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CHARLOTTE AUX FRUITS
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CODE 2 DE 5 ENTRELACE
CODE 3 DE 9
CODE 128
CODE PDF417
CODES BARRE
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EAN 13
EAN 128
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ENVOI DE SMS
ESPACE MEMBRE
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EXEMPLES VB6
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LANGSTROTH
LEGUMES (Recettes)
MADELEINES
MAISONS
MAQUEREAUX AU VIN BLANC
MAQUEREAUX (Rillettes)
NMEA
NOUGATINE
PAIN
PDF417
PHP
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PATISSERIE (Bases)
PLANTEUR
PLATS COMPLETS (Recettes)
POISSONS (Recettes)
PROCEDURES
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TABLE PERIODIQUE
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VIDEOTEXT
VISUAL BASIC
VOIRNOT
WNTIPCFG

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The PDF417 code

Version francaise
This code is part of the family of 2-dimensional codes, it's in fact a code of several lines which can encode up to 2700 bytes what explain its name "Portable Document File". The encoding is done in two stages : first the datas are converted into "codeword" (High level encoding) then those are converted to bars and spaces patterns. (Low level encoding) In addition, a multi-level error correction system is included, it allows to reconstruct badly printed, erased, fuzzy or torn off datas. In the remainder of this presentation, the expression "codeword" will be shortened to CW and "Reed-Solomon code" to RS.

The general structure.

 

 

 

 D

 é

 b

 u

 t

 

 

 G1

 D15

D14

 Dr1

 

 

 

 F

 i

 n

 

 

 

 

 G2

 D13

 D12

 Dr2

 G3

 D11

 D10

 Dr3

 G4

 D9

 D8

 Dr4

 G5

 D7

 D6

 Dr5

 G6

 D5

 D4

 Dr6

 G7

 D3

 D2

 Dr7

 G8

 D1

 D0

 Dr8

 G9

 C3

 C2

 Dr9

G10

C1

C0

Dr10

Low level encoding.

High level encoding.

Errors detection and correction.

Those who have read and understood the codes of Reed Solomon will find themselves there ; for the few ignorant who have not understood everything (like me!) It will be enough to apply the "recipe" by using the codes obtained in the reverse order (last to first).

Bar code making.

Since we can create the bar code pattern it remains us to draw it on the screen and to print it on a paper sheet. Two approaches are possible : It seems there is no free font for PDF417 on the net. I've decided consequently to draw this font and to propose it for download. Because there's 929 CWs with 3 alternatives for each one obligate us to divide the 17 bits of a CW in several parts. But divide by 17 ... hmmm ... a trick is necessary. If we considere that the first bit is always "1" and the last one "0", we can imagine a separator like "01" and the remain is only 15 bits in each CW; we can then divide these 15 bits into 3 parts. There will be then 25 = 32 possible groups affected to 32 characters of the font. The encoding software is in charge to transform the 3 groups of each CW into a 3 characters string.
The font will contain thus the following characters : The string to send to the printer will look something like this  : +*gfA*jhD*BAl*gCt*hjk*- and this for each row.

The "pdf417.ttf" font

This font contains the 35 patterns describe above. The start row and end row codes embed a 2 modules margin. The height is equal to 3 modules which is the most usual size.
Copy this file
in the font directory,
often named :
C:\WINDOWS\FONTS

Encoding a pdf417 bar code

The software will evolve with 4 steps : Because of the interaction between the different compaction modes and the different sub-modes of the "text" mode it's difficult to make a 100% optimization. Thus the software will split the string into "parts" having the type "numeric", "text" or "byte" afterwards it will change some parts for an other mode if the overload due to switch CWs is greater than the compaction gain. We'll can't make allowance for all the parameters like paddings, gain due to perfect multiple of 6, uni-character switch or the switchs between the different sub-modes of the text mode : one would need for that several thousands of programming lines.
Another difficulty comes from the size of the wielded numbers, for example the "Modulo 900" operation applied on a 44 digits number generate an unavoidable overload error; the software will have to carry out this calculation step by step.

A small program to test all that

Here is a small program
written with Visual Basic 6.
The setup file copy  the
program, the Visual Basic
dependencies, the source
files and the font.

Setup file :
ZIP file without setup :
The PDF417$ function have about 500 lines, I thus don't reproduce it here, you can retrieve it in the "form1.frm" file which is with the above program ; with setup program, the "form1.frm" file is in the program directory, "sources" sub-directory.
The function call is like this : result$ = pdf417$(String$, Security%, ColNb%, ErrCode%)
with the string to encode in String$, correction level in Security% (-1 = auto.), ColNb% for the number of data columns in a row (<1 = auto.) and ErrCode% for retrieving an eventual error code. these 3 last parameters are not required and are passed by references ; after the function return they contains the really used values. Values of ErrCode% after the function return : It is enough now to display or to print the chains result$ with the pdf417 font for example in a text processing. The Word users will be able to even integrate the pdf417$ function in a macro to automate the treatment. To achieve all the treatments in a single function, I had to use "Gosub" instead of functions with parameters ; I can already hear the programming esthetes screaming sacrilegious !

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