What are the Best Barcode Reader SDKs?
Looking for the best barcode reader SDK for your application, but aren’t sure how to evaluate the different options, and what considerations you should be making? You’ve come to the right place.
There are more than a dozen commercial-grade barcode reader SDKs on the market and it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to analyze them all. Thankfully, we did the analysis for you.
In this article, we look at the leading vendors from the barcode reading industry and provide a detailed breakdown of how each of them performs. Hopefully, this post will help make your decision easier with regard to which barcode reader SDK is best suited for your application.
In this post, we focus on three vendors and their products mentioned in this article at the time of writing:
- Dynamsoft (Dynamsoft Barcode Reader v 8.0) — A full-capability barcode reader SDK that is highly customizable to fit different user scenarios
- Scandit (Scandit Barcode Scanner v 4.2.2) — Supports various mobile application development frameworks; a valid option for mobile native apps
- Accusoft (Accusoft Barcode Xpress v 12.2) — Supports a large number of barcode formats
First, we need to establish the matrix for the basis of our comparison and see what makes a barcode reader ‘the best’.
When choosing a barcode reader SDK, the first consideration should be — does this SDK support multiple platforms? As with any business, it’s important to understand your customers and how they interact with your product or service. Even if your initial requirement is to build an application for a single platform such as a web-based or a mobile application, the barcode reader SDK you choose should be able to expand to meet future requirements. End-users use a wide variety of platforms and devices, and they expect a consistent customer experience and a seamless transition across all online platforms.
Depending on your business needs, you may only implement a certain barcode symbology and have no intention of introducing new symbologies in the near future. In which case, looking at all the different supported barcode symbologies is perhaps less critical. Nevertheless, it is still important to ensure the most common barcode types are supported such as 1D barcode, QR Code, and Aztec Code.
Here are a few benchmark articles comparing different barcode SDKs:
- QR Code Scanning: Dynamsoft vs. BoofCV vs. Zxing vs. Zbar
- PDF417 Scanning: Dynamsoft vs. Google ML Kit vs. Apple Vision
- Data Matrix Scanning: Dynamsoft vs. Google ML Kit vs. Apple Vision
- Linear Barcode Scanning: Dynamsoft vs. Scandit vs. Accusoft
|Barcode Format Support||Dynamsoft||Scandit||Accusoft|
|Royal Mail (RM4SCC), Code 32 Italian Pharmacode||✓||✓||✓|
|Code 39||✓||✓||✓ (Extended)|
|Code 93||✓||✓||✓ (Extended)|
|Code 128, Codabar||✓||✓||✓|
|Databar||✓||✓ (GS1)||✓ (GS1)|
|EAN-8 / EAN-13||✓||✓||✓|
|EAN-2 / EAN-5 Add-On||-||✓||Add-2; Add-5|
|Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF)||✓||✓||✓|
|ITF-14, Patch Codes, Intelligent Mail (OneCode), PostNet, Australia Post 4-State Code||✓||-||✓|
|Industrial 2 of 5 (Code 25), Royal Mail (RM4SCC)||✓||✓||✓|
|Invert 2 of 5, Matrix 2 of 5, UPU 4-State, Airline 2 of 5, BCD Matrix , DataLogic 2 of 5||-||-||✓|
|UPC-A / UPC-E||✓||✓||✓|
|MSI Plessey, KIX, GS1 Composite Codes, DotCode, MaxiCode||✓(GS1 Composite Codes, MaxiCode)||✓||-|
|MicroPDF417, Micro QR Code, DPM||✓||✓||-|
The following graph shows the monthly search volume per barcode symbology, which could be an indication of which symbologies are most popular. Learn more about what each of these barcodes is and how they are used.
Image Source Support
Depending on the barcode source, you may want to read barcodes from various formats such as base64 encoded string, bitmap, or different file formats (BMP, PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PDF). It’s also important that your barcode reader SDK supports both static images as well as dynamic sources such as videos.
|Image Source Support||Dynamsoft||Scandit||Accusoft|
Customizable Scan Settings
The ability to define a scan zone is essential for an enterprise-grade barcode solution. This greatly improves the efficiency for scanning batches of documents with a pre-set barcode location such as a driver’s license or an invoice where the barcode location is fixed.
Similar to zonal reading, a document that contains a certain barcode symbology can be pre-set to eliminate wasted processing power, therefore improving decoding speed. Also, having more image information such as the binarization block size adds flexibility for fine-tuning the barcode scanner to optimize each user scenario.
|Barcode Width Range||Width in Pixel||No. of Symbols||Width In Pixel|
|Set Module Size||✓||-||-|
|Enable Texture Detection||✓||-||-|
|Enable Text Filter||✓||-||-|
Ideally, all barcodes should be perfectly clear, in optimal-to-read condition, and be free of wrinkles, scuffs, and other marks. However, the reality is that damaged or difficult-to-read barcodes are unavoidable. A well-designed decoder should be able to decode the barcode and return the encoded information accurately. It helps to get more detailed information about the barcode result, such as barcode format specification for debugging purposes or completeness.
|1D Codes: Start Chars, Stop Chars, Check Digits||✓||-||✓|
|2D Codes: Module Size, Row Count, Column Count||✓||-||Row Count, Column Count|
|Level of Blurriness||-||-||-|
|Angle of Skew||-||-||✓|
|QR Code Specific: Version, Model Count, Error Correction Level||✓||-||Error Correction Level|
|PDF417 Specific: Error Correction Level||✓||-||✓|
|DataMatrix Specific: Data Region||✓||-||-|
|Aztec: Layer Number||✓||-||-|
For advanced users, you may be interested in the intermediate image results throughout the decoding process such as the binarized images or grayscale images. You can snatch these intermediate images and employ them directly in other workflows to improve efficiency.
The following type of images is produced in the process of decoding a barcode.
- Original image
- Color clustered image
- Grayscale image
- Pre-detected region
- Preprocessed image
- Binarized image
- Text zone
- Line segment
- Segmentation block
- Typed barcode zone
|Image Processing Intermediate Output||✓||-||-|
Most often short 1D barcodes such as UPC barcodes used in retail include the encoded text below the barcode symbol. The decoded information is compared against the text string for an extra step of validation, which highly increases the confidence level of the decoded result. This feature could reduce inefficiency or save lives when the margin for error is zero.
Direct Part Marking (DPM)
Direct part marking (DPM) is a process in which equipment is permanently marked with a type of code. DPM codes contain vital information used to identify parts, provide manufacture dates, safety requirements, and so on. Decoding DPM code presents unique challenges such as low lighting, low color contrast between dots and background, surface imperfections. Having a robust and impeccable DMP decoder is critical to improve efficiency and save costs where the DMP codes are present.
|Direct Part Marking||✓||✓||-|
Imagine a worker or automated machine could move alongside boxes or shelves with a camera while the barcode reader simultaneously captures the barcode images. Instantly, the warehouse manager receives a stitched image, which helps them to take a panoramic view of the situation and discover any missed barcodes in real-time, as well as see text results of the barcodes.
Determining which barcode SDK is right for you will depend on the specific needs of your business. Hopefully, this guide has saved you some time and narrowed your search.
As a quick recap, here is a summary of the solutions we reviewed:
- For Invert 2 of 5, Matrix 2 of 5 or some other less common 1D barcode formats, Accusoft has you covered as they support a wide array of barcode symbologies.
- If you only work with the mobile video stream as your input source and the barcode quality is fairly good, Scandit specializes in this usage scenario. Scandit is also the most expensive among the vendors.
- If you are looking for a barcode reader with high customizability and strong decoding performance, try Dynamsoft Barcode Reader SDK.
About Dynamsoft Barcode Reader
Dynamsoft Barcode Reader (DBR) is an industrial-grade SDK that enables software developers to embed barcode-reading functionality into their applications. With just a few lines of code, you can easily integrate barcode reader functionality into a web, desktop/server, or mobile application. This SDK saves months of additional work by removing the need to code from scratch.