Postal Barcode Generation in Java

Overview

Postal barcode types have been introduced to address some problems of 1D barcode types to facilitate postal operations. Such barcode types suggest encoding input information by altering the height of bars and not the width of bars and spaces as in 1D standards. Postal barcode standards usually ignore horizontal parameters to mitigate the risk of false-positive barcode detection.

Many countries use their own barcode specifications for postal services. Generally, such barcode types are similar to each other in terms of design with some minor distinctions. Postal barcode standards can be classified into two main groups: two-state ones that can encode only numerical characters and four-state ones that allow encoding both numerical digits and uppercase English characters.

Aspose.BarCode for Java can be used to create and read various two- and four-state postal standards, i.e. RM4SCC, Postnet, Planet, Dutch KIX, Australia Post, OneCode, and Mailmark. Further, this article describes how to work with postal symbologies using the Aspose.BarCode library functional.

Bar Height Settings

By default, Aspose.BarCode for Java enables automatic calculation of bar height and width for postal barcode standards depending on the XDimension value. It also enables manually customizing bar height regardless of barcode width through the setBarHeight method of class BarcodeParameters.

Following Planet and RM4SCC barcode images have been created with varying bar height settings.

Bar Height Settings for Planet

Bar Height

Is Set to None

Is Set to 100 Pixels

Bar Height Settings for RM4SCC

Bar Height

Is Set to None

Is Set to 100 Pixels

Bar Filling Options

Aspose.BarCode for Java enables adjusting the appearance of postal barcode images in terms of setting full or empty filling for bars. Developers can generate postal barcodes with empty bars using the setFilledBars method of class BarcodeParameters. The default value of this parameter is True, meaning that the generated postal barcode image will have fully colored bars.

Following Planet and RM4SCC barcode images have been generated using different bar filling settings.

Bar Filling for Planet Barcodes
Bar Filling Settings Filled Bars Empty Bars
Bar Filling for RM4SCC Barcodes
Bar Filling Settings Filled Bars Empty Bars

Two-State Postal Symbologies

In Aspose.BarCode for Java, developers can generate barcodes using various two-state postal symbologies, i.e. Postnet and Planet. These barcode standards allow encoding only numerical characters and require obligatory checksum controls. Code snippets and sample barcode images provided further demonstrate how to create postal barcodes of Planet and Postnet types.

Planet Standard

The Planet symbology suggests encoding each character in five bars. Among them, three bars are full-length, and two bars are half-length.

Postnet Standard

The Postnet symbology encodes each digit in five bars so that three bars are full-length and two bars are half-length.

Specific Properties of Two-State Barcode Generation

The Aspose.BarCode library has several specificities in the way of working with two-state postal barcodes. They are associated with handling invalid barcode text and changing bar length. These special cases are outlined further.

Handling Invalid Barcode Text Exception

When invalid barcode text is passed to the setCodeText method (in the case of Postnet and Planet, this means entering any characters besides numerical digits), the default approach implemented in class BarcodeGenerator implies the necessity to filter out erroneous symbols that do not comply with the specification and then to generate a barcode image encoding suitable characters only. If developers need to establish special controls for such situations, they can request throwing an exception upon entering invalid characters through the setCodeText method. In this case, it is necessary to call the setThrowExceptionWhenCodeTextIncorrect method of class BarcodeParameters passing True.

Customizing Bar Height

By design, two-state postal barcodes contain long and short bars in such a way that the shorter bars are half-length with respect to the longer bars. Aspose.BarCode for Java allows modifying bar height for short bars manually. To do this, the setPostalShortBarHeight method of class PostalParameters needs to be used.

Following barcode images have been created with varying short bar heights.

Short Bar Height** Is Set to 10 Pixels Is Set to 30 Pixels

Four-State Postal Symbologies

Aspose.BarCode for Java enables generating and reading several four-state postal barcode standards, including RM4SCC, Dutch KIX, OneCode, Australia Post, and Mailmark. By design, four-state barcode types use four different bar types to encode data: tracker (T), descender (D), ascender (A), and full (F). Therefore, each symbol is encoded in four bars meaning that two bits are encoded in one character. In general, four-state symbologies are designed as variations of the RM4SCC standard and support encoding numerical characters and uppercase English letters. All aforementioned four-state barcode types except Dutch KIX contain checksum controls. In addition, Mailmark and Australia Post support Reed-Solomon error correction to enable data recovery.

RM4SCC Standard

The RM4SCC symbology can be used to encode numerical characters and uppercase English letters. In this barcode standard, each symbol in a barcode is encoded in four bars among which two bars are enlarged upwards and the other two bars - downwards. Using supported combinations of bars with different lengths, it is possible to encode up to 36 characters, i.e. 10 digits and 26 letters. RM4SCC contains obligatory checksum controls using the modulo 6 algorithm.

Dutch KIX Standard

The Royal Dutch TPG Post of Netherlands uses the Dutch KIX barcode standard to facilitate automatic sorting of mails and process postal codes. It is similar to the RM4SCC symbology and allows encoding numerical digits and uppercase English letters. By design, it does not require checksum controls and does not contain start and stop symbols.

OneCode Standard

The OneCode postal symbology allows encoding fixed-length sets of numerical characters, i.e. 20, 25, 29, or 31 digits. It supports eleven-bit cyclic redundancy verification to detect errors but does not include an error correction mechanism.

Number of Digits

20 Digits

25 Digits

29 Digits

31 Digits

Australia Post Standard

The Australia Post postal standard uses special two-digit format control code (FCC) fields and eight-digit sorting code (SC) fields to generate barcodes. FCC fields are intended to determine one of three supported subtypes that have various fixed lengths, i.e. 37, 52, or 67 bars. Moreover, barcodes may include a customer information (CI) field to specify one of the available encoding types (numerical or alphanumeric characters). These settings can be customized through the setAustralianPostEncodingTable method of class AustralianPostPatrameters. Customer data can take 31 bars in barcodes with 67 bars or 16 bars in barcodes with 52 bars. Australia Post has checksum controls and supports Reed-Solomon error correction.

Barcode data can be prepared using one of the supported formats as explained below.

FCC Field Sorting Code Field Customer Information Field
11 8 digits None
59 8 digits 16 bars
62 8 digits 31 bars

The FCC field can be determined through the setAustralianPostEncodingTable method that has to be called by passing one of the values from the CustomerInformationInterpretingType enumeration listed in the table below.

Australia Post Encoding Table Supported Symbols
CTable 0-9, A-Z, a-z, space symbol, and #
NTable 0-9
Other 0, 1, 2, and 3 that correspond to H, A, D, and T states, respectively

Following barcode images have been created with varying FCC field settings.

Australia Post Subtypes FCC 11 FCC 59 Table FCC 62N Table FCC 62C Table FCC 62C Other Table

Mailmark Standard

The Mailmark postal standard has been introduced by Royal Mail of the United Kingdom. In general, its design is similar to RM4SCC; however, it requires entering barcode information in a strict format and does not support adding customer data. This symbology can be used to encode numerical characters, uppercase English letters, and space. It has checksum controls and supports Reed-Solomon error correction.
Mailmark has two main subtypes:

  • Type L - allows encoding 26 characters
  • Type C - allows encoding 22 characters
Mailmark Subtype Type C Type L