How to Build a Command-Line Barcode Reader with Rust and C++ Barcode SDK

Rust’s popularity is increasing rapidly. This article aims to integrate Rust with the Dynamsoft C++ Barcode Reader SDK. We will walk through the process of building a command-line barcode reader for Windows and Linux.


  • Rust: A systems programming language renowned for speed, safety, and concurrency.
  • bindgen: A Rust tool that generates Rust FFI bindings to C and C++ libraries. You can install it with the following command:

      cargo install bindgen-cli
  • Dynamsoft Barcode Reader Trial License: You will receive a 30-day free trial license by email.
  • Dynamsoft C++ Barcode SDK v9.x: A ZIP package that contains the shared library and header files for Windows and Linux.

Step 1: Setting Up the Rust Project

  1. Use Cargo to initialize the project:

     cargo new barcode_reader
     cd barcode_reader
  2. Modify Cargo.toml to include the required dependencies:

     name = "hello_world"
     version = "0.1.0"
     edition = "2018"
     cc = "1.0"
     walkdir = "2.5.0"

    The cc crate is used to compile the C++ code. The walkdir crate is used to traverse the directory to find the shared library.

Step 2: Configuring the C++ Barcode SDK

  1. Extract the downloaded Dynamsoft C++ Barcode SDK, and copy the headers and platform-specific libraries to the Rust project directory structure as follows:

     |- include
         |- DynamsoftBarcodeReader.h
         |- DynamsoftCommon.h
     |- platforms
         |- linux
         |- win
             |- bin
                 |- DynamicPdfx64.dll
                 |- DynamsoftBarcodeReaderx64.dll
                 |- DynamsoftLicenseClientx64.dll
                 |- vcomp110.dll
             |- lib
                 |- DBRx64.lib
  2. Create a lib directory within your project. In the lib folder, create two files: bridge.cpp and bridge.h. These files will handle communication between Rust and the C++ SDK.

  3. Edit to build the C++ code and link the shared libraries.

    1. Determine the target operating system (Windows/Linux). When running cargo build, the println!() function won’t output anything to the console unless you add cargo:warning to the message.

       use std::env;
       use cc::Build;
       use std::fs;
       use walkdir::WalkDir;
       use std::path::{Path, PathBuf};
       fn main() {
           // Determine the target operating system
           let target_os = env::var("CARGO_CFG_TARGET_OS").unwrap();
           println!("cargo:warning=OS: {}..............................................", target_os);
    2. Link the shared libraries based on the target operating system, and copy the shared libraries to the output path.

       fn get_out_dir() -> PathBuf {
           let out_dir = env::var("OUT_DIR").unwrap();
           let debug_offset = out_dir.find("debug").unwrap_or(0);
           let release_offset = out_dir.find("release").unwrap_or(0);
           let mut path = String::from("");
           if debug_offset > 0 {
               println!(">>> where is debug {}", debug_offset);
               path.push_str(&format!("{}", &out_dir[..debug_offset]));
               println!("{}", path);
           if release_offset > 0 {
               println!(">>> where is release {}", release_offset);
               path.push_str(&format!("{}", &out_dir[..release_offset]));
               println!("{}", path);
       fn copy_shared_libs_from_dir_to_out_dir(src_dir: &Path, out_dir: &Path, extension: &str) {
           for entry in WalkDir::new(src_dir).into_iter().filter_map(|e| e.ok()) {
               if entry.path().extension().and_then(|ext| ext.to_str()) == Some(extension) {
                   let lib_path = entry.path();
                   let file_name = lib_path.file_name().unwrap();
                   let dest_path = out_dir.join(file_name);
                   fs::copy(lib_path, dest_path.clone()).expect("Failed to copy shared library");
                   println!("Copied {} to {}", lib_path.display(), dest_path.display());
       match target_os.as_str() {
           "windows" => {
               // Link Dynamsoft Barcode Reader for Windows
               // Copy *.dll files to the output path for Windows
               let src_dir = Path::new("../../../platforms/win/bin");
               copy_shared_libs_from_dir_to_out_dir(src_dir, &get_out_dir(), "dll");
           "linux" => {
               // Link Dynamsoft Barcode Reader for Linux
               // Set rpath for Linux
               // Copy *.so files to the output path for Linux
               let src_dir = Path::new("../../../platforms/linux/bin");
               copy_shared_libs_from_dir_to_out_dir(src_dir, &get_out_dir(), "so");
    3. Compile the C++ code that exposes some C functions to Rust.

       println!("cargo:rustc-link-search=native={}", env::var("OUT_DIR").unwrap());

Step3: Implementing the C/C++ Bridging Code

In this step, we will create the bridging code to enable Rust to interact with the C++ SDK. We will declare and implement the necessary structures and functions in C/C++.

Declaring Structures and Functions in bridge.h

In the directory, create a file named bridge.h and declare the C structures and functions that will be called by Rust.

#ifndef BRIDGE_H
#define BRIDGE_H

#include "DynamsoftBarcodeReader.h"

#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C"

    typedef struct
        const char *barcode_type;
        const char *barcode_value;
        int x1;
        int y1;
        int x2;
        int y2;
        int x3;
        int y3;
        int x4;
        int y4;
    } Barcode;

    typedef struct
        Barcode *barcodes;
        int count;
    } BarcodeResults;

    Barcode *create_barcode(const char *type, const char *value, int x1, int y1, int x2, int y2, int x3, int y3, int x4, int y4);
    BarcodeResults *decode_barcode_file(void *instance, const char *filename);
    void free_barcode(BarcodeResults *results);
    int init_license(const char *license);

#ifdef __cplusplus

#endif // BRIDGE_H

  • The Barcode structure represents the barcode information.
  • The BarcodeResults structure contains an array of Barcode structures.
  • The create_barcode function creates a Barcode structure.
  • The decode_barcode_file function decodes barcodes from an image file.
  • The free_barcode function releases the memory allocated for the BarcodeResults structure.
  • The init_license function initializes the license.

Implementing the Functions in bridge.cpp

In the bridge.cpp file, implement the functions declared in bridge.h.

#include "bridge.h"
#include <cstring>
#include <cstdlib>

Barcode *create_barcode(const char *type, const char *value, int x1, int y1, int x2, int y2, int x3, int y3, int x4, int y4)
    Barcode *barcode = (Barcode *)std::malloc(sizeof(Barcode));
    barcode->barcode_type = strdup(type);
    barcode->barcode_value = strdup(value);
    barcode->x1 = x1;
    barcode->y1 = y1;
    barcode->x2 = x2;
    barcode->y2 = y2;
    barcode->x3 = x3;
    barcode->y3 = y3;
    barcode->x4 = x4;
    barcode->y4 = y4;
    return barcode;

void free_barcode(BarcodeResults *results)
    for (int i = 0; i < results->count; i++)
        std::free((void *)results->barcodes[i].barcode_type);
        std::free((void *)results->barcodes[i].barcode_value);

int init_license(const char *license)
    char errorMsgBuffer[512];
    // Click to get a trial license.
    int ret = DBR_InitLicense(license, errorMsgBuffer, 512);
    return ret;

BarcodeResults *decode_barcode_file(void *instance, const char *filename)
    char errorMsgBuffer[512];
    TextResultArray *pResults = NULL;
    BarcodeResults *all_barcodes = NULL;
    int ret = DBR_DecodeFile(instance, filename, "");
    DBR_GetAllTextResults(instance, &pResults);
    if (pResults->resultsCount > 0)
        all_barcodes = (BarcodeResults *)std::malloc(sizeof(BarcodeResults));
        all_barcodes->count = pResults->resultsCount;
        all_barcodes->barcodes = (Barcode *)std::malloc(sizeof(Barcode) * pResults->resultsCount);
        for (int iIndex = 0; iIndex < pResults->resultsCount; iIndex++)
            LocalizationResult *localizationResult = pResults->results[iIndex]->localizationResult;
            Barcode *barcode = create_barcode(pResults->results[iIndex]->barcodeFormatString, pResults->results[iIndex]->barcodeText,
                                              localizationResult->x1, localizationResult->y1, localizationResult->x2, localizationResult->y2,
                                              localizationResult->x3, localizationResult->y3, localizationResult->x4, localizationResult->y4);
            all_barcodes->barcodes[iIndex] = *barcode;

    return all_barcodes;

Step4: Generating Rust Bindings for C/C++ Code

To invoke the C/C++ functions from Rust, we need to generate Rust bindings for the C/C++ code. We can either write the bindings manually or use the bindgen tool to generate them automatically as follows:

bindgen ./lib/bridge.h -o

In addition to the methods implemented in bridge.cpp, we add two more functions contained in the C++ SDK: DBR_CreateInstance and DBR_DestroyInstance. The full file is as follows:

use std::ffi::c_void;
use std::os::raw::c_char;
use std::os::raw::c_int;

pub struct Barcode {
    pub barcode_type: *const c_char,
    pub barcode_value: *const c_char,
    pub x1: c_int,
    pub y1: c_int,
    pub x2: c_int,
    pub y2: c_int,
    pub x3: c_int,
    pub y3: c_int,
    pub x4: c_int,
    pub y4: c_int,

pub struct BarcodeResults {
    pub barcodes: *mut Barcode,
    pub count: c_int,

extern "C" {
    // Bridge functions
    pub fn free_barcode(barcode: *mut BarcodeResults);
    pub fn init_license(license: *const c_char) -> c_int;
    pub fn decode_barcode_file(instance: *mut c_void, filename: *const c_char) -> *mut BarcodeResults;
    // Dynamsoft C++ Barcode Reader SDK functions
    pub fn DBR_CreateInstance() -> *mut c_void;
    pub fn DBR_DestroyInstance(barcodeReader: *mut c_void); 

Step5: Writing Rust Code

The final step is to write Rust code in the file to implement the command-line barcode reader.

  1. Import the generated bindings and other necessary libraries.

     mod bindings;
     use std::io::{self, Write};
     use std::ffi::CString;
     use bindings::*;
  2. Activate the license of Dynamsoft Barcode Reader:

     let license = "LICENSE-KEY";
     let ret = unsafe {
         let license = CString::new(license).expect("CString::new failed");
     println!("InitLicense: {}", ret);
  3. Create an instance of Dynamsoft Barcode Reader:

     let reader_ptr = unsafe { DBR_CreateInstance() };
     if reader_ptr.is_null() {
         panic!("Failed to create barcode reader instance");
  4. Prompt the user to enter a file name in a loop. If the user types exit, the program will exit.

     loop {
         print!("Please enter the file name (or type 'exit' to quit): ");
         let mut file_name = String::new();
         io::stdin().read_line(&mut file_name).expect("Failed to read line");
         let file_name = file_name.trim();
         if file_name.to_lowercase() == "exit" {
         println!("Processing file: {}", file_name);
         let path = CString::new(file_name).expect("CString::new failed");
  5. Decode barcodes from the image file and print the results.

     unsafe {
         let results_ptr = decode_barcode_file(reader_ptr, path.as_ptr());
         if results_ptr.is_null() {
             println!("No barcodes found.");
         } else {
             let results = &*results_ptr;
             let barcodes = std::slice::from_raw_parts(results.barcodes, results.count as usize);
             for (i, barcode) in barcodes.iter().enumerate() {
                 let barcode_type = std::ffi::CStr::from_ptr(barcode.barcode_type).to_string_lossy();
                 let barcode_value = std::ffi::CStr::from_ptr(barcode.barcode_value).to_string_lossy();
                 println!("Barcode {}: type = {}, value = {}", i + 1, barcode_type, barcode_value);
                     "Coordinates: ({}, {}), ({}, {}), ({}, {}), ({}, {})",
                     barcode.x1, barcode.y1, barcode.x2, barcode.y2,
                     barcode.x3, barcode.y3, barcode.x4, barcode.y4
  6. Run the program.

     cargo clean
     cargo run

    Rust barcode reader

Source Code