Pezholio

Barcode Posters - the Second Coming

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With all this talk of data, and online, we can often lose sight of the real, physical world (as a certified iPhone addict, I know I do - there’s been a few times I’ve almost walked into a lampost due to me paying more attention to my phone than what’s going on in front of me!) - digital is all very well, but how do we link this in with real life?

Adrian Short (he of Mash the State fame) recently blogged about his barcode posters site, which allows you to change RSS feeds into printable documents with QR barcodes (those thingies above) attached to each article - people with smartphones that can read barcodes (iPhone, Android etc) can then scan the code and link directly to the article. It’s almost like hyperlinks for real life.

I’ve had this idea on the back burner for a while now, but after tweeting about seeing the first new style Ratemyplace (a website I run which publishes food safety scores online) poster ‘in the wild’ - I got this reply:

[tweet url=http://twitter.com/tonypiper/status/5561369295]

This made me think - it’s a perfect fit for barcode posters - people can see the inspection certificate and scan the barcode to find more information. You can see an example of what I dun here

Now, I know what you’re thinking - ‘but generating images server side is hard! It’ll take me ages fiddling around with various libraries and I’ll be pulling my hair out with frustration!’ - Not so - Thanks to the wonderful people at Google, all you need to do to generate a barcode for a given URL is this:

http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chs=125cht;=qrchl;={url-goes-here}

You can then stick it in the src attribute of an IMG tag and display it on a page like so:

(Make sure you encode the URL of the website either on the server or using this handy online url encoder.)

Simple innit? There’s more explanation of the whys and wherefores of QR barcodes on the Barcode posters website. Now get out there and barcode!

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