QRCode Habari Plugin

A while back, I made a post talking about my favorite plugins. In it I mentioned that the pages look a bit different when printed out, at least from a desktop, laptop, or iPad, and that it was mainly a feature of the theme, though a plugin does help to make sure there are no relative links in prints out, by replacing certain text with the proper address. However things have changed a bit more thanks to another plugin I made. Today, I will be talking about the plugin, which is called QRCode.

Things in our world are changing fast it seems. However, the one thing that will remain the same is that people may not want to type in an entire web address on their smart phone's browser, especially if they want to comment on something they printed out, or maybe share the link via their phone. Either way, the only easy method is to have a browser open it.

Because of that fact, as well as a suggestion from Dudley Storey's article, under the Coding category of Smashing Magazine, for making print stylesheets, I decided to make a plugin that places a QR code at the bottom of posts that will redirect users to the web version of the post they printed, when they scan the code.

before_print.jpg

To give off a demonstration, I will be using my review of episode 5 of A Certain Scientific Railgun S. Let us say that I like to read things in print, or maybe I would like to read and share the post without an Internet connection. When I go to print it off, it looks like the image above. Looks pretty good for a printed page, at least in my eyes, but let us say that I want to comment on the post and I forgot to bookmark it somewhere, such as a social bookmarking site, like Reddit. I would have to type in the address found at the bottom just to get back. If it was a person I shared the printed post with, which means it would be less likely that it was bookmarked somewhere by that person, they would also be in the same situation, if they wanted to make a comment. I know, each of those sounds lazy, but we are getting lazier as technology progresses. Without a Quick Response mechanism, users have to manually type in an address, just to be able to comment on something.

after_print.jpg

However, with this plugin, the print out now looks like the above image. The print out still looks good, but now we have a QR code with instructions on how to use it and what to expect after scanning it. This means that if I am reading off of a print out and feel like commenting on it from my phone, all I have to do is scan the QR code and I will get something that looks like the image below.

mobile_view.jpg

Now, I can comment on the post, or do whatever else with it that I want, which is kind of cool.

How is this different from any other plugin that implements QR codes? Through my research, the one thing that I noticed was that many things that existed before were either for popular platforms like WordPress, the library was licensed under GPL or its variants, the latter I am not too sure if changing just the class name counts as a modification that requires me to use that same license, or it does not work with what the blog's server has for image manipulation, as is the case with Swetake's code. Another issue I found, which was the same problem with this plugin's initial release, is that Google's Chart API, which has been deprecated since April 2012, according to an article by Sharon Machlis from ComputerWorld, is used. My plugin, however, uses some JavaScript code written by Jerome Etienne, which is licensed under the MIT License and does not depend on remote servers. This meant I could use whatever license I wanted and not have to worry about what kind of modifications I can do. As I have not used any other plugins or other code though, I cannot really say that much else is different, which I have not already mentioned.

What are some of the negatives about this plugin? While the plugin does seem nice, there are only two issues that come off the top of my head. This plugin requires visitors to have JavaScript enabled, which may be an annoyance to some people. While I would have liked a PHP solution, there really was not one that was viable, as BSD, MIT, or Apache code was not available or, if it was, it did not work with what I had. Another thing that may annoy people is that the instruction for using the QR code are only in English, though that can be fixed quite easily, but depends on the blog's settings. While the plugin seems nice, the fact that it requires JavaScript to be enabled may not be very appealing to end-users.

What are your thoughts about the QRCode Habari plugin? Do you think this is a neat or useful plugin? Feel free to comment.

Use an app on your phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken to the web version of this article.

Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.