Hard & Software  has joined with Franson Technology AB, a software company located in Stockholm, Sweden to offer the Franson line of programming tools for applications using serial communications and GPS/GIS.  These include SerialTools, GPSGate, and GPSTools.

SerialTools version 2.0 provides full control of the serial port and adds the ability to create a Virtual Serial Port (VSP).  Your application now may be used to communicate with external programs that normally would use a physical serial port to communicate with hardware devices.  Virtual Serial Ports can be vital in the world of updating legacy software and hardware systems to interoperate via LANs, the Internet, or by using various wireless RF technologies.  A VSP emulates a physical serial (RS-232 or other standard) in software.  Your program creates a VSP that may then be transparently employed by another application as though connected to actual serial hardware.  An example of a VSP in action is shown on my LocalComm/RemoteComm ActiveX controls with Virtual Serial Port page.  Thus, it is practical to communicate over a wired or wireless network connection with a remote computer and to use a serial port on that remote PC just as though that port was physically connected to the local PC. 

Similarly, there are commercial serial to Ethernet converters that inexpensively connect your PC to serial devices via a LAN.  One example is SitePlayer (www.siteplayer.com) where the hardware cost is about $30 for an embeddable board.  However, this low-cost hardware solution is limited by its reliance on Telnet to communicate with the Ethernet enabled serial device.  This limits its access to either programs that are Winsock/Telnet capable, or to use with custom programmed applications that implement the Telnet connection.  Thus, it may not easily work with existing applications where source code may not be available.  However, the addition of a VSP with a reusable custom program to provide the Telnet interface would be simple to design and code.

SerialTools VSP components may be used standalone or in conjunction with any physical serial port access methods, including those provided by SerialTools itself.

Here are some of the things that you might now be able to do by adding one or more VSPs to your own applications:

 

 

SerialTools supports ActiveX clients, such as VB6, Access, Excel, eVB and PIE on Pocket PCs (and more), .NET desktop framework and .NET Compact Framework for Windows CE/Windows Mobile devices, such as the Pocket PC.  I has various licensing levels that range from single use, through site license to that required for full application development with unlimited redistribution of applications based on it.

SerialTools Pro  (This is the package that I recommend!)
Creation and usage of virtual ports (class Serial.VPort) and normal serial port access (class Serial.Port).

SerialTools Standard
Use for normal serial port access (class Serial.Port).

SerialTools Standard Source Code
Source code to SerialTools Standard .NET (not ActiveX).

SerialTools Web
Normal serial port access from Internet Explorer (class Serial.Port).

NEW! DevPak - Everything included developer license!
One year developer license and improved support for all Franson products (including SerialTools).

Compare features between different licenses:
 
  Standard (one license per application) Pro (view the licensing models) Web (one license per application) Source Code (view the licensing model)
Normal serial port access, using Serial.Port Yes Yes Yes Yes
Creation and usage of virtual ports, using Serial.VPort No Yes No No
Run from a web page in Internet Explorer No No Yes No
Component technology .NET / ActiveX .NET / ActiveX ActiveX .NET
Windows versions Windows NT/2K/XP/9x/ME

Windows CE / Pocket PC 3.0 and later
 
Windows NT/2K/XP/ME/98

Windows CE / Pocket PC 3.0 and later
Windows NT/2K/XP/9x/ME

Windows CE / Pocket PC 3.0 and later
 
Windows NT/2K/XP/9x/ME

Windows CE / Pocket PC 3.0 and later
 

Free 14 Day Trial Download! This download includes ActiveX for desktop and Pocket PC clients, .NET desktop and Pocket PC clients.  Complete the requested form and a evaluation license will be returned to you by email so that you can determine suitability for your applications using fully functional components.

How should you proceed now?  Well, that depends... Doesn't it always?  First, the evaluation that you completed after the download may have resulted in all of the features that you need, or perhaps to allow you to decide that SerialTools is what you need and you are prepared do "do-it-yourself."  Fine, you may purchase most SerialTools licenses from me at a discount from retail.  Second, you may want some design or coding help.  In that case, I offer complete consulting services and will include the appropriate SerialTools license as a deliverable.  Contact me for details for either of these options.

Return to Software Downloads            Return to Hard & Software

Franson GPSGate

 

Return to Software Downloads            Return to Hard & Software

Franson GpsTools is an easy and cost efficient way to develop GPS, mapping and basic GIS applications in Visual Studio. The rich set of samples and documentation makes it easy for developers that are new to this area to get a quick start. Support for Windows, PocketPC, WindowsCE, ActiveX and .NET.

Free 30 Day Trial Download!  Complete the requested form and a evaluation license will be returned to you by email so that you can determine suitability for your applications using fully functional components.  Contact me when you are ready to order or for consultation.
 

GPS Connection Easy access to GPS position, speed and satellite information from Visual Basic, C# or Internet Explorer. Using the examples provided you will be up and running within minutes! Supports NMEA-0183.
 
 
Raster Map Support Vector map support for your applications. Draw polygons, polylines and ESRI shapefiles. Raster map support for your applications. Draw icons, lines, etc. on the map using geographic coordinates. Connect GPS to map. Zoom and rotate map. Draw objects on multiple layers. Use blank maps.  Object oriented interface to the GPS.  With GpsTools you get access to GPS position, satellites, speed and parsed NMEA 0183 data without needing to learn any low level serial protocol. Accessing the GPS is as easy as using any COM or .NET component.Automatic detection of GPS receivers connected via  RS232 (serial port), Compact Flash, USB or Bluetooth.  Platforms: GpsTools runs on Windows XP/2000/NT/ME/9x and Pocket PC/Windows CE. Both ActiveX and .NET is supported.
 
Coordinate Transformation Convert positions between different coordinate systems. Using the new custom grid and custom datum feature, almost all geographic coordinate system on Earth are supported!
UTM, WGS84, NAD27, NAD83 and many national grids are predefined and very easy to use.

Return to Software Downloads            Return to Hard & Software