More Barcodes

I’ve been working more with my barcode application and am finally close to a working solution.

Adding start and stop characters is more or less dependent on which charset you want to use, unless you’re going to use special characters or some other special functionality, you’ll be using Code128 B – which supports most normal alphanumeric characters and punctuation characters in the ASCII table. The rest is just basic String concatenation, which you can do in LibreOffice Calc or through programming.

The first stretch was developing the checksum method in Java, which was pretty easy thanks to the information provided by wikipedia here.

What I did was simply to make an array with the characters listed for Code 128 B, disregarding special characters since I won’t be using them anyway. The array looks a little something like this…

private String code128B_table[] = {
" ","!","\"","#","$"," %","&","'","(",")","*","+",",","-",".","/",
private String code128_table[] = code128B_table;

With the Array in place, all I needed to do to calculate the checksum was write this method:

* Calculates the checksum
* @param input String input for calculating checksum
* @return the checksum in integer form
public int checksumInt(String input) {
int checksum = STARTCODE;
for(int i = 0; i < input.length(); i++) {
int value = charNumber(input.charAt(i));
if(value < 0)
return value;
int position = i+1;
checksum += (value * position);
return checksum % 103;

* Helper function for checksumInt
* Finds the number of the particular character using the Code128B table
* @param c
* @return
public int charNumber(char c) {
for(int i = 0; i < code128_table.length; i++) {
if(code128_table[i].charAt(0) == c)
return i;
System.out.println("Could not find " + c);
return -1;

But wait, there’s more. The checksum itself isn’t enough, it needs to be in the form of a character, but since we already have the table for Code128B in array form, we just convert the integer to character for printing.

* Converts calculated checksum into character
* @param i calculated checksum
* @return character for printing checksum
public char checksumChar(int i) {
if(i < 95)
return (char) (i + 32);
return (char) (i+ 100);

Since the computers come with Norwegian keyboards and the barcode scanner will read barcodes as if receiving keyboard input, I had to do a few cheap hacks to remap the characters according to Norwegian keyboards, this isn’t a problem with alphanumeric data, but characters like { [ ] and } will read on a computer set with  a Norwegian keyboard layout as receiving the letters Æ Ø and Å or some other character because of this, I made a function with way too many if/else tests rather than using a HashMap or other key-value pair since it just seemed simpler to write at the time.

The class file is available on github here.