Sunday, July 29, 2007

SMS software for databases

Two of my biggest customers send SMS messages to their customers on a regular basis. These messages are generated by an Access database program. One of these is a medical application where patients are reminded of their appointment bookings. Since this is done for numerous clinics around the country, it involves hundreds of message every day.
Until now we have relied on two applications called Trebuchet and EconoSMS, neither of which are sold or supported any more. This has left my clients in a vulnerable position, since a hardware failure on either PCs could leave them high and dry. I tried experimenting with a package called "SmartCell" from Indisoft, but several attempts to contact their support line failed. I'm glad I didn't buy the product since it either isn't supported any more or the company doesn't reply to their emails. Not good.
Then I found a better package for US$124 from Logiccode Software. It's an ActiveX DLL that can communicate with a standard GSM modem, and it has enabled me to create a fully-functional Visual Basic application called SMSQ in a week, thanks to some well-written VB6 demo code, and my experience with other SMS applications.
The most difficult part was writing the database code using ADO, since I'm used to DAO syntax that works in Access97. The new application will work with Access 97, 2000, 2002 or 2003 file formats. I am currently rewriting my Miami libraries to support this application. Miami now supports field encryption, bulk emailing, bulk SMS, mousewheel support, simple barcodes and PDF printing. It also has a runtime installer package for Access 97.

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