If you’ve recently taken a flight, you’d have seen one if not several barcodes on your boarding pass. Or if you’ve gone to the grocery store, each product on the shelves usually has a UPC barcode printed on the packaging. Just to name a few more barcode uses, the government and health care industry are employing barcodes on ID cards to identify individuals and providing more information on the cardholder.

Nowadays cloud services make application development easier. Resulting software can be deployed on various platforms including desktop, web, and mobile. However, as is becoming more evident, web-based applications are becoming more popular.

As a developer, web-based application development is more lightweight and convenient. As an end-user, you don’t have to install an application to get connected with colleagues, to store business or personal data, watch a video, edit documents, publish blog posts, and even to write code.

Dynamsoft offers a powerful JavaScript barcode solution that is trusted by many fortune 500 companies. It supports real-time localization and decoding of various barcode types. The library is capable of scanning barcodes from static images as well as directly from live video streams. It also supports reading multiple barcodes at once.

Now the question is how to evaluate a browser-based barcode solution in order to meet the growing demand? We’ve summarized 10 rules that you should be considering when doing a thorough evaluation. By following these guiding principles, you’ll be guaranteed to find a solution that will improve efficiency and save costs.

What to Look for When Evaluating Web Scanning Components

Rule #1: A browser-based barcode solution must be pure JavaScript.

This is self-explanatory however it’s important to ensure that the browser-based barcode solution is 100% JavaScript based. It shouldn’t require you to install any other applications or plugins in order to work. The latest state of the art technology is based on WebAssembly.

Rule #2: A browser-based barcode solution must be small for lightning-fast rendering.

Even though no extra installation is required to run the web barcode application, it still needs to load the associated WASM files to work properly. Research found that waiting more than 3 seconds for a page load will cause a large share of users to abandon a site. So every second counts.

The file size becomes critical for user experience and efficiency. It goes without saying, the smaller the files sizes, the faster the web page will load, the quicker a user can scan the barcodes. Ideally, the file size should remain below 1 MB and initial load speed should be kept within a couple of seconds, subsequent loads should happen under a second using the latest browsers on modern devices.

Rule #3: A browser-based barcode solution must be cross-browser and cross-device

A robust solution should be able to support multiple browsers on multiple devices. The most commonly used modern browsers include Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari. It should also have a seamless transition of user experience and functionalities between desktop browsers and mobile browsers.

Rule #4: A browser-based barcode solution must support multiple types of barcode

This is where people say, the more the merrier. The more barcode type your barcode solution can support, the better shape you will be as you expand your business and customer base. Depending on your business needs, you may only implement a certain barcode symbology. 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 PDF417.

Rule #5: A browser-based barcode solution must support multiple input sources and file types

The insurance company will want to read barcodes in a picture a client took of their insurance card. The healthcare industry might’ve done image processing in a prior workflow and the image is encoded as a base64 string. The document management industry might read more barcodes in PDF files. A movie theatre might need to scan the barcode in real-time with a mobile device. As you can see, different barcode usage scenarios use different formats as input, your winner barcode solution should support them all.

Rule #6: A browser-based barcode solution must provide flexible settings for different usage scenarios

This could be a test for the sophistication and robustness of a barcode reader solution. As we mentioned above, different industries would use barcodes differently which results in different input formats. Even given the same input format such as a JPEG image, some could have a white background vs. white background, others could have noise around the barcode such as texts vs. clean background. Being able to adjust setting parameters to cater to a specific scenario can greatly improve accuracy and efficiency. This feature ultimately separates the elite from the amateurs.

Rule #7: A browser-based barcode solution must also have camera controls

If your browser barcode application requires taking a picture with the built-in camera, then having camera control not only is convenient but also essential. Modifying camera settings such as setting resolution or zoom will improve image quality and sophisticate your application.

Rule #8: A browser-based barcode solution must also handle damaged barcodes

Improving accuracy and decoding rate remains a top priority for developers working applications where a mistake could be costly. It’s very common for barcode images to have glares, low contrast, low light, or shadows. The barcode could also be taken at an angle, taped on a curved surface. Those imperfections also add difficulty to decoding the barcode. So a browser-based barcode solution with image pre-processing capabilities, anti-damage, deblur features is paramount.

Rule #9: A browser-based barcode solution should provide additional useful information

A powerful barcode solution should provide more than just the encoded text. It should also output information such as where the barcode is located, the angle or the module size of the barcode. It would be more helpful if it can also output Intermediate images results produced during the decoding process such as the grayscale or the binarized images. These types of information greatly improve productivity by reusing these barcode data in other workflows and maximize the ROI of the solution.

Rule #10: A browser-based barcode solution should provide you with excellent support services

Most likely, as a developer not only you would be building the application, you would also be responsible for supporting the application for many years. Poor technical support can result in hours spent struggling with technical issues, or even unsatisfied customers. Furthermore, it can add to your bottom-line development costs. The solution you choose should also be well maintained, continuously rolling out new features and improvements, and provide you with award-winning support to help you succeed in your role. A well-documented developer’s guide, content-rich knowledge base articles and resources are also helpful.

Dynamsoft Barcode Reader JavaScript Edition is a JavaScript API for barcode scanning based on the latest WebAssembly technology. Overall, JavaScript Edition comes with a clear advantage – end users don’t need to install anything to use your web application.

About the Author
Donna Wang is a senior technical writer at Dynamsoft, the leading company in document capture and image processing SDKs. Donna is in charge of managing content for various marketing campaigns, Dynamsoft blog and third party partner sites. Before devoting her work to Dynamsoft, she served as research analyst at Fortinet Inc.