How to Choose a Barcode Reading SDK

how to choose a barcode reader sdk

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Depending on your scenario, budget, and timeline, there are various considerations to make when choosing a barcode reading SDK. What barcode symbologies will you be using? Are the barcodes printed on any curved or reflective surfaces? What type of camera and hardware will you be using?

In this post, we aim to make that selection process easier by highlighting some key considerations. We’ve also put together an ebook that helps software developers and IT managers understand the technologies behind barcoding and the steps necessary for enabling adoption and implementation. It can help you make a decision to choose a barcode SDK.

best practices for maximizing barcode reader technology


1. Choosing the Right Barcode

There is a lot to consider when choosing the right barcode to use. You should familiarize yourself with the various barcode types, their capabilities, and requirements, to ensure a proper barcode selection for your given scenario. You can have a quick barcode comparison here.

You can also review our Comprehensive Barcode Guide to learn more about which barcode types we support.

2. Does it Support your Barcode Symbologies?

When choosing a barcode reader SDK, you need to determine if it supports the barcode symbology you will be using. Dynamsoft Barcode Reader supports all major 1D and 2D barcodes, and we are expanding the list constantly.

You can try our free online demo to test how Dynamsoft Barcode Reader works with your specific barcodes. Or, if you are ready to start coding, you can sign up for our 30-day free trial.

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3. Scanning Capabilities

At the heart of any barcode reader is the ability to efficiently scan barcodes. But not every barcode will be perfect. 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?

When demoing potential barcode readers, most should be capable of reading perfect barcodes that are flat and have clear black and white edges. However, how will they perform with barcodes that are highly damaged or distorted?

There are a variety of commonly occurring damaged barcode scenarios that are likely to encounter:

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

Be sure to test your barcode reader SDK under these sub-optimal conditions. A good barcode reader app should be able to scan despite obstacles.

17-damaged barcodes

How to read damaged and distorted barcodes dynamsoft

4. Improve Barcode Recognition Speed

Barcode reading speed and accuracy are desirable for maximizing efficiency and enhancing customer experiences. Retailers and warehouse managers need a barcode scanner that works quickly and accurately every time, and customers don’t want to be held up any longer than necessary.

To maximize performance, learn about how to improve barcode recognition speed with:

  • Location
  • Quiet zone
  • Direction
  • Rotation
  • Smooth-zooming
  • Multi-threading

5. Improve Barcode Recognition Rates

What is the difference between recognition speed and recognition rates, you ask? Great question! Recognition speed has to do with how fast a barcode scanner is able to scan a barcode. Recognition rate is the number of barcodes recognized compared to the number of barcodes on the images.

To learn more about how to improve barcode recognition rates with image pre-processing, check out our blog post, or download the free ebook.

Maximizing barcode technology dynamsoft


6. Does your App Support all 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 the 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. This might include considering any industry and related regulation needs and requirements.

7. What Hardware Scanner will you be Using?

Not all hardware scanners are the same. The earliest and most inexpensive barcode scanners are built from a fixed light and a single photosensor. Depending on your needs, you will want to test which hardware scanners work best as each come with their pros and cons.

The three common hardware scanners are:

choosing the right handheld barcode scanner

To learn more about the various hardware types, please check out our blog post — The Pros and Cons of Various Handheld Barcode Scanners.

8. Integration to an Existing Web or Mobile Application

As modern technology develops and the wide adoption of mobile devices, a new two-dimensional imaging scanner emerges. A webcam or a mobile phone with a camera can be easily converted to a barcode scanner and also allows for easy integration to an existing web or mobile application.

To learn more about implementing a barcode reader SDK into a mobile application, check out out blog post.

9. 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.

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10. What about Open Source?

While 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 advised. Instead, it’s better to trust an expert in that area.

It has taken us years to perfect our SDKs and our work is still ongoing. We’ve invested heavily into research and development – tweaking and debugging so that you can leverage our SDKs into your desktop, web, and mobile applications. This can save you months, or years, of development time and cost so you can get your application up and running today.

open source vs Dynamsoft SDK

With just a few lines of code, Dynamsoft Barcode Reader SDK integrates into your solution today. 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.”

Taking 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.

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