Bar Code Data Ltd: Blog

a leading provider of barcode solutions
Steve Mattocks    October 23, 2018 21:07

Brexit and Bar Code Data

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At the time of writing this document the U.K. Government hasn’t secured any type of deal with the European Union, and therefore the possible ramifications of any deal are unclear.

We are working to the agreed timetable i.e. on 29th March 2019 the U.K. will withdraw from the European Union, but that nothing tangible will change until the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020.

We have spoken to all our material Suppliers, asking for written statements on their preparations for Brexit.

In summary, they are in the process of considering their supply chains, assessing the possible impact of the imposition of tariffs and delays at customs borders.

They are all warning of the effect of increased volatility in the exchange rates.

We will continue to monitor our Suppliers throughout this period, and make decisions on supply based on their ability to provide regular deliveries and a stable price point.

In the short term, we will work with our Customers to minimise the risk of shortages of labels and ribbons.

David Sekula    May 23, 2017 18:55

.Net Core / Standard 2.0 Preview 1 Released

Download and get started with .NET Core 2.0 Preview 1 right now, on Windows, Linux and macOS:

You can see complete details of the release in the .NET Core 2.0 Preview 1 release notes. Known issues and workarounds are included in the releases notes. Please check them out, particularly if you are using Visual Studio for Mac or VS Code.

Enabling you to use more of your code

Developers want more APIs and to make it easier to use existing .NET Framework code. There has also been ample requests to use more .NET languages.

The following improvements are included in .NET Core 2.0 Preview 1:

  • Massive API increase (>100%) relative to .NET Core 1.x.
  • Support for .NET Standard 2.0.
  • Support for referencing .NET Framework libraries and NuGet packages.
  • Support for Visual Basic.

Enabling you to use your code on more Linux platforms

.NET Core 2.0 treats Linux as a single operating system, much like it does with Windows and macOS. Tested on many Linux distributions, the new .NET Core 2.0 Linux builds simply just work.The following improvements are included in .NET Core 2.0 Preview 1:

  • You can use the Linux .NET Core SDK and Runtime builds for most Linux distros.
  • You can build apps that target Linux as a single operating system.

Making it easier to use .NET Core

The following improvements are included in .NET Core 2.0 Preview 1:

  • API docs for .NET Core 2.0 and .NET Standard 2.0.
  • OpenSSL is no longer used on macOS – .NET Core uses the Apple crypto libraries.
  • Live Unit Testing support for .NET Core.

.NET Standard 2.0

.NET Standard allows sharing code, binaries and skills across all flavors of .NET, including .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin, Unity, and UWP.

Api Improvements

Here is what’s new with .NET Standard 2.0:

  • Has a much bigger API surface. It’s extended to cover the intersection between
    .NET Framework and Xamarin. This also makes .NET Core 2.0 much bigger as it
    implements .NET Standard 2.0. The total number of APIs added to .NET Standard
    is ~20,000.
  • Can reference existing .NET Framework libraries. The best thing is:
    no recompile required, so this includes existing NuGet packages. Of course,
    this will only work if the consumed libraries use APIs that exist in .NET
    Standard. However, our extensive API surface results in 70% of all NuGet
    packages to be API compatible with .NET Standard 2.0.

Visual Studio 2017 Improvements

The following improvements have been made in Visual Studio 2017 Preview 15.3. Some of these experiences also apply to Visual Studio for Mac.

Visual Studio 2017 continues to use .NET Core 1.x by default. You need to install the .NET Core SDK 2.0 Preview 1 to get .NET Core 2.0 support.

Using the .NET Core 2.0 SDK

Visual Studio uses the .NET Core SDK when it is installed. It supports all of the following actions:

  • Open, build and run your existing .NET Core 1.x projects.
  • Re-target your .NET Core 1.x projects to 2.0 and then build and run on .NET Core 2.0.
  • Create new .NET Core 2.0 projects

You can re-target your existing .NET Core 1.x projects to 2.0 using the following instructions:

  • Navigate to the Project > Properties > Target framework selection menu
  • Set the value to .NET Core 2.0

Project Target

You can also change the target framework manually using the following instructions:

  • Invoke ‘Edit .csproj’ gesture in IDE to open .csproj file
  • Hand edit element from ‘1.x’ to ‘2.0’


Creating ASP.NET Core 2.0 Projects

You can create new ASP.NET Core 2.0 projects in much the same way as you did with .NET Core 1.x. Simply select ASP.NET Core 2.0 in the dialog, as you can seen in the following screenshot.

Target Runtime

Visual Basic is now Supported

Visual Basic is now a supported programming language choice to create .NET Core projects. Using Visual Basic you can create .NET Core console applications, and .NET Core and .NET Standard class libraries.

Live Unit Testing support for .NET Core

Live Unit Testing is a brand-new feature we introduced in Visual Studio 2017. However, at the time of release it did not support .NET Core, ASP.NET Core and .NET Standard projects. Not anymore! With this release, you can reap the benefits of Live Unit Testing in .NET Core as well – get unit test coverage and pass/fail feedback, live in the code editor as you type code.

Live tests

Better support for targeting multiple Target Frameworks

When you are building your project for multiple target frameworks, now you can use the TFM picker in Debug/Run to pick the TFM to run.

Easier Debugging

Visual Studio support for side-by-side .NET Core SDKs

When Visual Studio 2017 released, the IDE and .NET Core SDK were very tightly coupled – meaning you had to install an updated version of Visual Studio whenever we came up with an updated version of .NET Core SDK. You just couldn’t install a newer version of the SDK and have the corresponding tooling light up in Visual Studio.

The .NET Core SDK is now fully separate (i.e. the tasks and targets which Sdk=”Microsoft.NET.Sdk” resolves to) from Visual Studio. The .NET Core SDK is now the delivery mechanism to bring in the tasks and targets that light up corresponding tooling paths in Visual Studio for .NET Core. You can now used new .NET Core versions with Visual Studio without getting Visual Studio updates first.

Please check out the following resources to learn more:

Steve Mattocks    March 31, 2017 18:49


Duplex Printers

We live in a world where goods move faster than ever and consumers expect products to reach them in a matter of hours after placing an order.

Interestingly, here in the UK, we are the biggest online spenders in the world. We use the Internet for 15.6% of our total retail purchasing, followed by China (13.8%), Norway (11.5%), Finland (10.8%%) and South Korea (10.5%).
(Source: Invespcro)

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as at February 2017, online sales in the UK have increased year-on-year by 20.7% and by 3.3% on the month. In February 2017 the average weekly spending online was £1.0 billion - an increase of 20.7% compared with February 2016.
(Source: ONS)

With millions of products being despatched each week, online retailers have to guarantee prompt and accurate delivery of their goods if they are to build an excellent reputation and consolidate their customer base.

That’s why including the correct documentation with each order is vital – and speed is of the essence. Innovations like Toshiba’s Duplex Thermal Printer have emerged as the ideal option for busy logistics environments where operations managers need to speed up the packaging and despatch processes, while also saving money on ink and paper.

Toshiba’s dual-headed printers can produce documentation in a matter of seconds and significantly reduce the time taken for the despatch process compared with laser printers. They also provide a significant improvement in reliability and reduce the potential for ‘down time’ as well as helping to cut your carbon footprint and lower the total cost of printer ownership.

Instead of printing each despatch note and label individually, they print on both sides of a duplex thermal label simultaneously. Tying the documentation together and eliminating errors.
A shipping label on the front with the reverse side used for contents of the package, returns information and labels can also be included. This makes the documentation tamperproof, increasing customer confidence and reducing claims for lost, tampered and mislabelled packages.
At only 22 cm high, with a 20 cm x 24 cm footprint, Toshiba’s duplex printer not only improves efficiency, but also saves precious warehouse and workbench space.
And – there are no inks or toners to worry about, so you’ll never have the headache of disposing of empty toner cartridges.
“All this sounds great,” you may be thinking, “but will these printers talk to my in-house systems?” Yes, they will! The printer’s on board GDI (graphic data interface) has a Windows driver for seamless integration with warehouse management systems, without the need for middleware.
Intelligent, robust, reliable and with a small footprint – a new Toshiba Duplex Thermal Printer could quickly become your favourite employee!

Toshiba DB EA4D Duplex Printer 

Usefull Links



Steve Mattocks    March 1, 2017 18:52


Toshiba Original Ribbons

We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ and most of us at one time or another will have experienced that sinking feeling when something we thought was a bargain turned out to be far from it.

When it comes to purchasing thermal transfer printer ribbons this saying should be kept firmly in mind, as compatible ribbons can be nothing more than a false economy. One of the most common reasons why people fall into the trap of buying compatible ribbons is the initial cost. Yet, compared to the genuine article, they tend to be between just 10-20 per cent cheaper, a figure that pales into insignificance when additional advantages such as performance, consistency, quality and value are factored in.

As an example, let’s look at the issues surrounding barcode printing. In 2014 The GS1 Label Quality Report discovered that almost 30 per cent of all pallets it reviewed had some form of labelling problem such as poor print quality. Unreadable barcodes will usually require re-labelling, re-scanning, or even manual entry of critical information by a human operator. There might also be costs and fines imposed for sending back and re-palletising and, in the case of food, the entire shipment could have to be thrown away. Accurate printing is therefore crucial for effective value chain management and high-quality ribbons are fundamental in making this happen.

So what’s the difference between manufacturer approved and compatible ribbons? The answer is much more than you might imagine. The former are made with a high-quality back coating, which prevents a build up of static charge. In a thermal transfer printer, static can create an electrical spike, which could easily blow the pins on the print head, necessitating a replacement. Print heads can be expensive to replace and warranties can be invalidated through the use of compatible products.

It might also surprise you to know that ribbons deteriorate with age and have a limited shelf life – typically 12 months from the date of manufacture. Compatible products are generally taken from ‘jumbo’ rolls that may have been transported all around the world and exchange hands many times over a period of many months before finally being converted into ribbons to fit a particular printer. Conversely, manufacturer approved ribbons are largely made to order from fresh a jumbo roll. The finished product received by the customer is never more than between 1 or 2 months old.

Toshiba approved ribbons are constantly being tested to ensure the quality and consistency. These tests are carried out on a variety of receiving materials and at every speed and temperature combination. Only once the tests are completed, and deemed successful, will the ribbon receive a certificate of approval and customers can also rest assured that it has been manufactured in facilities that operate to the highest environmental standards such as ISO 50001 and other European Union (EU) regulation.

Using the right ribbon for the application is vital and yet there is often a lack of knowledge about this issue. It’s why technical support is vital and we have experts who can always recommend the right solution for any application, whether it is standard label printing, textile/wash care or a speciality application requiring, BS 5609, UL or direct food certification.

Toshiba approved ribbons will cover them all.

Don’t be fooled by lower cost ribbons. Although they might look like a good deal initially, when it comes to performance, consistency, total cost of ownership and the ability to protect an investment, they can prove to be sadly lacking. On the other hand, if you buy manufacturer approved ribbons, you can feel confident that they have been designed and manufactured to meet the highest standards using the best quality materials. Ultimately, they will enhance the overall print quality and give the best possible results.

Original Supplies 

LL Direct Thermal

LT Direct Thermal

WS1 Resin

WG3 Wax-Resin