[Baypiggies] Do you think this would be cool open source?

Glen Jarvis glen at glenjarvis.com
Thu May 7 21:49:58 CEST 2009

I've been working on an idea... It's Python and Django based. It's  
rather a cool idea and I've been working on it for about three months.  
I'm scrapping my old repository and starting over.

Before I ask my technical questions, let me throw a copy and paste  
summary of my idea/work out there:

--- start ---
it really has taken off. I want to start over completely in my  
repository. This is something I've originally written in Python/Django.

I wish to disclose my intent to create a web service for a programable  
(Quick Response) QR barcode. The QR Barcode patent is owned but not  
exercised by Denso Wave.

These QR codes can store numeric, alphanumeric, binary,  URL, binary,  
address cards, SMS and other types of storage. They are, however,  
limited to a finite amount of data and can only store the types of  
data already predefined in the barcode specification.

Additionally, each time a different type of data is stored in the  
barcode, the barcode that is generated is different. This does not  
allow for a one-stop posting of a barcode. For example, if a  
specifically encoded QR code is printed on a T-shirt, then if the  
content of the barcode needs to change, the barcode needs to be  
reprinted. It is not feasible, then, to dynamically change the content  
of the barcode without having to reprint the barcode.

I propose that a single barcode per user or entity (e.g., for John Doe  
to have professionally printed on his t-shirt) is created. The format  
of this barcode is URL and points to a specific web address.  
Additional parameters are encoded in the URL to indicate the entity  
(e.g., John's T-shirt).

Then, the web server can return any amount of data (limited only by  
the practicality of transmitting that data). Additionally, since the  
Web server can run programs, the function of already printed code can  
be extended at any time by the addition of a new program on the web  

An example of the data stored in this 'fixed' or 'programmable'  
barcode could be (but is not limited to) as follows:
    http://glenjarvis.com/scan?id=34&token=4343d (currently not a  
valid url)

The webserver, in this example at glenjarvis.com, would receive a scan  
with id of 34. The barcode object with that id has a dynamic program  
associated with it (e.g., return a random Irish Limerick). Then,  
whenever barcodes are scanned (for example, with a mobile phone, the  
user is redirected to the URL, and an Irish Limerick is returned to  
this user. The programs added to this code can be scavenger hunts,  
physical games (like tag: last barcode scanned wins), etc.
--- end ---

This worked very well conceptually... In fact, I separated everything  
so that every barcode had a 'program' associated with it. The program  
was actually a string to dynamically call a verified program (each  
program is a django app named with the id of that 'program' in the  

Because QR codes are so popular in the rest of the world, I imaged  
that we're only limited by the creativity of people out there -- for  
example, if someone from BayPIGgies is interested in creating a  
'program' for this platform, they only need to write it.

As I progressed, and reality came from the idea, it was clear that:
1) All new programs had to be 'registered' manually (that is,  
instructions are given and a sandbox is given to develop, but the  
production system has to be very carefully controlled for security).

2) Django is so mono-lithic.. but, we want to launch external  
programs. The internal django app mentioned above handles the basic  
call (like a poll thread handles all incoming calls). But, the work is  
done by external systems. And, this came down to RESTful ideas.

But, that's where things kinda smoldered for a while. Can a fully  
RESTful system be created where program execution (even if through a  
URL) is done, passing a small set of JSON data. And, an API of certain  
authenticated calls is given to that program for use...

I've never done any facebook apps or myspace or other networking, but  
is this how they work?  How does the security model work? Is REST the  
best model?

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. This is more stream of  
conscious discussion as I consider these past few hurdles.

Warmest Regards,

Glen Jarvis
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