should use?
Thanks!


Edited by ajimal - 03 May 2012 at 8:00am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2012 at 9:31am
I would look at using Java in a node.js environment on Linux. node.js has plenty of really great socket libraries baked in. Other than that, you could try using C/+/++ on Linux. If you wanted to go .NET, I think there are some platforms that support .NET on Linux, but I have no idea how robust network socket support is.

Ultimately, if you want to be quick about it, just find out what kind of libraries are available for the reader and which languages they bind to, then choose that way. Otherwise you'll be coding your own network communications layer with the reader. Usually that's not such a bad thing, but sometimes it can get downright ugly, depending on how the manufacturer setup the protocols.
Amal ;)

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