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Decoding a Base64 barcode in Java?

Posted on 2004-03-23
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Our vendor is supposedly going to send us the contents of a barcode in Base64.  We had before agreed upon Hexadecimal, but alas, things have changed.  These are 2-D barcodes to be precise, PDF417 and Data Matrix.  I am unfortunately unsure of exactly how Base64 works and how I coud go about determining the conversion of Base64 to Hexadecimal so that I can use our existing hexadecimal conversion code to parse the fields out of the barcode and store the human-readable fields in our database.

Has anyone used a Base 64 conversion utility or have links to sites where I can read about it and perhaps see some coding  examples?  I am not even sure if I can take the whole Base 64 string or perhaps a specific quadrant and convert it to Hex or Binary or whatever and then read from there, so i am at the beginning of my research somewhat. Please Help!
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Question by:atlvandyguy
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BigRat earned 500 total points
ID: 10658430
In Base64 the characters A-Z,a-z,0-9,+,/ represent 6 bit values (0-63) (A=0,/=63). The input string (8-bit values) is taken 6-bits at a time and converted to one of the above characters. If the output string of characters is not a multiple of 6, equal signs (=) are used to pad out. Normally used for e-mail messages, the strings are often then sliced into max 78 characters and separated by CR/LFs to make "lines". These "lines" are then quite often prefixed by tabs or spaces to make the "text" look nice.

On converting back, tabs,spaces and CR/LF characters should be ignored. Each character is checked to be A-Z,a-z,0-9,+ or / (or =) and converted into a six-bit value. These values are "appended" to make the original string.


FUNCTION fromBase64(VAR Data   : data_rep_type;
                    VAR Result : data_rep_type) : Boolean;
LABEL 1,2,3,4;
VAR
   ch    : Char;
   i,c   : Integer;
   l     : 0..maxint;
   t     : Boolean;
   Tmp   : Byte;
   val   : Byte;
   which : 0..3;
  BEGIN
   fromBase64:=false;
   l:=StringLength(Data);
   NewString(Result,(l*3) DIV 4);
   i:=1; which:=0; c:=0; t:=false;
   WHILE i<=l DO
      BEGIN
      ch:=IndexString(Data,i);
      IF ch IN [%0D%,%0A%,%09%,' '] THEN GOTO 2;
      IF ch='=' THEN
         BEGIN
         c:=c+1;
         IF c>2 THEN
            BEGIN
            error('too many = at end of base64 string');
            GOTO 1;
            END;
         Val:=0;
         t:=true;
         GOTO 4;
         END;
      IF t THEN
         BEGIN
         error('illegal character at end of base64 string');
         GOTO 1;
         END;
      IF ch IN ['A'..'Z'] THEN
         val:=Ord(ch)-Ord('A')
      ELSE IF ch IN ['a'..'z'] THEN
         val:=Ord(ch)-Ord('a')+26
      ELSE IF ch IN ['0'..'9'] THEN
         val:=Ord(ch)-Ord('0')+52
      ELSE IF ch='+' THEN
         val:=62
      ELSE IF ch='/' THEN
         val:=63
      ELSE
         BEGIN
         error('illegal character in base64 string');
         GOTO 1;
         END;
4:    CASE which OF
      0 : (* output empty, move in all 6 bits *)
         Tmp:=Val*4;
      1 : (* Output has 6 bits, needs two more bits *)
         BEGIN
         CharAppend(Result,Chr(Tmp+(Val DIV 16)));
         Tmp:=(Val MOD 16)*16;
         END;
      2 : (* output has 4 bits, needs 4 more *)
         BEGIN
         CharAppend(Result,Chr(Tmp+(Val DIV 4)));
         Tmp:=(Val MOD 4)*64;
         END;
      3 : (* Output has 2 bits, needs 6 more *)
         CharAppend(Result,Chr(Tmp+Val));
      END;
      (* step on case *)
      which:=(which+1) MOD 4;
2:    i:=i+1;
      END;
3: IF which<>0 THEN
      BEGIN
      error('illegal termination of base64 string');
      GOTO 1;
      END;
   (* then remove any padded bytes  *)
   IF c>0 THEN
      BEGIN
      l:=StringLength(Result)-c;
      SliceString(Result,1,l);
      END;
   fromBase64:=true;
1:END;

The above is an old Pascal routine. The type data_rep_type is a variant type which supports infinitely long strings. In fact the length is determined by the input length *8 DIV 6.

In base64 each character (except CR and LF and white space) represents six bits of the output string. Since not every input string can be converted to an exact number of output characters (eg: two bytes makes 16 bits = 2*6 bits + 4 bits left) equal signs (=) are used to fill to the end. My routine checks all these cases, and errors appropiately.
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