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5 Factors to Consider when Selecting a Barcode SDK

Although once consigned to retail and supply chain management systems, barcodes are finding their way into applications across a wide range of industries and use cases. Scannable barcodes are ideally suited for a variety of automation strategies because they enable software to identify and sort assets efficiently with minimal processing resources. Rather than relying on error-prone manual practices or building complex artificial intelligence (AI) tools to manage assets, developers can simply deploy barcodes to track them and route information to the proper destination.

When selecting a barcode SDK for integration into their software, developers need to ask a few important questions to make sure they’re getting the right tools for the job. Identifying the priorities and features that matter most pre-integration makes it easier to choose a barcode SDK that’s capable of growing with the application’s needs.

5 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Barcode SDK

1. How accurate is the recognition?

This question might seem a little obvious, but a barcode reader that doesn’t deliver accurate results is going to create far more problems than it solves. Depending upon the use case, an application may frequently encounter barcodes that are blurry, torn, skewed, or even printed in reverse. If a barcode SDK lacks the image processing capabilities necessary to read those codes accurately, it will routinely report errors and read information incorrectly.

The most sophisticated barcode integrations take an intelligent approach to improve accuracy by processing and editing the scanned barcode as needed to create a readable, black and white image. Once the image is properly rotated and deskewed, the SDK can deploy a library of customized algorithms to apply the most relevant solution for common problems, such as image blur, noise, and missing pixels to maximize reading accuracy. 

2. How fast is it?

For enterprise applications where barcodes must be read in large batches, speed is essential. A high performance barcode SDK will be optimized for processing speed and support multi-threading so applications can read barcodes as fast as their hardware allows. The best way to test barcode reader speed is to simply run a timed test of 1,000 barcodes from a set of data. This will provide a real-world speed measurement for specific use cases.

3. How many barcode types does it recognize?

There are many different types of barcodes used across a variety of industries, each one using a slightly different format for encoding data. Even a limited use case could require several variants of barcodes. Selecting a barcode SDK that supports a broad selection of 1D barcodes and 2D barcodes is essential for providing applications with the ability to grow and expand functionality in the future.

4. How versatile is the recognition?

Barcodes aren’t always presented in the most ideal format. Even in a specific use case like document management, barcodes may not be used uniformly across every file. A versatile barcode SDK should be able to recognize barcodes no matter where they appear on a page or how they’re oriented. It should also have the ability to quickly identify different types of barcodes so the application doesn’t need to be reconfigured every time it processes files. Support for multiple file formats also allows developers to apply barcode recognition to a variety of workflows.

5. Is it easy to integrate?

A well-designed SDKs should be flexible enough to integrate seamlessly with an existing application. Difficult to implement solutions can quickly lead to lost development time and wasted resources. By selecting a barcode SDK that can get up and running quickly, developers can keep projects on time and get their solutions to market faster with the features their customers need.

BONUS: 5 More Factors to Consider When Selecting a Barcode SDK

6. Does it also write barcodes?

While the ability to read barcodes quickly and accurately is certainly important, many applications also need to be able to generate barcodes as part of a broader asset management system. Barcode SDKs should be able to write multiple barcode types to help organizations track and route data within their applications.

7. Is it suitable for document management?

While many organizations are now using barcodes as part of their document management systems, not every barcode SDK is well-suited to this task. Several barcode integrations are more focused on physical scanners for inventory management and retail use cases rather than the specific needs of digital documents. Developers building document management systems need to make sure their barcode SDK is specifically optimized for reading and writing barcodes on digital documents to get the best results for their applications.

8. What programming languages does it support?

Developers aren’t going to get very far implementing a barcode SDK if it doesn’t support their application’s programming language. Whether software teams are building products in .NET framework, .NET Core, Node.js, Java, Linux (C/C++), Android, or iOS, they need to secure an SDK that’s compatible with their environment when the time comes for integration.

9. Does it offer developer support?

Barcode processing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There will always be problems with source data (scanned images), and code types are constantly evolving. Working with a vendor that’s committed to supporting their SDK and providing assistance to customers as they work through implementation and performance issues can make the process much smoother. In many cases, this guidance is essential to achieve high accuracy in real-world situations where barcodes and images are far from perfect. Ongoing and active support also ensures that the barcode SDK will receive regular security and performance upgrades. This factor alone makes them a much better choice than a number of unsupported, open-source solutions.

10. Does it provide performance data?

Confidence values help developers actively track barcode recognition performance. This allows them to identify potential issues with reading certain barcodes and understand where errors are most likely to occur. Based on that information, they can actively adjust confidence thresholds to optimize application workflows to prioritize speed in some situations and more rigorous accuracy in others.

Build a Better Barcode Application with Barcode Xpress

Accusoft’s Barcode Xpress is a powerful barcode SDK integration that provides a combination of speed, accuracy, and flexibility. In just a few lines of code, developers can give applications the power to detect, read, and write more than 30 different types of barcodes. Barcode Xpress can recognize multiple barcodes on a page in milliseconds and read broken, damaged, and incomplete codes that other SDKs fail to register.

We’re constantly working to improve Barcode Xpress to add new features and improve usability. Available for multiple operating systems, our barcode SDK is fully optimized for document management to support automation processes and efficient data capture. We constantly test it with the most troublesome barcodes we can find, and that’s one reason it’s become the most reliable toolkit in the industry. Download a free evaluation copy to test it with your own barcodes and judge how it performs in your development environment.