History of LEAD’s Cloud Services: Developer Q&A

Following the release of our exciting new Web APIs for LEADTOOLS Cloud Services, I thought we’d take a moment and dive into how these services came about. For this post, I went straight to the lead developer of LEADTOOLS Cloud Services (referred to as LCS below), Hadi Chami, for a quick Q&A.

Q: What are the LEADTOOLS Cloud Services?

A: The LEADTOOLS Cloud Services are Web API endpoints for leveraging the award winning LEADTOOLS SDK. They are a way for customers to access the high-powered functionality provided by the SDK without the hassle of setting up their own servers. We currently offer Document Conversion, Document Merging, Redaction, Barcode, OCR, MICR, AAMVAID, and Business Card Extraction services. More services are constantly being worked on and added.

Q: How did this idea come about?

Since the very beginning, LEAD has had strong ties and partnerships with Microsoft. Going back to the earliest versions of LEADTOOLS, we primarily focused on the desktop traditional client server developer. With the release of LEADTOOLS V18 in 2013, we added mobile and cross-platform developers to our focus. Now, with the addition of LCS, we’ve expanded our reach once again. Throughout the years and our broadened developer reach, we’ve aligned our products with Microsoft’s strategy and direction because a lot of our core customers do the same.

So, when Microsoft began pushing applications and their developers to use their Azure services, we began looking for ways to leverage our partnership with Microsoft and align our strategy toward Azure in a way that would both expand our SDK and solve our customer’s needs.

That’s when I started digging into the various Azure offerings from Microsoft. When I came across their Cloud Services and read more about it, I quickly realized that if I could package our SDK as a Web API using Azure, this would then open up a brand new way for developers to interface with the SDK, both expanding our reach to developers using virtually any programming language (such as PHP, Python, and Perl which we didn’t have support for before) as well as align ourselves with Microsoft’s movements toward Azure.

Q: Why choose Azure over other service providers?

A: Not only because of our strong relationship with Microsoft, I also did a plethora of investigating during the research and development process on the various other service providers. A lot was taken into consideration when choosing a service provider such as cost, ease-of-use, and availability. In the end, the Cloud Services offered by Azure fit my technical model for the API perfectly and made it much easier to develop for and use. Azure is one of the best service providers in terms of cost and availability as well.

Q: What are the benefits to using a Cloud Service rather than a native library for development?

A: The main benefits for using a Cloud Service or Web API versus native libraries really depend on the use-case, but in general the low up-front cost, language agnostic development (some languages do not have native libraries), and having no server maintenance are key.

Q: What are some current users of LCS doing?

We have a lot of different users using the varying services in all kinds of applications. For instance, one application is a mobile drivers license scanner where they take a picture of the back of the drivers license with the barcode and submit it to the AAMVA service to parse the information found. Another application is a backend Java service that runs in a Linux server where they are extracting all of the text found in all of the pages of the PDF using the ExtractText service and categorizing anything that has ‘text decorations’ such as strikethroughs and underlines.


If you would like to see more features besides the ones currently available, leave a comment below or shoot us a message.

Interested in trying out LEADTOOLS Cloud Services? We give you 50 free pages to get started!

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