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Designing for an Interactive Kiosk RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I'm trying to develop an application to run an interactive kiosk for a client to run on windows and i'm at a crossroad as to which tools to use. The important considerations are;

    1. It is a line of business app

    2. The application is going to run on multiple kiosks in very disperse locations and as such should allow updates to be pushed from a central location.

    3. Application is going to interact with various hardware devices such as Camera, Bio-metric scanner, Card reader, Printer, Signature pad, Bar-code reader, etc.

    4. Should have a very interactive and attractive user interface.

    Naturally, I would have been leaning towards the web since it will make for easier deployments, updates and bug fixes. However, considering the hardware integration needed, I have a second thought on that choice as too much hack may be needed to implement the features.

    The second choice would be a desktop application but for point 2 above (I may be wrong though, which explains why I'm here).

    That leaves out the third and maybe the final alternative, A Windows Store app. This would have been perfect as it's supposed to be an hybrid of the web and desktop but my previous exploit proved otherwise. A windows store app runs in a sandbox and does not have a direct access to other apps or services running on the system, placing limitations on what can be achieved (easily) with your app. Most importantly, not many SDKs are available for the Windows Store. I have particular being searching for a fingerprint scanner vendor with support for the windows store application.

    With these obvious limitations around the tools I'm aware of, i therefore need help deciding on the best way to approach this with the minimum amount of effort and constraints.

    Thank you as you provide help.

    Farquaad.

    Disclaimer: The information and arguments I have provided above are to the extent of my knowledge. Also, I don't write C++.


    Tuesday, September 1, 2015 5:58 AM

Answers

  • Hi,

    My suggestion would be to create a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) desktop application. Advantages:

    • Full OS access
    • Easy interop with C# or C++ libraries for hardware
    • modern ui framework
    • attractive UI possibilities with styles and templates
    • no dependency on a browser
    • easy to use in full screen
    • Good tooling with C# and XAML
    • Support for touch (if required)
    • Full graphics hw support for fluid interface behavior

    You can use ClickOnce to have the application automatically check a server for newer versions.

    That said, you could still get the Windows store app/metro style feeling which is very well suited for kiosk style applications. There are some projects to support you in implementing the store app look and feel with wpf:

    https://github.com/firstfloorsoftware/mui

    rgds MM


    PS: Please mark as answer if helpful. Thanks!

    • Marked as answer by lord__farquaad Tuesday, September 1, 2015 4:51 PM
    Tuesday, September 1, 2015 11:24 AM

All replies

  • I think I'll challenge most of those.

    1. Desktop apps can use one-click install type update mechanisms that use the internet

    2. Win10 sanboxed can be relatively easily breached with bridges, especially if you are writing an enterprise store app that you deploy yourself

    3. Similarly web apps can be turned into Win10 apps with a similar set of bridges so both are open to you.

    I would take a look at one-click install, I'm not sure if you can do it 100% silently but certainly worth a look. You also might want to look at IoT in win10 as that might work well in dedicated hardware


    http://pauliom.wordpress.com

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015 7:07 AM
  • Hi,

    My suggestion would be to create a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) desktop application. Advantages:

    • Full OS access
    • Easy interop with C# or C++ libraries for hardware
    • modern ui framework
    • attractive UI possibilities with styles and templates
    • no dependency on a browser
    • easy to use in full screen
    • Good tooling with C# and XAML
    • Support for touch (if required)
    • Full graphics hw support for fluid interface behavior

    You can use ClickOnce to have the application automatically check a server for newer versions.

    That said, you could still get the Windows store app/metro style feeling which is very well suited for kiosk style applications. There are some projects to support you in implementing the store app look and feel with wpf:

    https://github.com/firstfloorsoftware/mui

    rgds MM


    PS: Please mark as answer if helpful. Thanks!

    • Marked as answer by lord__farquaad Tuesday, September 1, 2015 4:51 PM
    Tuesday, September 1, 2015 11:24 AM