What is a QR Code ?
A Quick Response code, or QR code for short, is a a two dimensional bar code that is readable by QR code scanners and various mobile devices. The QR code was originally created to store such things as serial numbers, part numbers, and other manufacturing type information.
There is now a trend to store more web friendly information in these codes such as URLs, vCard contact information, or anything web marketers can dream up these days.
You’ll notice them all over the place if you look closely. They can be found on business cards, for sale signs on real estate, newsletters, and print ads. All ready for that smart phone user to take a quick scan with their Android or iPhone, and be automatically taken the right place or have the right number to call.
QR Codes and Kentico CMS
QR codes have always intrigued me. And I have used them in past projects before. Normally the point was to use them in a scanning application that allowed a manufacturing client of mine the ability to easily create a packing slip without typing in part number after part number.
From that experience and the web marketing trends I mentioned above, I have come to the conclusion that this could be really useful for web site owners and editors. They will be able to generate these codes for any URL in the Kentico CMS tree, and throw them on newsletters, advertisements and fliers. All from within the CMS itself.
So I have created a custom module in Kentico CMS that adds a tool page to the CMSDesk called QR Code Generator.
The module allows you to select a document from the content tree, customize the size of the image that gets generated, and preview the final URL that will be stored in the QR code itself.
All in all it is a pretty simple module. I can’t take total credit for this all though. I used the fantastic MessagingToolkit open source library to accomplish the generation of the QR code images. And thanks to how easy the Kentico CMS API is to use, the whole module came together pretty quick.
In the future I would love to add a few more features, like click tracking to see which codes get scanned the most, and a report type view to see which documents have been assigned QR codes and which haven’t. But that will have to wait for another day.