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    Beginner starting overwhelming project - reading text from PDF and submitting to DB


    Hi there! I'm remarkably wet around the ears when it comes to programming, but only have experience in HTML/VB6.

    I have a project I'd be curious in pursuing and developing skills along the way, however the main issue is where precisely to start, and how.

    My background is that I m working for a company that frequently receives stock and submits it to a database within Citrus Lime that updates our records.
    We receive information on new stock via a delivery note which is emailed to us. We then print this off, and manually read and input the item number (typically a string of 9 integers) and the quantity into a purchase order function.
    Once this is done, we then complete the purchase order, which updates it and allows it to then receive, then commit (two buttons next to each other) the stock to our inventory before finally printing off the labels.


    My issue is that I have absolutely no idea where to start - breaking it down into key issues, It involves initially reading that PDF and assigning the specific data to variables (bearing in mind that there are multiple different amounts of items per note, so I assume I'd have to set up some sort of class?), and then getting the program to input this into the purchase order.
    Without the issue of storing data into variables, naturally I could simply use a macro, but have no idea where I would even start.


    This is somewhat a pet project for me, so am hoping to develop it from the ground up and learn some new skills along the way. What sort of programming language would seem to be the simplest for what I'm looking to do, as mostly it's all very simple functions outside of reading the PDF - a few clicks on specific pixels, the inputting of variables, and is there any advice on where to start on the PDF reading side of things? Would I be able to get it to open files automatically from Explorer and then flag it as having been opened so it doesnt attempt to open it again?

    Really sorry for the somewhat incoherent mess, if there are any questions, please feel free to ask and literally any advice would be most welcome.
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    Is that .php stuff?

    Could you be more descriptive on what you want to do and the results you want?
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    Originally Posted by gaming77
    Is that .php stuff?

    Could you be more descriptive on what you want to do and the results you want?
    Sorry, one of the biggest issues here is due to being very inexperienced in these matters, I'm legitimately not sure if it's .php.

    Here is the steps I wish to recreate in as laymans' terms as possible:

    - Receive Email, which consists of a main body of text, and an attachment PDF which consists of our address/account number etc at the top, and then a table similar to this:
    Item number Item name Sales Order Delivered RRP Net price
    400000118 NUMEN COMBO SPARK MINI <REDACTED> 3 44.99 <REDACTED>
    490000074 PROWAY BLACK/NEON ORANGE <REDACTED> 3 11.99 <REDACTED>

    and be able to detect the list of item numbers and quanitity delivered - other columns can be ignored.
    So, ideally, it would read this delivery note, and determine that 3 lots of 400000118 were delivered and pair these numbers together.

    - Next, having obtained that data, navigate to the Store Operations Manager and click the following (some sensitive data not relevant to the project has been removed)


    As previously stated, 'm aware that this is well beyond my current skill level but am going to hopefully learn over the passing weeks how to create it from scratch, as little pet project.

    Hopefully this has made things somewhat clearer!
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    Have you considered to look at prices on existing professional software solutions, which would be created for this type of tasks?
    No doubt it would be fun to create it by yourself, but with limited experience, the cost in time will quickly be higher than expected, especially when you also have to maintain it.

    I can't read from your description whether you want your solution to forward the information directly into the SOM, but if that is the case, I suggest you look at what kind of language would be required to do this, and then have a try with that.
    Another question to have in mind is whether you expect all the PDF files you received to be in same format/layout.
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    Hi there,

    As nothing more than a humble retail slave, I unfortunately do not have the funds to simply purchase it. Time is not so much of an issue, as I'm solely working on it during quiet times in work, and have no deadline of sorts.

    I would indeed like it to forward that information directly, but so far I'm having difficulty finding what language to even start in, haha.

    All PDF files will be in the same layout(ie the same amount of columns), however can have varying quantities of items/items received(varying amounts of rows). In the example I listed, there were two, however there in theory could be a hundred, but the item numbers column and quantity received column would always be in the same positions.


    I apologise, this must be rather frustrating to try to understand coming from someone with no prior experience!
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  11. Lord of the Dance
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    You may not have experience with programming, but at least you know how to explain what you have and what you want.

    Regarding reading text from PDF, maybe this software tool can help with that:
    https://www.xpdfreader.com/about.html

    Didn't notice Store Operation was part of Microsoft Dynamics. That might be too complex for you to make any direct integration.
    It looks like there should be some kind of import function; maybe you can look after that? Eventually do an export, if possible, to get how to format the import file.

    If the above is possible, then your task is to do a program which will read the text file with output from PDF and convert it into the import format required my Store Operations.
    Reading and writing files can be done by most if not all languages, where of the more known languages would include Python, Java and C# (.NET)

    And coming from someone who have some experience in this area, I will just say good luck your with project.

    Comments on this post

    • AlternativeLine agrees
    Last edited by MrFujin; January 30th, 2018 at 03:41 PM.
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    That's wonderfully helpful, thank you! I'll have to do some work in python and see what can be done, at least I now have something to work off of. Honestly I'll doubt this will even come to fruition but it gives me a goal which will motivate me into learning more.

    Thank you very much for your time, I'll likely post further questions in a followup post on the appropriate forum once i hit some roadblocks.

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