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Help: An Automated Email Response System to Incoming Faxes


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#1 Jojola

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 12:04 PM

This is a theoretical question but any specific technical knowledge that could help will also be appreciated.
I am an IT Assistant with not much knowledge in programming (apart from EasyPattern and super-simple batch files) but have been given an opportunity to start getting into it by having been given a task to create a step in our document management system which is vaguely defined by the title of this question - An automated email response system to incoming faxes.
 
**CONTEXT:**
So, we have incoming faxes with short digit codes on them, these code correlate to identifying information in our database (relevantly; email addresses). In a watched folder environment we have software that upon auto-acknowledging these fax/image files being dropped into a designated incoming location (from a fax server) it initiates Microsoft Digital Imaging (MODI, runs in the background) to find these codes (using OCR, Optical Character Recognition) and places them into CSV files (one .csv file per code per fax page). Our database admin assures me that he can have the email addresses that correlate to the codes automatically placed into their correlating csv file. 
 
**GOAL:**
It is from this point that I am being asked to find a way to have a universal unchanging email message ("We have received your fax") automatically sent to those email addresses. Upon a "way" being known, I am then to actually accomplish it.
 
**QUESTION:**
How to do this? As I said, a valid theoretical answer will suffice, for that will tell me how it can be done, which would in turn tell me what to learn, which would in turn tell me where to look. 
 
**WHERE I'M AT NOW:**
I understand VBA to be a programming model within an 'event-driven' paradigm and that VBA programming projects are possible and supported in both Microsoft Outlook and Access. Does herein lie my answer? Can VBA used to accomplish this? (maybe auto import the email addresses from the csv file into the "To:" field of a outgoing email?) I'm hoping it'll be easier since the message can always stay the same (something along the lines of: We received your message). I'm reading two text books that introduce the reader to VBA in Access with one, and VBA in Outlook with the other. 
 
I hope this message makes sense, this whole question might be naive, incoherent, or maybe even outright ignorant. But any patient and understanding response would be GREATLY appreciated.


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#2 groovicus

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:57 PM

From a 30,000 foot view,

1. A database to retrieve the email (which you already have)

2. A mechanism to recognize when an entry is added to the database.

3. A mechanism to send the email.

 

In order for this to work, the overall system needs to recognize when there is a new entry. That can be as simple as a daemon that runs every 'n' seconds and checks for new .csv files. At a more complex level, a database trigger could be used to send an email. It depends. What are you using for a database? I don't see any need to worry about Outlook at all, and unless you are already using Access, then that isn't really necessary either.

 

Sending an email using VBA is trivial, and your choice of language is largely unimportant, but again, it depends.

 

I'm not sure if that helps much, but I am making guesses about your environment so I am not able to give too much in the way of concrete advice.



#3 JohnnyJammer

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:59 PM

To work with printers/Faxes VBA or VB6 is actually still prefered language. Im sure you can actually set this up on the print/fax machine. Maybe try enabling the printers like this.

1, printer gets a fax, sends to an email address (This can be achieved)

2. Automate Outlook with said email address to repond with an email to the user who sent the fax based on the phone number (Would have to be in contacts list)

 

You see where i am going with this?






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