How to Choose a Barcode SDK

how to choose a barcode reader SDK

How to choose a barcode SDK? What are the must-have features? In this post, we discuss a few key considerations when choosing a barcode reader SDK.

Scanning Capabilities

At the heart of any barcode reader is the ability to efficiently scan barcodes.

Not every barcode will be perfect, which is why scan accuracy and reliability are paramount. A good barcode reader app should be able to scan despite obstacles such as:

  • Improper lighting
  • Screen glow and reflection
  • Blurriness
  • Poor contrast
  • Damage and distortion

You need to determine if your barcodes will be on shiny or reflective surfaces, will the barcode be distorted from condensation, will it be flat or curved, and what orientation and angle will it be?

curved barcode surface

When demoing potential barcode readers, most should be capable of reading perfect barcodes that are flat and have clear black and white edges. The very best barcode SDKs will be able to read barcodes that are highly damaged or distorted.

To learn more about different barcode scenarios, please check out our Best Practices Guide for Maximizing Barcode Reader Technology.

best practices for maximizing barcode reader technology

In our Best Practices Guide, we cover some other key considerations for maximizing a barcode reader’s scanning capabilities, such as:

  • Location
  • Binarization
  • Despeckling
  • Quiet Zone
  • Direction and Rotation
  • Smooth-zooming
  • Number of Barcodes per Page
  • Multi-Threading
  • Resolution

Scanning Speed and Accuracy

It goes without saying, with barcode readers, speed and accuracy are desirable for maximizing customer and retailer experiences. Retailers need a barcode scanner that works quickly every time, and customers don’t want to be held up any longer than necessary.

Our Dynamsoft Barcode Reader Javascript Edition SDK is intended for web, desktop, and mobile applications. We tested various browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Internet Explorer, as well as iOS and Android devices. We found varied results depending on the browser type and version. So be sure to determine which browser type and version will be most used by your customers, and then test how your barcode reader performs.


To see the results of our Dynamsoft Barcode Reader Javascript Edition SDK, please read our post – Best Practices for Increasing Speed with Dynamsoft Barcode Reader JavaScript Edition.

User Experience

Another often overlooked consideration when choosing a barcode reader SDK is how users will interact with the device. Some may point their cameras at an angle, which will skew the barcode, or the scan distance will vary. A reliable barcode SDK should be able to adapt and handle most of these scenarios.

A barcode scan is accomplished by using a video stream, so a good SDK algorithm will automatically select the best frame from many frames captured in a video stream. Or, the SDK should have the flexibility to let app designers identify the frame to use, such as return the one in the center, or return the code with the highest confidence level.

Barcode and Platform Support

Does your barcode reader app support all varieties of barcodes and platforms?

Whether someone is scanning with an iOS or Android device, and whether they have the latest OS or an older version, platform support should be exhaustive to avoid alienating customers.

Barcode symbology support should be exhaustive as well. Supporting UPC-A, UPC-E, and EAN-13 are essential. These barcodes are generally found on consumer goods packaging. This includes on the shelves of your local supermarket, as well as books, magazines, and newspapers. More and more, QR codes are appearing on packaging to encode a link to a company website or online instructions for a product’s use.

Determine all the possible barcodes your end users will scan, and test each of them.

What about Open Source?

It may be tempting to go with an open source barcode SDK, but they have many hidden drawbacks. Although the initial cost appears to be cheaper, you have to factor in all the labor involved with problem solving and configuring, de-bugging, figuring our compatibility issues, ongoing maintenance, and so on. In the long run, they tend to be much more costly, and less effective. An analogy would be like running a business and handling the accounting on your own if that’s not your specialty. It’s possible, but not advise. Instead, it’s better to trust an expert in that area.

Similarly, we have spent countless time and money developing and refining our Dynamsoft Barcode Reader SDK, making sure it easily integrates into your solution using only a few lines of code. Utilizing our experience and expertise will drastically reduce your development time and headaches. Plus, we offer technical support, security, updated versions, etc., which is not something you get with open source solutions.

Reading online forums will find that most of the time, open source only resulted in a waste of time. As one user put it:

“We are using a free library called ZXing but it is not as performant as we would like. We have about 30 apps that we have built that we use internally and they all use this free lib and is manageable but not good enough for external apps.”

Take the Next Step

Ready to take the next step and see why many of the world’s best companies trust Dynamsoft? Please check out our Online Demo, sign up for a Free 30-day Trial, or speak to one of our Technical Support Members.

To learn more about different barcode scenarios, please check out our Best Practices Guide for Maximizing Barcode Reader Technology.


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