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Reading & Writing New Barcode Types

With the introduction of the FileMaker 18 platform comes new barcode types now supported by FileMaker Go 18. These add to the list of stypes natively supported by iOS, and FileMaker Go has been updated to leverage support from iOS as well. The newly available barcode types are:

  • PDF417
  • ITF-14
  • Aztec
  • Data Matrix

These are in addition to the already supported list of barcode types, which are as follows:

  • Code 39
  • Code 93
  • Code 128
  • EAN-8
  • EAN-13
  • EAN/UPC Composite
  • GS1 2-Digit Add-On
  • GS1 5-Digit Add-On
  • GS1 DataBar Expanded
  • GS1 DataBar (RSS)
  • ITF-14
  • ISBN-10 (from EAN-13)
  • ISBN-13 (from EAN-13)
  • QR Code
  • UPC-A
  • UPC-E.
  • Codabar (added in 13.0v6)

Read and Write Barcodes

Since we can read these barcode types, that begs the question, how to generate any one of the supported barcodes? Ideally, we want to be able to generate one of the supported barcodes that we can print out and be able to scan those back in with a supported iOS device running FileMaker Go. That would provide an end-to-end solution using the FileMaker Platform.

There are several solutions to generate a barcode, and each has its own merits depending on your needs. Most of these involve the use of a font that has been installed in the OS or require a FileMaker Plugin. At Soliant Consulting, we like to generate barcodes using JavaScript, which is capable of dynamically generating an image suitable to store in a FileMaker container field and also prints nicely. Doing so does not require a web viewer to display the resulting image. However, a web viewer is used to generate the image via the javascript engine invoked when the html is loaded. You also need not save the image beyond the time needed to print it. That can save space required by your solution.

The js_Barcode.fmp12 example has been updated to generate the newly added PDF417 barcode type, so you can use that in your solutions.

Get the Sample File

You can get a copy of the sample file used to generate barcodes with JavaScript here.

HTML 5 Canvas Objects

Interestingly, this added example also demonstrates how to return any rendered HTML from a “canvas” object. If you are familiar with HTML 5, a canvas object is a special type of html element used to draw graphics on the fly in a web page. This also includes JavaScript support for accessing the resulting image with something like “canvas.toDataURL();” where the result will be the base64 encoded contents of the image, as PNG by default. Once we have the content, we can hand it back to FileMaker and convert the contents to an image by decoding the base64.

There are other JavaScript libraries that support a wide range of barcode types, one of which is listed in the references below. You may already have a requirement for what type of barcode type you need, or want to evaluate your options. Whatever the case, you have options for both generating and reading the barcode types you require with FileMaker.


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