I posted an article about QR Codes a few months ago. QR Codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can contain a great deal of information in a relatively small area. They are heavily used in Japan, and are slowly starting to gain traction in other parts of the world.

One of the best uses of QR codes in my mind involves the inclusion of QR code hyperlinks in printed media. That way a user could be reading a poster or a paper version of an article and still be able to navigate hyperlinks using their phone. Typically this is accomplished using a QR code reader on a cellular phone, which causes the phone’s browser to be launched and directed to the appropriate hyperlink. For example, you could see a poster on a telephone pole for a band performance in your area, and the QR code would launch a browser so that you could purchase a ticket or read more information.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to do some work with WordPress in this area. Since a few QR code readers are slowly starting to pop up in the iPhone application store, I thought now might be a good time to start tinkering.

So I’ve basically started work on a plugin that will add QR codes to content in WordPress automatically, at least for printed versions. I still have lots of corner cases and use cases to figure out, but I’ve made a bit of progress. If you want to take a look, feel free to try printing a version of this page and see the difference (that is, go into your File menu and click “Print” — you’ll see a different version). Of, you can check out the PDF version of this page.

Not only is the permalink for the page encoded as a QR code, but also any hyperlinks within the content as well. So in theory someone could print out an article from my blog, slap it onto the fridge at work, and people could navigate around the content using a QR code reader on their phone.

If you have an iPhone, you can download NeoReader via the Application Store to test out the QR codes on my site. If you know of any other QR code readers, please let me know.