Barcodes with iOS - PDF

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Barcodes with iOS by Oliver Drobnik

When Apple released the first beta of iOS 7 at WWDC 2013, I scoured through the API changes looking for anything out of the ordinary. That’s when I noticed the unexpected addition of new APIs pertaining to barcodes.


At that time, barcodes were little more than visual noise to me, a necessity of modern commerce but of no value to me as a consumer or app developer. Why would Apple devote precious resources to implementing functionality for that?


Several third-party libraries for barcode scanning were available at that time. Some were commercial offerings too expensive for casual use. Others were open source projects requiring a great deal of work to understand or implement in your own apps. By adding support for barcodes within the iOS SDK, Apple made the technology accessible to all developers equally. Apple was sending a message: barcodes are important to us.


This paradigm shift inspired me to learn all I could about barcode technologies. I began to research the barcode types supported by iOS and their capabilities and limitations, and all the new related iOS APIs.


A mere month after WWDC 2013, I was contacted by Manning. They’d found me via my blog (cocoanetics (dot) com) and inquired if I would be interested in writing an iOS book for them. They could not have contacted me at a more perfect moment! I was willing, able, and inspired to write, for more than a year, the book you’re now holding. June 2014 marked the 40-year anniversary of the first barcode being scanned at a point of sale. In other words, barcodes are a nearly ubiquitous, mature technology. The UPC you’ll find on all products sold in your supermarket was just the beginning. Just look at any Apple product box. You’ll find several barcodes on the stickers offering additional information such as the device’s serial number.


Since October 2013, all iPhones can be used to scan barcodes. Together with always-on mobile internet and built-in device sensors, this enables a new breed of product-centric apps that weren’t feasible before.


After reading this book, you’ll be able to build the exciting new apps that are bringing together the digital and physical worlds.


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