Re: Where to begin?
Or you could just get an independent scale/printer with its own network attachment. You can still connect your PC to it over the network, but you don't need to waste energy powering your PC to use it.
There are already PC-independent solutions; don't invent half-dependent solutions and pretend they're better.
So instead of having a IP with attached peripherals which gets its IP address via DHCP, you would instead prefer the novice PC user to self-install a switch, install and configure two rather expensive pieces of network-enabled equipment with static IP addresses, download and install the drivers and the application software, configure the application software with the static IP addresses, etc. -- and now you have three devices on your network to monitor instead of just one AND you have an application installed on your workstation that isn't part of the company standard.
-- or --
you would prefer a stand-alone proprietary solution, and have IT tasked with auditing and keeping this one-off piece of non-standard equipment on their network up to date, secure, and operational.
-- or --
I don't know about your environment, but I would be seriously investigating the third option before discounting it.
Shadow seems to think this is about drivers and such. It isn't. It is about the ability to use web-based applications in place of native code APPLICATIONS. Think Google Docs vs Word.exe, not video card drivers. Right now any web-based application that needs that kind of functionality has to use security abominations like Flash or Java, or the vendor write some sort of custom protocol driver which will usually only work with some subset of available hardware to accomplish the task. All this API does is create a standard where a manufacturer can "web-enable" their devices and expose a subset securely to a third-party web application that uses the same API.
Nobody is saying that it is the best technology for every business solution. This is a technology that addresses an existing security hole in an existing niche market, and is extensible to new device classes. It defines a standard that allows for vendor interoperability, reducing lock-in to proprietary architectures. It allows software vendors to have a single, cross-platform application that truly runs the same on Mac, Windows, and Linux out of a single code-base because actual execution takes place on the server and not on the workstation.
The API is in its early stages, with a draft spec only two months old. It may or may not flourish, but is IS better than the existing methods, or at least aspires to be.