Document signature capture

Posted by Tim Kuehn on 18-Oct-2016 09:57

I have a requirement where I need to capture the customer's signature,  send it to a location where it can be picked up by an ABL application running on an AIX box, and embed the signature image in a PDF document.

My question is - what products have others used and what was your experience in getting it integrated and working with your application?

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Posted by Roger Blanchard on 19-Oct-2016 06:32

Good Morning Tim,

We have been doing this for quite some time and it has varied over the years. Keep in mind we are a retail POS company and the signature devices also include MSR, EMV and PinPad.

Today, we use a 3rd party control that handles all interaction with the device and is used to get the signature and return to my app in a point array. We then need to scan the point array and build the signature using the .NET System.Drawing.Graphics and System.Drawing.Point which is then BASE64 ENCODED and stored in our DB. This is done at the point of purchase (cash register).

This record at some point is sent via a message (JMS) to the corporate office and stored in a database at corporate. When they run a report and want to see the transaction receipts we reverse the logic and convert the base64 encoded image back to an image and then add it to an excel worksheet using the WorksheetImage class.

Now, what I would recommend is choosing a signature device that has a documented SDK which allows the signature to be saved off to disk. This way you can then just use the ABL COPY-LOB to get the actual signature into the ABL and do with it whatever you need. I would assume that when you want to add it to a pdf you can just COPY-LOB back to disk and point the pdf to the location for the image.

I hope that helps,


Posted by Tim Kuehn on 21-Oct-2016 13:48

Roger - thank you for this. I've found a system that looks like it'd do what I want - have you any experience with them?

One aspect of their offering that I found appealing was that their signature capture system could be used in court if it ever came to that.

Posted by Roger Blanchard on 21-Oct-2016 13:53


I have never used Topaz but I have heard of them. In looking quickly at their SDK docs it looks like they give you what you need. This looks like a fun project...good luck.

Posted by Steve Croff on 24-Oct-2016 09:22

I have used topaz in the past (signature gem 1x5), but we had some performance problems with remote desktop clients running serial topaz devices.  This was about 10 years ago, Topaz had kind of a workaround that allowed using a "sigsock" thing that let you run the devices as IP.   If you are not using terminal services, running directly from a PC, the serial/USB devices worked great.  In the end, we did not do much with Topaz because we neeed credit/debit/emv/signature all on one device.  For that we went with Ingenico devices and integrated with their UPOS SDK.  

Posted by Tim Kuehn on 24-Oct-2016 15:58

Thx for the info Steve!

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