Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barcode Fun With OpenMRS

The Registration Module is supposed to generate Barcode images that will be printed on stickers and given to patients on their ID cards. This will help easier logo  identification of patients and quicker patient registration. For this purpose, we use the “Patient Identifier” to create barcodes. The “Patient Identifier” is hopefully unique and will help create bug-free barcodes.

Barcodes have a lot of different standards like Code39, Code128, UPC-A, UPC-E etc. Each of these standards were designed for a specific industry and application. And the Registration Module should support different standards so that it can be easy for the implementers of OpenMRS to choose any standard that they want. Thus, began my journey to find a way to generate customizable and easy barcodes.

Having just finished with the commit for the barcode generation in my registration module, I am extremely happy to say that Barcode Generation through the Registration Module is very easy. Still have to implement a print dialog box, but then the way to generate barcode is done through a pre-built servlet... I used an open-source barcode library called Barcode4j, which can generate barcodes in a variety of standards as well as image formats.

Barcode4j is an excellent library and after comparing about 15 different barcode libraries, I found it to be the most easy-to-use and extensible. Barcode4j already provides a Java Servlet which needs to be passed different parameters and it generates the barcode image “just-like-that”. The only thing I had to do was create a mapping for the servlet in the modules “config.xml”.

And that was it... Those nice black lines were shown on screen beside the patient search results. Now I needed to see if the barcodes are accurate and working. I took a printout of the image and scanned it through the barcode scanner. Hurray!! It worked!! And thus I realized that the servlet was accurately creating barcodes. Now moving onto creating a nice AJAX print dialog and probably some useful UI for creating identity cards.

2 comments:

yousuf said...

Hi Sunny
I am working to develope an application in netbeans to print and read a barcode .
Can you please tell me which libraries can be used for bar code.

Regards
Yousuf

Sivakumar said...

Hi Sunny..

We have used barcode4j libraries in a JAVA application to generate barcode images and make a PDF. When we are scanning PDF, everything is fine except for the letter "W". We are getting "*" instead of "W" when scanned.

can you please help on this

Thanks
siva ( sjanjam@cisco.com)