The spreading of smartphones made big changes in our daily routine: with their usage given the possibility to access internet services through mobile applications and browse the web anytime, anywhere. These applications gain more and more quality every day, and their quantity grows very fast as well. Nowadays all of these services are accessible from mobile applications or at least from mobile web, even there are lots of services made exclusively for mobile use without any desktop or web interface.
This change causes less social experience as well, because people are more comfortable using and spending time with their mobile devices in the meantime. Even the communica- tion channels are transforming into internet services rather then face-to-face chatting. This impersonal virtual communication form gave me the idea to create a platform, which con- nects the physical and virtual world by starting conversations in real physical interactions and finishing them virtually through a mobile service.
The main objective for my work is to develop a bundle of services which are able to extend the communication channel into the physical world using an intuitive client-server solution. Because of the centralized messaging I need a server, which makes the centrum of the whole service, and also a mobile – in this case an iPhone – client, which gives access to the server with a clean and modern user interface. For the direct communication I need a physical channel, which is basically a printed card, that transfers the messages using a QR code on them. This is the simplest and very straightforward solution, which can easily be created at home and personalised in every way using custom graphics. The only required part of it is the code which identifies the card, preferably a QR code, because mobile devices can handle reading them quickly. Handing over these cards makes the physical interaction possible, because it connects the virtual and the real world using the service.
The bile application can communicate with the server, authenticate users, read and crea- te QR codes, also printing them to create physical objects. The server side makes it possible to store and manipulate card contents in database, handle authentication workflows, REST APIs, and create a minimal web interface.
For preparation of the development it was necessary to explore the concerning capabiliti- es of the PHP web-platform and the Symfony 2 framework, exploring how to communicate and authenticate using REST APIs, how to use database system for persistence, how to read and print QR codes and finally how to create a feasible user interface for the service. After a thorough designing process, I developed the internal structure of the service and I created an appropriate user interface for presenting and manipulating the data on both platforms. Finally I implemented the whole service on both client and server side, and tested their combined behaviour.