At our school, we want to make our own attendance application. We would like the teacher to have an app that can read a barcode (from student id card) and send the result to a web server, where we put the timestamp in the database. Our student ID cards only have a barcode for student ID, not a full url. We don't want to start remaking all student ID cards to put a url on it.

We are looking for an app that can 'check in/out' a person with an attached barcode, which can then be sent to our own web server. We like to be in full control and have just the data sent, and decide for ourselves what we do with it. We don't want complete integrated solutions where our data is on a remote server somewhere owned by someone else.

I have no experience with app creation, but I know databases, PHP and Java.

Preferably a free or low cost (one-time fee) app, available on Android and iOS. I doubt a website can read a barcode from the phone camera but well, surprise me.

  • That should be possible with any barcode reader app supporting URLs – if the corresponding server is configured for it, and the barcode correct. Example URL: http://www.example.com/checkin?uid=123 That checkin script should then lookup the corresponding user (id) in the database, and perform the corresponding actions. Similarly, you can have a checkout script. And of course you could have another parameter to make sure the request is authorized :)
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:26
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    @Izzy I understand what you're saying, but our student ID cards only have a barcode for student ID, not a full url. We don't want to start remaking all student ID cards to put a url on it. So what I need is the program to send the barcode to a configurable url. Nov 25, 2015 at 18:34
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    Ah, that fact was missing in your question (maybe you edit it in?) I'm not aware of an app capable of that, but I've also never checked for this specific feature. Maybe there's something like that in my above mentioned list.
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:40
  • @MichielvanderBlonk Can you specify the exact type of barcode? Or post the image of an example? Mar 27, 2016 at 2:17

2 Answers 2


Does it have to be a smartphone app?

Most bar code scanners (like this one - note: not an endorsement, I just googled it) can act as a keyboard and output whatever they scan as a set of key presses.

Pros: you could write an app using PHP & MySQL to handle the input from the scanner - I did something similar for a production process at work

Cons: extra hardware required

  • A smartphone app would be ideal, because I'm sure all teachers already walk around with smartphones, and not all have PCs or Laptops. Nov 25, 2015 at 17:39
  • Yeah, I suspected that might be your answer. Too bad - a barcode scanner is really ridiculously easy to implement :D
    – Kryten
    Nov 25, 2015 at 17:42
  • Well, there are also "barcode IMEs" for Android – so no extra hardware required. Question then would just be how to bring the two together.
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:42
  • A dedicated bar code scanner can be much faster and more accurate than a phone camera + app. Also, a scanner need not be hooked up to a computer while scanning. Some models can buffer the inputs (the scans) along with timestamps, to be later uploaded to the computer. Mar 26, 2016 at 6:54

I don't think this will be any help on iOS, but for Android, the ZXing Barcode Scanner is very easy to integrate into other apps. It's one of the few barcode apps that can be launched with an Intent and return data to the caller. (Or at least, one of the few for which this ability is documented.) It reads traditional 2D barcodes as well as QR codes.

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