Barcode Faq2018-12-28T11:37:22+00:00

Barcode FAQ

Reservation Software Systems

Barcode FAQ for the Patron® Ticket Reservation Software
End-to-End solutions for distributing value-bearing documents over the web.

Selling tickets over the Internet is probably the most significant ‘added-value’ service which organizations can offer their ticket purchasing customers, actual and potential, since the introduction of credit card payments.

What’s a BarCode?
What’s a BarCode Wand Scanner?
What’s a BarCode CCD Scanner?
What’s a BarCode Laser Scanner?
What’s a BarCode Keyboard Wedge?
What’s a BarCode Software Keyboard Wedge?
What’s a BarCode Portable Reader?
What’s an Integrated BarCode Portable Reader?
What’s a Portable Application Program Generator?
What’s the best way to start printing BarCodes?

What’s a BarCode TrueType Font?
What’s a BarCode Direct Thermal Printer?
What’s the most popular BarCode Printer?
What’s the most popular BarCode Format?
What’s a CODE 39 BarCode Format?
What’s a UPC BarCode Format?
What’s an Interleaved 2 of 5 BarCode Format?
What’s a CODE 128 BarCode Format?
What’s the advantage of using BarCodes?
How do you start your ticketing BarCode project?

What’s a Bar Code? 

BarCode is an automatic identification technology. It allows data to be collected accurately and rapidly.

A BarCode symbol consists of a series of parallel, adjacent bars and spaces. Predetermined width patterns are used to code actual data into the symbol. To read information contained in a BarCode symbol, a scanning device, such as a light pen (or wand), is moved across the symbol from one side to the other. As a scanning device is moved across the symbol, the BarCode width pattern of bars and spaces is analyzed by the BarCode decoder, and the original data is recovered.

The most visible application of this technology is the supermarket industry, where it has been in use since 1970. BarCode is now the de facto automatic identification technology, for virtually any application.


What’s a Bar Code Wand Scanner?

BarCode Wands are the most popular BarCode readers or scanners, due to their low cost. Wands are manually moved across BarCodes to perform the reading function, hence their classification as “contact” scanners.

BarCode Wand are extremely simple to use, but require users to keep a reasonably constant scanning motion across the BarCode, and a flat surface behind the BarCode to support the pressure applied by the operator during the scanning motion.


What’s a Bar Code CCD Scanner?

BarCode CCD Scanners are faster and easier to use than Wand Scanners. User simply holds the CCD Scanner slightly above the BarCode, and pulls the trigger button.

CCD scanners typically read BarCodes from contact to about one-half inch distance, hence their classification as “near-contact” scanners.

BarCode physical length must be considered when using CCD BarCode Scanners, as the complete BarCode must be covered by the CCD scanner optical head.


What’s a Bar Code Laser Scanner?

BarCode Laser Scanners are faster and easier to use than Wand or CCD Scanners. User simply holds the Laser Scanner above the BarCode, and pulls the trigger button.

Laser scanners typically read BarCodes from near contact to 12 inch distance (some models up to four feet), hence their classification as “non-contact” scanners.

BarCode Laser Scanners are best suited for reading BarCodes from a distance, reading poorly printed labels, reading a wide range of label sizes, and reading labels on irregular surfaces.


What’s a Bar Code Keyboard Wedge?

A BarCode Keyboard Wedge Decoder is a microcomputer which decodes the signals generated by a BarCode Scanner (while reading a label), and converts the analized bar and space patterns into the original data. The BarCode Decoder then converts the recovered data into the same codes that the Keyboard generates (aka: keyboard codes), in order to “fool” the PC into believing that the scanned data was typed on the keyboard. The BarCode Keyboard Wedge also includes the required electronics to combine both the Keyboard and Decoder codes (and cables), for sending data to the PC Keyboard buffer (via the Keyboard connector on the PC – No Special Software Required).

In order to install the Keyboard Wedge, user disconnects the Keyboard from the PC, and simply connects the Keyboard Wedge between the Keyboard and the PC (hence the term “wedge”). Thereafter, any data, scanned or typed, appears to the PC as if it had been typed on the Keyboard.

BarCode Keyboard Wedges are operating system independent, which means that the work with MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, OS/2, Windows 95, Windows NT, or any other PC operating system. BarCode Keyboard Wedges are available as stand-alone boxes or built-in (integrated) into the Scanner body.


What’s a Bar Code Software Keyboard Wedge?

A BarCode Software Wedge is a software program that is installed in a PC, to perform the functions typically performed by a hardware BarCode Keyboard Wedge or RS-232 Decoder (basically, decoding signals generated by BarCode Scanners, and converting them to alpha-numeric codes). These programs allow connection of an ‘un-decoded’ Scanner into a PC RS-232 port, with the PC software performing the BarCode decoding functions (Not to be confused with DECODED RS-232 Scanners, which include hardware BarCode decoders and provide decoded data via RS-232 interfaces, USB, etc).

Costs for Software Wedges are, as expected, lower than traditional hardware BarCode Keyboard Wedges, however, hardware versions are far superior. BarCode Software Wedges have various limitations. For example, when compared with traditional hardware BarCode Keyboard Wedge or RS-232 Decoders, Software Wedges are: slower, less accurate, sensitive to noise (usually picked-up by the Scanner cable – cables must be short!), and worst of all, they are operating system specific.


What’s a Bar Code Portable Reader?

A Bar Code Portable Reader is an integrated microcomputer system, which includes a display, key-pad, BarCode decoding capability, RS-232/USB communications port, batteries, and memory for data and program storage. For BarCode data collection, the system can be equiped with BarCode Wand, CCD, or Laser Scanners.

The system provides operators with prompts, in response to which, operators enter data via key-pad or BarCode Scanners. Collected data is saved, until Portable Reader uploads data (via RS-232/USB port) to the PC, where data is typically saved in delimited ASCII files, for easy import into Patron, Access, FoxPro, Excel, and other applications.

Programming for custom operator prompt sequences can be cumbersome, if you choose to program using proprietary language/software provided by the equipment manufacturer, or extremely fast and simple if you use an Easy-to-Use Application Program Generator. Application Program Generators provide non-technical personnel the ability to program for specific prompt sequences in only a few minutes.


What’s an Integrated Bar Code Portable Reader?

An Integrated BarCode Portable Reader is a traditional Portable BarCode Reader that has a permanently attached BarCode Scanner (typically a Laser Scanner). The advantage of using this type of Portable is that operator can perform the data collection operation using only one hand (vs. two hands when using a detached BarCode Scanner).


What’s a Portable Application Program Generator?

A Portable Application Program Generator is a tool for designing custom prompt sequences for use in data collection activities. Application Program Generators typically require no programming experience, and allow developing custom applications in minutes.

When using an Easy-to-Use Program Generator to design a custom prompt sequence, the user completes a simple form on the PC screen and enters: the various prompts, the order of the prompts, data validation criteria (for example: how many characters in response to each prompt, do you want numbers only, letters only, or alphanumeric data), and specifies if the records should be date/time stamped. After completing the form, the system generates the actual Portable Program, for user to download to the Portables when required.

An Application Program Generator is typically a part of a Data Collection System, which should also include the ability to download/upload programs/data to/from Portables, ability to print BarCodes, and ability to display/edit/delete/move/re-name collected data files on the PC.


What’s the best way to start printing Bar Codes?

The best way to start printing BarCodes is to use your existing laser, ink jet or dot matrix printer.

In order to do this, you require a BarCode TrueType Font, which is very inexpensive. A BarCode TrueType Font provides the ability to print BarCodes directly from Patron, Word, WordPerfect, Access, FoxPro, Excel, or any other Windows program. BarCodes can be printed on labels or directly on documents.


What’s a Bar Code TrueType Font?

A BarCode TrueType Font, is a font just like the ones you already have on your PC (Arial, Courier, Times New Roman). You install, select and use the BarCode fonts just like you would any other. The only difference is that when you display or print using the BarCode Fonts, instead of regular letters or numbers, you get bar and space patterns corresponding to the characters being typed (or displayed, or printed).

Like other TrueType fonts, the BarCode Fonts are fully scalable (you can make them as big or small as you want).


What’s a Bar Code Direct Thermal Printer?

A Bar Code Direct Thermal Printer is a label printer that prints images using heat to “burn” “dots” onto heat sensitive paper labels (just like the small calculator printers). Images printed using this technology are sensitive to heat, sun light, industrial ultra violet light, and applied pressure. These labels are only suited for short-life applications, as they will deteriorate over time. Do not consider Direct Thermal Printing for Fixed Asset Tracking or other long-life applications.

Direct Thermal Printers are typically less expensive that Thermal Transfer Printers, because they do not have the mechanisms and electronics required to control and manage an ink ribbon.

Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Printer usually require “optional” BarCode Label Design and Print Software.


What’s a Bar Code Thermal Transfer Printer?

A Bar Code Thermal Transfer Printer is a label printer that prints images using heat to “melt” ink (from an ink-ribbon) onto a variety of paper and synthetic material labels. A wide variety of media and ribbon formulations are available, providing the ability to print BarCode labels for virtually any application, including very long-life and extreme environment applications.

Direct Thermal Printers are typically less expensive that Thermal Transfer Printers, because they do not have the mechanisms and electronics required to control and manage an ink ribbon.

Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Printer usually require “optional” BarCode Label Design and Print Software.


What’s the most popular Bar Code Printer?

The most popular BarCode Printer is the typical HP Compatible Laser Printer. Laser Printer resolution is usually better than Industrial BarCode Printers, and the cost per label is typically insignificant (since you probably already have a laser printer). A wide variety of label sizes is available from the Avery Laser Label mailing label series, and the cost is usually a fraction of a cent per label. BarCode Avery Laser Labels are suitable for most applications, but may deteriorate if used in extreme environments (remember, they are only paper).

The only additional requirement is a BarCode TrueType Font, which will provide the capability to print labels directly from Word, WordPerfect, Access, Excel, or any other Windows program. BarCodes can be printed on labels, tickets or directly on documents.


What’s the most popular Bar Code Format?

The most popular BarCode format is the UPC (Universal Product Code) Format, which we find in all supermarket products. Available since the early 1970’s this format is known worldwide, and is universally recognized.

For Automatic Identification Applications, however, BarCode CODE 39 Format is the de facto standard for Government, Manufacturing, BarCode Industry, Education, and Business applications. The popularity of the CODE 39 Format is based on several factors, which include: ease of use, ability to code numbers and letters, flexible word length capability (can generate BarCodes with any number of characters), and universal reading capability (BarCode equipment from any manufacturer can read this code).


What’s CODE 39 Bar Code Format?

The CODE 39 BarCode Format (aka: 3 of 9) is the most commonly used BarCode Format because it enables numbers, upper case letters, and some punctuation marks (Capital Letters A-Z, Numbers 0-9, the “space” character, and the symbols:-,+,/,$,.,%) to be BarCoded. CODE 39 is a variable length format, allowing for encoding any number of digits. This format has become the standard for Government, Manufacturing, BarCode Industry, Education, and Business applications.


What’s UPC Bar Code Format?

The UPC BarCode Format is the standard BarCode Format for items that are for sale to the public. Probably the largest user of the UPC code is your local supermarket. The UPC BarCode Format is used to encode a 12 digit number. The first number is the number system character, the next five are the manufacturer number, the next five are the product number, and the last digit is the checksum character. This BarCode Format only encodes numeric information and must have 12 characters in length (exactly).


What’s Interleaved 2 of 5 Bar Code Format?

The Interleaved 2 of 5 BarCode Format (aka: CODE 25) is a numeric only code that prints out a little larger than the UPC BarCode when ten digits are encoded. The Interleaved 2 of 5 is an excellent choice for numeric only applications, because it has the flexibility of having from 2 to 30 digits. The Interleaved 2 of 5 code requires an even numbers of digits to be encoded. A leading 0 must be added if the digit count is not even.


What’s CODE 128 Bar Code Format?

The CODE 128 BarCode Format is a very compact BarCode for codes with all numeric information. Alphanumeric information can also be encoded, but at the expense of loosing the “very compact” benefit. The compact size of the BarCode printed with the CODE 128 when using only numeric digits is achived by using “double density” (two numbers are included in one character width). When alphanumeric data is encoded, however, CODE 128 uses “single density”, and the BarCodes are twice as long. This is not a simple BarCode Format to use, as there are several CODE 128 subsets, each with specific specifications and limitations.


What’s the benefit of using Bar Codes?

The benefits of using BarCodes for ticket solutions and automated data collection are very simple: speed and accuracy. Time after time, it has been proven that entering BarCode data is at least 100 times faster and more accurate than traditional manual keyboard entry, which translates into a dramatic increase in efficiency and productivity for any operation.


How do you start a Bar Code Project?

After reviewing the information on this page, you’ll have to agree that Ticket BarCode is an extremely simple technology.

The starting investment is very minimal, and the potential benefits enormous.

To start, all you need is IMS Voyager Reservation Software with it’s integrated Patron Ticketing system plus your printer, scanner, etc of your choice and then you can add secure Print@MyPC® capabilities to any type value-bearing document with the ability to print and read your ticket BarCodes.

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