I am used to using thermal transfer printers or the like. When using them,
you give a command that says:
Make me a 2 of 5 barcode with XXX as the data in it. Make it 1/2" tall and
as wide as it needs to be so that the narrowest bar is 3 dots wide. Place
it centered at the coordinates 3" from the left border and 2" from the top
of the label.
Obviously, this is not the actual command, but you get the idea. I have
complete control over how and where the barcode is placed on the label --
within the constraints of the printer (eg. dpi of the print head). Any
printer that is a given dpi should print out exactly the same thing given
that it gets the equivilant command for a specific barcode. I can print
just about any barcode syboligy in this way (that the printer supports).
When you designate the barcode, you tell it by these settings whether or not
you want it 100%, 120%, 90%, 125%... of the 'standard size' (again,
constrained by the printer itself).
Now enter the word of the scalable font. With them (in my experience
anyway), you cannot be limited to values that you can set. If you have a
font, any font, you can tell it to print at 10pt, 15pt, 42pt, or even
53.4pt. You also have control over the scaling in two directions - you
want it 42pt high, but squezed into 1 inch wide. These traits alone can
completely FUBAR some symbologies. Additionally, some customers say that
they want the barcode to be exactly X dots to the narrowest bar. You cannot
guarantee this within the confines of a scalable font -- at least good
enough for me.
From the printer standpoint, when you print a scalable font, sometimes it is
sent to the printer directly, sometimes as a bit map. Sometimes (unknown to
you) it is remapped to a different font and printed thusly without your
consent. When any printer gets the data you want to print (which may or may
not be what you actually sent), you cannot guarantee what the printer will
do to it when it prints it.
You see where I am going? Basically two points:
I want to have as much control over what is sent to the printer
I want to take as much of the guess out of what the printer prints that I
I can do both of these with things like thermal printers and to a limited
extent in native commands that the printer may have for barcodes, like some
other printers do. Mostly I want to generate a bitmap or some similar and
send that to the printer, hoping that any different printers that may get it
will print an image closer to the same than they would if I gave them a
At lease, that's how I see it.
> On Fri, 16 Feb 2001 13:18:30 -0000, "Alex Brewer"
> >Is there a 'free' way to generate barocodes for printing to a laserjet
> >printer or display on the screen in X?
> >I have found several libraries that can do this but they all either do so
> >with fonts (not a very clean way...)
> Not to disagree with your evaluation, but why do you think that
> printing barcodes using fonts isn't clean? I would have thought that
> it would be cleaner than generating graphics, because it could be
> remapped to different barcode schemes by a simple change of font. To
> my mind, a graphics implementation would have to be almost completely
> rewritten to accomodate a change in barcode encoding.
> I'm just interested in hearing your reasoning on this.
> > or with a library that generates a
> >graphic of some kind (the best way), but they all cost from several
> >to several thousand dollars per license!
> >I am mostly interested in UPC, 2 of 5, and code 39, but it would be nice
> >do the all.
> >Alex Brewer.
> Lew Pitcher
> Information Technology Consultant
> Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group
> (Opinions expressed are my own, not my employer's.)