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For 30 years I have been helping organisations and individuals with their Barcode and Auto ID issues but now I have decided it is time to move on and retire from being the Barcode Man.

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Lee Allen, The Barcode Man. February 2010

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Mule Dispatcher

The Mule Dispatcher is free for anyone to download and use. There are no time limitations or functionality restrictions. If you are using The Mule to provide a solution to your customer you can distribute the Mule Dispatcher as part of your package. You cannot charge directly for The Mule Dispatcher but you can charge for any Bray script you create or for any other value added service. The Mule Dispatcher must not be uploaded to any other web site for public distribution- link to this page instead.

Download the latest version here...

*** New: The Dispatcher and Bray.DLL

How to install and run v1.5

Download and unzip. The zip file contains two files: mulebray15.exe and mulebray.dll. Both files must be located in the same folder/directory- suggest C:\mule\ To run - click on the .exe file.

Whats new?

Glossary (from the perspective of Mule Dispatcher)...

  • GUI: Graphical User Interface. This is the part of the program you see and interact with. It includes all the buttons and text boxes visible on the screen when the Mule Dispatcher runs. The .exe file contains the GUI.
  • DLL: Dynamic Link Library. Contains the Bray interpreter, the interface to the COM port, and the functionality to communicate with and be controlled by the Mule Dispatcher GUI.

The Mule Dispatcher program is split into two parts: the GUI and the DLL. All the functionality of Bray and the driver for the COM port is packaged inside the DLL. This means you can now write your own control programs for personal use or for sale to others. All the complicated stuff is hidden inside the DLL. To control the DLL you just send it numeric commands and text strings. Everything is designed to be simple. The DLL contains just one exported function. The Bray language consists of just a handful of keywords. Your control program can be written in any language you are already familiar with including Visual Basic, Delphi, PowerBasic, C/C++, C# and many others. A basic working control program can easily be written in a couple of hours or less. We provide guidance and template to make it easy - you just code it and provide your own 'look and feel' to the application. Once your control program is written you or your client can create Bray scripts to control their automated processes under computer control.

The Bray DLL can be distributed with your own code without any payment to us. You cannot charge others directly for the Bray DLL but you can charge for your own control program, Bray scripts and any other work. Making the Bray DLL available in this way provides engineers, programmers and consultants a new opportunity to solve hitherto 'difficult' customer needs in the area of computer automation, testing and control. It even enables you to create your own product line for computerised control and automation.

Documentation for the Bray DLL is here

screen shot

What is the Mule Dispatcher?

The Dispatcher is a free application that makes control of The Mule easy. It handles all the COM port configuration and handshaking issues so you dont have to. Using The Mule with the Dispatcher allows you to take control of a second computer and run it just as if a real person was in control. This is typically needed for automated production line testing and difficult data collection tasks and other challenging technical, scientific and commercial applications.

The Mule Dispatcher understands a simple language. It has a Bray interpreter built inside. You send Bray commands and the Dispatcher converts them to codes suitable for the Mule then sends them to the Mule through the COM port. All the technical stuff is handled transparently by Bray. You do not need to know about Hardware configuration of a RS232 serial COM port. You do not need to learn Keyboard Scan codes because Bray handles everything for you. Bray switches the Mule in and out of Scancode Mode automatically when necessary. Using Bray you can send codes to emulate ANY key or ANY combination of keys. You can send Function Keys, ASCII keys, Cursor control keys. You can send single keys or multiple keystrokes. You can send anything in combination with SHIFT, CNTRL or ALT keys. In short you can emulate any possible combination of key strokes you can dream up.

Two Modes

The Mule Dispatcher has two modes of operation. Immediate Mode and Run Mode.

In IMMEDIATE Mode you can type in a Bray command and execute it by clicking the Button. Immediate mode can be used for sending data direct to the Mule, experimenting with Bray syntax and for general setting up and testing.

In RUN Mode you can send a whole file of Bray code. Using Bray in Run Mode you can create a complete application for remote computer control, production testing, complicated data collection and similar applications.

Simple to install and run

The Dispatcher code is a single exe file. It runs under the Windows Operating system (Win98 and later... 2k? XP? Vista? yes!).

Download the file and unzip it into any directory you choose. We suggest C:\mule. To run it just click on the exe file.

Mule Dispatcher - First time run

Connect the Mule to a COM port on the PC. The Dispatcher can use any unused COM port -COM1 thru COM4. The Mule needs to be connected to the PC with a null modem cable - sometimes called a crossover cable.

Connect the output side of the Mule to the keyboard circuit on a second PC. On the second PC run an application like Notepad so you can observe keystrokes arriving. Type a few keys to make sure everything is working normally.

On the first PC run the Mule Dispatcher.

Select the COM port you have the Mule connected to. If you select the wrong COM port it is possible the application can hang- depending on your exact computer model and configuration.

Enter the following into the text box. The double quote characters should be included- the brackets are curly braces.

"Hello World{ret}"

Click the send button. The text followed by a return chacter should appear on the screen of the second PC.


The 'Hello World' test you just completed was an example of using Bray.

In the example the double quote characters tell Bray to send anything they surround as straight forward ASCII text. The capital letters are created automatically by 'shift' scancode being inserted at the appropriate place. Anything inside curley braces is expanded into scancodes. The {ret} section is converted into scancodes for the RETURN key. Many key definitions are already programmed in. Using Bray you can program your own custom key strokes or key stroke combinations. You can even redefine the built in definitions if you wish.

You can send the same string in Run Mode by putting it in a normal text file and selecting it with the Dispatcher Send File button. Run Mode allows a whole sequence of strings to be sent and would be used for a typical control application.

Bray Script

The Mule Dispatcher is controlled by a language we call Bray . Why Bray? Well to talk to a Mule you have to Bray - we had to call it something!

The full specification for Bray along with examples of use can be found here.

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