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Does Barcoding Give Headaches to You? Neodynamic is a Solution

By Dinesh Asanka,

A barcode is the small image of lines and spaces that is affixed to retail store items, identification cards and postal mail to identify a particular product number, person or location. In modern days, researches even use barcodes to identify bees by pasting small barcode on the body of bees. Barcodes are used in many areas. What if a business needs arise to get barcode support in your business?

If your data is stored in SQL Server, then converting them to barcode is bit of difficulty unless you have tailor made software to support SQL Server.

Neodynamic has come up with software to support above cause. Barcode professional for Reporting Service is the first and best Barcode custom report item (CRI) as they claimed. It may be the first but is it the best? You will get to know this after reading this review.

Version and Configuration

This review has done using the following software and hardware configuration:

Windows XP Professional version 2002 service pack 2

SQL Server: Version 2005 Standard RTM

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services Designers Version 9.00.1399.00

Neodynamic Barcode Professional for Microsoft SQL Server Report Services 2.0.2000.0

Processor: AMD Athlon ™ 1 GHz

Memory: 256 MB

 

System Requirements

Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 or grater

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services

Note: Although this review has done using Reporting Services 2005, Barcode Professional also supports Reporting Services 2000. If you use SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services you can add barcodes into your reports through Barcode Professional and the requirements in this scenario would be the following:

Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1

Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services

Product Overview

Following are the most common barcode standards. Last column indicates whether the Neodynamic barcode professional supports the barcode standard.

Barcode Standard

Use

Barcode Professional Support

Bookland

Based on ISBN numbers and used on book covers.

Yes

Codabar

Used by federal Express, in libraries and blood banks.

Yes

Code 11

Used for primarily for telecom numbers

Yes

Code 128

Used in preference to Code 39 because of impact.

Yes

Code 16k

Use in health care industry

Yes

Code 39  (Code 3 of 9)

Identification, Inventory and Tracking shipments.

Yes

Code 93

Extension of Code 38

Yes

Data Matrix

Two dimensional barcode which can store from 1 to 2000 characters. From this algorithm allow the recognition of barcodes that are damaged up to 60%

Yes

EAN

Extension of UPC and allows extra digits for country identification.

Yes

Industrial 2 of 5

Used in photofinishing and warehouse sorting industries and for sequentially numbering airline tickets.

Yes

Interleaved 2 of 5

Used in the shipping and warehouses.

Yes

ISSN barcode

Based on ISSN numbers. Used on periodicals outside the U.S.

Yes

JAN

Same as EAN used in Japan.

Yes

Maxicode

Used

No

MICR

A special barcode used for the number on the bottom of bank cheque.

No

OCR-A

The optical character recognition format used on book covers for the human readability.

No

OCR-B

Used for the human readable version of the UPC, EAN, JAN, Bookland and ISSN barcode.

No

PDF417

A new 2-D type of barcode that can encoded up to 1108 bytes of information.

Yes

Planet

Yes

POSTNET

Encoding zip codes on U.S. mail.

Yes

Uniform Product Code (UPC)

Retail stores for sales and inventory.

Yes

Out of the twenty-one listed barcode formats, 17 of them are supported by Neodynamic barcode professional.

It is nothing much really for coder to do. Open a report service project and drag and drop the barcode professional tool from the tool box to the place where you need to display or print the barcode. Neodynamic.ReportingServices.Barcode.dll needed to be included to the project if barcode tool is not in the tool box. For more information refer the documentation available with the installation.

Step-by-step guide can be found at

http:/www.neodynamic.com/ND/faqstipstricks.aspx?tabid=66&prodid=7&sid=31

Report will be displayed as following.  

Barcode tab allows you to configure barcode properties like barcode symbology, value to encode, additional text needs to display.  For each selected barcode symbology has customized settings like bar height, bar weight and bar ratio. For each barcode symbology use of it will be available so that users can select appropriate symbology to suit their use.

You have the option of selecting font and format features too.  From these features you are able to select a barcode color and background color you like.

Another important feature that available with this tool is ability set colors or font depending on the value which you can set.

Reporting Services allows you to export your reports to a variety of different file formats such us Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Excel (XLS), Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), Web archive MIME HTML (MHTML), and so on. Barcode Professional supports all export file formats. Below screenshots of the Employee Report in Excel and Acrobat PDF formats.

Barcode professional is also available for ASP.Net, ASP.Net Mobile and Windows Forms too.

Performance

To measure the performance simple query was written to retrieve data from Adventureworks which is the sample database comes with SQL Server 2005.


select emp.EmployeeId,NationalIDNumber,emp.title,
		con.FirstName + ' ' + 
			case 
				when	con.MiddleName is null then '' 
				else  con.MiddleName 
		end +  ' ' +
		con.Lastname  as Name
from HumanResources.Employee emp ,Person.Contact con 
where emp.contactid = con.contactid

Simple report was created including Employee Id, NatioanlIDNumber, Title and Name. There are 290 records return from the above query. It took 1-2 seconds to display simple report while to display the barcode included report, around nine seconds were taken. As barcode will not feature in day-to-day report, this delay can be neglected.

Support

Support is very essential for any tool. By sending an email to support@neodynamic.com, you can get any help that you needed. Additionally web site www.neodynamic.com also provides support for you. From the product installation you can fine off-line support in chm format.

Review Summary

I have divided my review of the Barcode professional into the following categories and rated it on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being best):

Description

Rating

Comments

Installation and Configuration

5

Very simple and standard installation.

Documentation

4

There are supporting documents available on the Web site and the .chm format of the online help is very useful.

Product Stability

5

Nothing to specify

Performance

4.5

Even though barcodes report are slow with compared to normal reports, this slow can be neglected.

Usability

5

No real issues with usability

Value

5

A great tool for developers who needs barcode support.

Feature Set

5

Most features are available.

Support

4

Many means of support.

Average

4.69

Product is above the average and close to excellent.

Product Information

Is it the best solution as they claimed? If so do not hesitate to download the trial version and evaluate it. The Trial Version of Neodynamic Barcode Professional for Reporting Services is fully functional and has no expiry date. The only limitation it has is that a TRIAL legend will appear on the generated barcode image.

Comments

Company Website

www.neodynamic.com

Product Info

http://www.neodynamic.com/Products/BCRS/BarcodeRS.aspx?tabid=78&prodid=7

Download Evaluation

http://www.neodynamic.com/ND/Downloads.aspx?tabid=79&prodid=7

Fully functional version

Pricing

http://www.neodynamic.com/ND/Buys.aspx?tabid=80&prodid=7

Developer, Team and Enterprise licenses are available to suit your requirements

Support

www.neodynamic.com/support

Step-by-Step Guide

http:/www.neodynamic.com/ND/faqstipstricks.aspx?tabid=66&prodid=7&sid=31

Demo

http://www.neodynamic.com/Products/Demos/Demos.aspx?tabid=81&prodid=7

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