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Barcodes and iOS 7

For the past four months I have been working almost exclusively on my Book Barcodes and iOS 7, which is why there have been only very few tutorial blog posts on Cocoanetics.com. Now the first fruits of my labor of love are yours for the picking.

My publisher Manning has started the MEAP pre-order program for the book. This MEAP program gives you – of course – the final book when it is finished, but you can also read the chapters in their raw unedited state as I finish them.

Even better, you can read the first chapter for FREE, no purchase necessary. This chapter gives you a solid overview over the barcode types that iOS 7 can scan, explains their differences and shows where they are used.

My goal with this book is that you – as an iOS developer – should be getting not only your money’s worth, but much much more. Essentially I am paying you to read my book.

iOS 7 does not support generation of 1D barcodes. Still I wanted to have a modern and powerful way to have this functionality present in this book which is all about all types barcodes. So you are getting the most current version of BarCodeKit completely for free. As long as you own a copy of the book in any form you can use BarCodeKit to create 1D barcodes in all your apps. Of course there is info on how to use Core Image but not just the publicly available info. I got the best way to scale QR codes straight from Apple DTS.

In chapter 5 – which is already complete – I am teaching you how to print individual Code 93 stickers like you would with a serial number for hardware inventory tracking in an enterprise, using Air Print and roll-fed printers.

So far you get the first three chapters on the MEAP. 4 and 5 are done and will come online as well soon once my development editor and I did a few edits.

All chapters after the first one contain sample apps and a detailed tutorial how they are put together. Make no mistake: those are not the kinds of tutorials you would find anywhere on the web. Instead they are all original and practical.

For example chapter 4 shows how to produce and validate Passbook tickets without a server. There’s even a Ruby detour in this part for compiling and signing Passbook passes.

Chapters 2 and 3 originally were one chapter but I had to divide it in two and the book is much better for it. Now chapter 2 gives you a solid introduction to AV Foundation media capture, unlike you have ever seen it before. This introduction alone would be worth the purchase price of the book. I teach you how to build a simple camera app and work the various camera settings.

Chapter 3 builds on the groundwork laid in chapter 2 and adds native barcode scanning. Again you are getting way more than you can get on the web. Through my extensive research into it I am able to give you performance tips and tricks and even expert advice how to optimise the UI for the kinds of barcodes you are supporting in your app. There are big differences!

Barcodes serve as the common theme for all chapters, the final two chapters – which I have to write yet – will look at how to best communicate with a web API using OAuth for user authentication. You’ll also learn how to correctly use NSURLSession for having iOS perform background updates without your app even running.

In the final chapter I chose the theme Context. There are four layers of context when a user scans a barcode:

  1. if the barcode is a serial number then the context is a specific product instance
  2. if the barcode is a product number then the context is a product model
  3. Core Location tells you if the barcode is scanned in the vicinity of a brick&mortar store.
  4. iBeacon technology can tell you in which location inside the store the user scanned the barcode

Few developers had a reason to dive really deep into these topics and so I felt they make a great addition to the book as well.

Barcode technology is 40 years of age this June. That is to say that it is incredible well understood and established. And nothing beats FREE. Everybody can print barcodes at literally no cost. And when Apple added broad support for it in iOS 7 this became a sweet spot: all iPhone users now have a great mobile barcode scanner in their pocket. One with always-on Internet, and with sensors to give contextual information about the user’s situation.

I believe that this nexus will enable a new breed of exciting apps that center around physical things. You could be the maker of some of these apps!

Once you know what this book teaches you about barcodes and related technologies in iOS 7 then you will suddenly see opportunity – and get app ideas – everywhere, since you never have to look far to find yet another box with a barcode on it.

So please do yourself – and your future – a big favor!

Buy the book and also read it! Through March 18th you even get 50% discount with promo code “bwiaunch50″!


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