ABBYY Mobile Capture – Xamarin Plugin

Discover how you can create an iOS and/or Android OCR capturing app by using the ABBYY Mobile Capture Xamarin Plugin and Visual Studio.

Hello. Today I’d like to show you how we get started with our ABBYY Mobile Capture Xamarin Plugin. This plugin gives us the ability to use Visual Studio, to write an Android and or an iOS app that uses ABBYY’s Mobile Capture technology to ensure that we get a good quality image and perhaps even an image that we can extract some data from. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to extract the sample project. If you don’t have a sample project, feel free to reach out. We can provide that to you. But what I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and extract it. Now, when I extract it, just because of some experience that I’ve had with this, I am going to shorten the name a little bit. And the reason why is because by the time we start adding some devices for simulators and such the file links can get pretty outside a standard Windows acceptable path. So what I’m going to do is just simply have this information and these files extracted to a specific folder.

Now that we have those extracted, you’ll see here, we have all of our project files here. I’m going to specifically look at the core API today. Within here, we have a sample project and that’s what we’re going to work on setting up today. Once we have our solution open, the one thing that we need to do right up front is make sure that we have a valid license. So what I’ll do is I’ll navigate to the assets folder and you can see here, our Mobile Capture License is not acceptable. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead and make sure we supply that. Now, if you have a trial, you should have a trial license. If you already own the product, you should also have a license. I’m going to navigate to this folder.

And then once I’m at the folder here, I will have a Mobile Capture License we can use. Once we have the license located, we can just simply drag and drop that license over here. Now what we’ll do is we’ll go ahead and refresh our project just to make sure we have a valid license. You can see there. We now have a valid license.

Now that we have the license loaded, the first thing we need to do is set up a device that we will use for simulation. It could either be a simulated product like using a simulator within Visual Studio, or we can actually deploy in cases of iOS, we can deploy to a Mac computer as well. For today’s demo, we’re going to use an emulator or simulator. And one thing that we need to do is just make sure we set up a device here.

When we get our device manager set up here. What I’m going to do for today’s demo is we’re going to go ahead and add a new device. And I’m simply going to go ahead and pick “Pixel 3”. The important part is to match this OS. Now I happen to know the sample is already a Q 10.0 Sample. So just make sure that the sample that we’re working with matches this, and I’ll show you how to verify that here in one second. So as that’s being created, we just want to make sure that the Android version that’s targeted in our project matches the device that we built. Which it does. This is Q 10.0 And this is Q 10.0 as well.

And while we have our project properties open, let’s go ahead and look at the Android options. The only thing I’d note here is that we do want to look at the advanced options, and we just want to confirm that the supported architectures shown here are supported just depending on your device and your current environment for debugging. I’ve just found it easier that we just go ahead and at least initially for project development, we enable all the supported architectures.

Now that should put us in a position where we can go ahead and launch this project. What you’ll see here is I’ll go ahead and launch it. What will happen is an Android device. Simulator will come up on our screen. It will boot up and then our sample project will be ready for use. Once our emulator is ready, we will have the sample project automatically launched for us. We of course want to allow device access, at least in this instance. And we’re just for fun today, going to go ahead and find us an image. Now, this simulator is brand new. It is not anything that we don’t have images loaded on this phone. We have nothing on the phone. So what we’re going to go ahead and do is we’re going to go ahead and browse to a website and just take a screenshot real quick.

So now that we have a screenshot taken, now we have something in our gallery that we can select. All we need to do is click our little gallery button here. We now have a screenshot that we can use in the app. And you’ll see that’s what the software uses to perform OCR. Now, this is a very basic sample where we’re looking to extract information or text on the document. We can obviously control imaging with this document. Imaging ensures that we get a good quality document that is available and acceptable for OCR use.

Just for fun, I’m going to go ahead and select that sample again. And you’ll see here, we have just a few basic imaging options: rotating, cropping. But the interesting part here is that we can also examine the document for OCR quality. So the software will be able to tell us what characters on the document it was able to read, and we can make some intelligent decisions with some of that detail. So this is our sample Xamarin project, a very, very powerful onboarding tool for capturing documents. Making sure we get high quality images that allow us to perform some sort of downstream OCR step. Thanks so much for listening to this video.

Music- “‘Engineered to Perfection’ performed by Peter Nickalls, used under license from Shutterstock”.


Travis Spangler

Travis writes articles dealing with various technical aspects of document capture and forms processing. He is fluent in Microsoft.NET and holds several certifications including ABBYY FlexiCapture and IRISXTract. As general manager and sales director, he controls the daily operations as well as manages customer accounts to ensure both customers and prospects are receiving the very best from UFC, Inc. Travis has many years of experience with document capture software and content management systems. He also has wide areas of expertise including custom functions in ABBYY FlexiCapture, email API's, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, and many other applications and platforms. He has integrated Amazon Web Services EC2 instances with several applications including the company's CRM system.

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