USPS tracking integration?

Val
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Postby Val » December 16th, 2008, 7:11 am

Hi, I'm the product manager of Labels & Addresses.
Regarding USPS matter. USPS say on their web site that their Web Tools (which are used to fetch the tracking number from USPS) are free for developers to use, subject to registration and getting an account. The Address Verification feature, however, requires a special permission. We will explore the possibility of including this functionality (with or without Address Verification, depending on our luck with USPS) in the next update expected in the end of this month.
As the last resort (if we don't get access to the Web Tools), we could design a template looking as the USPS label, with the barcode and everything, into which the user would need to manually insert the tracking number - and the software would produce a compliant label with the correct barcode. Please let me know if this would do the trick.
But we will of course try to get the tracking number automatically if it's possible.

Regarding the Zebra printers - we were striving to support them in v1.0 but ran across some problems which we are trying to resolve now, so I hope we will be able to support them soon.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » December 29th, 2008, 5:32 pm

Address verification isn't really important, two fold:

One, accuracy is pretty much close to 100% if not 100% for most people. Address issues that people run into are wrong house numbers, etc. Things that will pass verification. As many addresses are never handled by hand, rather they are entered by the (customer) into your web site, etc. Or on email, into PayPal, what not.

The application I linked to in the first post still to this day works just fine, fetches a tracking # and generates a label. It just supports no database, no other features. None. It's a manual enter label app. Mail Factory simply wins hands down, otherwise.

Mail Factory worked great with the Eltron/Zebra printer I have. (2844), it was more the quirks in the print dialog that I still don't agree with the explanation that it "can't be done" as many Applications already allow all the printer selections/settings to be done as in the print dialog I showed in a followup post. Apple even provides drivers as of 10.5.2, no need to buy the extortionware driver from England.

As for "The USPS won't allow the application to print other carrier labels", well, one is certainly not going to use USPS tracking numbers on other carrier labels, so that doesn't make any sense at all.

Many eCommerce packages, several open source once too, query all the common carrier servers and let the customer choose from available shipping methods. A label printing app is really no different.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » January 2nd, 2009, 8:11 pm

Over 200 more views .. proves there is interest.
fashions
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Postby fashions » January 23rd, 2009, 7:16 pm

I am new to your product and like what is see so far. I ended up here because of Zebra 2844 printers being used by USPS, UPS, FEDX, ect. and not offered with Mac OS. I would strongly encourage any efforts to streamline the label printing process via your software to these label printers.

ZenCart is one such opensouce shopping cart where our shop links to the shippers servers, not address verification that I am aware of, used for shipping cost calculations, to my knowledge.

we are a 14 yr user of MacEnvelope which has now out lived our operating systems.

I would have to agree with 'tdiaz' comments.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » January 24th, 2009, 1:40 am

This thread continues to get views, more than any other in the topic for Mail Factory / Labels & Addresses.

It seems interest is brewing elsewhere for this kind of functionality, that continues to be seemingly ignored here.

If you take a look at Macintouch - you'll see another glimmer of Light. Though I'm very certain the folks here with BeLight have a much further along stronghold.

Interest for feedback being expressed in an app that will do essentially what Swordfish Express does, but with a bit more flexibility.

This and with Apple adding direct support for Eltron/Zebra printers as of 10.5.2, that eliminates the offensively priced $219.00 Peninsula Group thermal driver.

Maybe the Mac will make it into the 21st Century after all.
Last edited by tdiaz on January 24th, 2009, 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » March 19th, 2009, 11:27 pm

Dead silence - but at least the view count is ever increasing and it seems to be the most viewed one yet, in this forum. . so perhaps there's interest yet.
Nick
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Postby Nick » March 20th, 2009, 4:06 am

Hi tdiaz,

You're right, the number of views is a clear indication of user's interest to this feature. But, we aren't going to support it in LA soon.

Nick
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » March 25th, 2009, 10:30 am

Okay, good deal then. Thanks for the clarification. As opposed to the email I received from another one of your team members that mentioned a lot more specifics than you have, and asked for a reply - and I never heard back from again either. .. and as well as posted here in this thread.

Val wrote:Hi, I'm the product manager of Labels & Addresses.
Regarding USPS matter. USPS say on their web site that their Web Tools (which are used to fetch the tracking number from USPS) are free for developers to use, subject to registration and getting an account. The Address Verification feature, however, requires a special permission. We will explore the possibility of including this functionality (with or without Address Verification, depending on our luck with USPS) in the next update expected in the end of this month.
As the last resort (if we don't get access to the Web Tools), we could design a template looking as the USPS label, with the barcode and everything, into which the user would need to manually insert the tracking number - and the software would produce a compliant label with the correct barcode. Please let me know if this would do the trick.
But we will of course try to get the tracking number automatically if it's possible.

Just the template would be a huge step in the same direction - and as you can see, that other application does it too, and it's "free", just has no database back end. Pasting in a number and having it product the postal compliant barcode is fine too, as the postal service provides all the small green labels you want with the tracking number. A handy bar code scanner takes care of that. Scan a label, the number is entered, print the 'real' label on the Zebra printer and stick the postal provided one on your internal copy of the invoice as a marker showing the order was processed.

..and FWIW, as of 10.5.2 - Apple expanded their CUPS offerings to include the Zebra printers directly. No need to buy that offensively expensive thermal barcode driver from the UK.

I'll investigate other options in more detail. On the lighter side of things, I've managed to do most of this in php - so it can't be that freaking awful, considering I can barely do enough php to find a way out of a box with neon arrow signs on the floor pointing the way out. It just certainly would be nice to have a Killer App that does it all in one.

Too bad..
Last edited by tdiaz on March 25th, 2009, 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » September 8th, 2009, 10:47 am

..and several months later, this thread still has the most views of any - and while 1.3 added some barcode support for USPS compliance, you still can't print a shipping label. Such is life, it would be the end all app for everything.

There are others now that do just this, one of which is sendIT, and while it's not nearly as full featured as even Mail Factory was..
Val
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Postby Val » September 9th, 2009, 4:15 am

Unfortunately, it's the matter of priorities - we are busy with other products now, but we will return to this again when we start planning a new large update of Labels & Addresses.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » November 14th, 2009, 3:25 pm

Couple hundred more views in the last 60 days or so.. still seems like there's interest.. there's other apps rising, too.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » March 12th, 2010, 11:41 pm

6700+ views..

Last time I looked, it was in the 5200 era.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » September 18th, 2010, 6:53 pm

Any further thought towards this?

.. 9200+ views, the thread keeps drawing curiosity.
Last edited by tdiaz on September 18th, 2010, 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » September 11th, 2011, 2:56 pm

Thought I'd just check back in.. closing in on 14K views, has to be one of the top viewed threads in this forum.
tdiaz
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Postby tdiaz » October 17th, 2013, 9:18 pm

Since I first asked about this in July 2008, the thread has generated over 25,000 views. There must be some interest. Too bad no one else ever spoke up.

https://www.usps.com/business/web-tools-apis/shipping-labels.htm

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