Internet & Web Page Barcode Tutorial

Barcode Information | Tutorials | FAQs at

Implementing internet web barcode technology is often useful for the automation or verification of something that must be displayed on a mobile device screen or printed, such as airline boarding passes and tickets, invoices and receipts, coupons, name badges, check-in confirmations, registrations, rebate mailers, gift certificates and more. IDAutomation offers many products used to generate barcode symbols on the web and in web based mobile apps. These implementations are listed in the charts below, in order, with the recommended options at the top.


Streaming Barcode Products

A popular method of barcode generation involves streaming an image from a server. This implementation type is supported by several products and may be easily implemented within several applications as described in the Dynamic Streaming Barcode Integration Guide. No temporary files are produced on the host because the resulting barcode image is transmitted immediately to the browser as a binary stream. Printing to low resolution thermal printers is not recommended with streaming products unless a DPI adjustment can be made to match the image to the printer’s resolution. Any of these streaming services may also be used as a barcode generator for a desktop or mobile app.

 Product | CostNotesSymbologies | Server OS
 Dynamic Barcode Generator Service
Online Demo
As low as $28.75 per month
(Billed Annually)
  • No software to install; this is a hosted, managed SaaS fault tolerant subscription with a 99.98% uptime guarantee and a live system status site.
  • This mature service has been in operation since 2006.
  • Supports SSL encryption simply by changing http to https in the request.
  • This service requires an Internet connection. In addition, if a large number of barcodes are generated from the same system at the same time, some latency may be noticed. If this is an issue, consider installing one of the other streaming products listed here that may be installed locally.
 Streaming Barcode Server for IIS
 Streaming Barcode Server for IIS Demo
Licenses from $595
  • This is the same product as the Dynamic Barcode Generator Service except it is installed on your server.
  • Requires a Windows server with IIS and the .NET Framework installed.
  • Latency is minimized when installed on an Intranet server or eliminated when installed on the server that is generating the barcodes.
 Java Barcode Servlets
Online Demo for Java Servlets
Licenses from $395
  • Requires servlet configuration on the host; easy to use with Apache Tomcat.
  • Latency is minimized when installed on an Intranet server or eliminated when installed on the host that is generating the barcodes.
  • Recommended for all Linux and Unix web servers.
 ASPX Barcode Generator Script
Online Demo
Licenses from $199
  • Requires a Windows system with script processing enabled; also compatible with website hosting providers that support ASPX script processing.
  • Efficiently streams server-side 1bpp (one bit per pixel) image files.
 PHP Barcode Generator Script
Online Demo for Java Servlets
Licenses from $199
  • Easily generates server-side 1bpp PHP barcode images from a single PHP script file.
  • Recommended for all servers running PHP with Linux or Unix.

Barcode Fonts

Using barcode fonts within web applications allows very efficient barcode generation without latency issues. In addition, many of IDAutomation’s barcode fonts print accurately to low resolution thermal printers. All Code 39 and Codabar barcode fonts require a start and stop character. In addition, more complex barcode fonts such as Code 128, DataBar, PDF417, Data Matrix and QR-Code require implementation of a font encoder.

 Product | CostNotesSymbologies | Server OS
 WOFF Web Barcode Fonts
WOFF Font Online Demo
Licenses from $295
  • Requires the purchase of a Developer License or above because the fonts can be used by several Internet users.
  • This is a very easy web implementation when using Codabar for numbers only or Code 39 for number and letters.
  • As of August 2013, WOFF web fonts are compatible with the latest versions of IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari.
 TrueType or OpenType Barcode Fonts
Licenses from $159
  • Requires the actual installation of barcode fonts on all clients that display the barcodes with the browser. Therefore, this is only recommended for Intranet applications. IDAutomation recommends WOFF Web Fonts when using barcode fonts on the public Internet.

Web Server Controls

This product is a Web Server Control designed to be used in ASP.NET Web Applications. It is compatible with Microsoft Visual Studio and other .NET development environments. Many similar barcode symbologies are combined into single, small, fully-functional, redistributable file.

 Product | CostNotesSymbologies | Server OS
 ASP.NET Barcode Web Server Control
Licenses from $395
  • The mature components of this package have been in use since 2002.
  • An image resolution option allows the component to generate accurate images for 203 dpi thermal printers.
  • 100% managed code created in C# .NET with strong name signatures and signed DLLs.
  • Generates temp files on the server. However, these are automatically deleted by the server control itself after a specified time.

JavaScript, Applets and ActiveX Controls

These components are downloaded by the web browser, stored in the browsers cache and used as needed. They allow very efficient barcode generation without latency issues, however, are generally not compatible with all browsers. In addition, security settings may not allow barcode generation from these components.

 Product | CostNotesSymbologies | Server OS
 Java Applets
Applet Online Demo
Licenses from $395
  • The small size of the JAR files provide quick applet load times.
  • Quicker barcode generation can be achieved over slow connections by pre-loading applets.
 Barcode ActiveX Controls
Online Demo for Barcode ActiveX Controls
Licenses from $199
  • This is a mature component that has been in use since 2002.
  • Must be viewed in Internet Explorer to see the barcode on the page.
 Native JavaScript Barcode Generator
Online Demo for Native JavaScript Barcode Generator
Licenses from $295
  • Easy implementation with a single JavaScript file, no additional components, fonts or plug-ins are required to be installed to create barcodes; it is the complete barcode generator.
  • The symbol may appear distorted on the screen; however, it will be accurate when printed on a 300 dpi or greater resolution printer.
  • Not recommended for use on low resolution thermal printers.

Browser and Screen Resolution Issues | Mobile Device Compatibility

When displaying barcodes on mobile devices, it is suggested that the barcode symbol be enlarged so it can be accurately scanned from the screen. For best performance on mobile devices, IDAutomation recommends a 2D matrix symbology such as Data Matrix or QR-Code. To properly scan a 2D symbol from a mobile device, a 2D imager should be used, such as the IDAutomation 2D Scanner.

When implementing barcodes on the web, most browsers will print from the screen image at 96 DPI. The low resolution of the browser can sometimes be a problem when barcodes that are being printed require precise X dimensions (the width of the narrow bar). The minimum allowable X dimension (the width of the narrow bar) of a browser barcode that uses a streaming product to display a barcode must be a multiple of 1/96 of an inch, which is about 12 mils, or .03CM.

Most ISO and AIM standards indicate that the minimum X dimension should be 10 mils for open systems (meaning compatibility with different barcode scanners), so this is usually not an issue. However, there are some situations when the X dimension needs to be defined more accurately. For example, if an application requires an X dimension of 5 mils or 15 mils, this problem can be resolved by using products that support this capability such as Barcode Fonts or Web Server Controls. To understand more about this, please refer to the Achieving the Correct X Dimension with Web Products KB article.

Barcode images from browsers can also cause problems when printing to 203 DPI thermal barcode printers. This issue may be resolved by using Barcode Fonts or Web Server Controls. To understand more about this, refer to the Printing to Thermal Barcode Printers with Web Products article.

Reading Barcodes with Web Applications

Laser barcode scanners cannot be used to properly read barcode symbols from screens or mobile devices. Instead a CCD scanner or 2D imager must be used. All of the barcode scanners provided by IDAutomation have built-in decoders that automatically read several barcode types and perform “keyboard emulation” by default. They receive their power from the PC keyboard or USB port so no external power supply is required. When a barcode is scanned with these easy-to-use scanners, the data is sent to the PC as if it had been typed from the keyboard. When the data is sent in keyboard emulation mode, it is possible to use these scanners as easy input devices for online web applications by placing the cursor in the appropriate field and scanning the barcode. Additional information about scanning barcodes into applications is provided in the USB Barcode Scanner Application Integration Guide.