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How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service
May 29, 2018 by Oleg Vyalyh

In this article, we will learn how to create QR codes with a custom Backendless API Service. For the sample code reviewed later in the article we will use Java and the ZXing library (https://github.com/zxing).

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a computer generated image with some information encoded in a graphical way. The information may include text, numbers, a URL – pretty much anything your app may need to represent in an encoded manner. What makes QR codes very useful is the encoded information can be then decoded by any device with a camera.

Below is an example of a QR code with the encoded link to Backendless Console: https://develop.backendless.com:

pasted image 0 4 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API ServiceYou can ‘read’ it with an iPhone (just use the standard camera app) or with an Android device if you install a QR Code reader app (check out Google Play, there is a ton of QR reading apps). Once the code is scanned, the encoded URL will be opened automatically in your web browser.

(For more details, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code)

 

When and where can it be used?

With a QR code you can encode any information so that your users can get to it without the need to type it in manually. 

Some example of the encoded information include:

  • Any arbitrary text
  • URL/URI links
  • Phone numbers
  • Geolocation points
  • Contact/Business cards information

 

I assume that you are already registered with Backendless. if not, then you are more than welcome to do that using the link above (the one encoded into the QR code).

Step 1.

Login to Backendless console, click the Business Logic icon and download the archive as shown in the screenshot below. Make sure to expand the archive on your local machine. The downloaded archive includes a special package called “Java CodeRunner”:

pasted image 0 5 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service

Step 2.

Download the ZXing library from the maven repository and put it to the libs folder in your project. The folder is automatically included into the archive you downloaded in Step 1.

Here are the links to the library modules:
http://mvnrepository.com/artifact/com.google.zxing/core/3.3.2
http://mvnrepository.com/artifact/com.google.zxing/javase/3.3.2

pasted image 0 6 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service

Step 3.

Now we are ready to create the service itself, so I’ll write it using the following two methods:

  1. One of them will transfer byte[] array in return to the request. That byte[]will just be a raw picture data.
  2. The second approach is to generate the QR code and save the result as a file using Backendless File Service. It will also save some data with our Data Service and return the link to the file and the objectId of the DB record in the database.
    pasted image 0 7 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service
    And here is the code sample itself (please check the comments too):

Step 4.

Now, let’s prepare a table which will hold the data – the information about the generated QR codes.

Create a table with the name: qr_codes

Once the table is created, please click on SCHEMA tab and add the following:

Column 1:
column name – data , data type – STRING

Column 2:
column name – file , data type – FILE REFERENCE

pasted image 0 8 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service

Step 5.

Try this code and deploy it to Backendless server.

  1. In a Terminal window, go to the directory, where you have unpacked the previously downloaded CodeRunner.
  2. Run the CodeRunner with the command: ./bin/CodeRunner.sh
  3. Now you can see your services in the debug mode and invoke them:

pasted image 0 9 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service

Step 6.

After invoking the generateQRCodePicture() method is used, go to the Data section and check the result: you should have the qr_codes table created there:

pasted image 0 10 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service

If you click on the file relation, you will be transferred to the Files section where the <guid>.png resides.

Conclusion

Backendless API service is a powerful tool, serving you as a ‘swiss army knife’ in situations where you need the specialized business logic to be applied.

Once created, you can use your service in different languages. Just download the generated code and add it as a library to your application.

pasted image 0 11 - How to generate a QR code with Backendless API Service

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