[whatwg] input type=barcode?

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Thu Aug 4 12:04:54 PDT 2011

Henri Sivonen wrote:

> I don't know how niche thing it is to actually own a dedicated USB
> barcode reader, but where I live, using at least one Web app that
> supports bar code reading (by having a text input requiring the bar
> code reader can emulate a keyboard) is as mainstream as Web app usage
> gets (banking).

Agreed, but barcodes are a technical aspect of input rather than data type 
comparable to type=email, type=url etc. As you say, when barcode input is an 
option, it's also an option to use normal keyboard input (though a browser 
could well use e.g. restricted on-screen keyboard if it knows what to 
expect). Moreover, the word "barcode" has multiple meanings.

So I think that if the input of data commonly available as simple linear 
barcodes deserves a type of its own in HTML, it should be analyzed which 
logical data type would be involved.

For example, the GTIN product codes (still often called EAN codes especially 
when in barcode format, or TUN or DUN codes) are in wide and increasing use 
and might be considered for inclusion. A browser could implement an input 
type for them using a barcode reader when available, otherwise using some 
method for input of digits together with checksum checking. This would be 
useful, though I don't know whether it's worth the specification and 
implementation effort (and things like this won't be really useful except 
after several years when all significant browsers have real support).


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