An effort to evolve the old paper business card into newer social formats as Passbook, HTML5+hCard, VCF
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README.md

The Digital Business Card Project

An effort to evolve the old paper business card into newer social formats as Wallet pass, HTML5+hCard, VCF.

two faces of a Wallet pass

The QRcode on the Wallet pass points to an URL on your website (mine is https://Avi.Alkalay.net/card/) that intelligently delivers your digital business card as a pass or visual and mobile-friendly HTML5+hCard with links to the pass and VCF. All with good-looking design and nice icons.

The whole idea is to avoid paper business cards in an easy and work-environment-acceptable way. The journey is:

  1. I show my business card in Passbook format on my smartphone.
  2. The other person scans the code with iPhone-native Wallet app (or with Android third party Passbook app, see below) and get my card from my website as a pass into his Wallet app.

This is it. Very easy and fun.

Non-Wallet users (Android, Windows etc) can still scan the same code and get pointed to a mobile-friendly page on my website (see below) that visually resembles a phone contact, as shown in the screenshot below. There are visual icons to help the user to download my VCF file and, again, the Wallet pass.

Non-Wallet users see this on their browsers

The rendered page shows your personal data as e-mail and phone. But it is safe from e-mail crawlers because the HTML is just a template that JavaScript code on visitor's browser mixes with the actual data. There is no server-side engine, no PHP, no databases and nothing dynamic is required on the web server side. All are plain static files.

Usage

  1. For the HTML page with your digital business card, edit the data.json file with your data.
  2. Put your square photo on photo.jpg file.
  3. Put a QR code on qr-code.png. It can be a simple link to your page (same QR that goes into you Wallet app ticket) or a more complex QR containing your complete data.
  4. Test it all by simply viewing the index.html file on you browser. No web server is required for testing.
  5. Upload the following files to your web server respecting the directory structure in the source:
  6. .htaccess (contains logic for pass delivery and mime-types definitions)
  7. resources (the entire directory with icons and images)
  8. index.html
  9. photo.jpg (your photo)
  10. qr-code.png (the QR Code with the URL of your card page)
  11. data.json
  12. vcard.vcf (your business card as a VCF file, supported by all address book software)
  13. passbook.pkpass (your business card as a Passbook/Wallet pass)
  14. walletcard.png (to make your URL look nice when sharing on Facebook)
  15. Make it all available in a nice URL on your web site. Mine is https://Avi.Alkalay.net/card/

You can get a vcard.vcf file creating a contact of yourself on your smartphone and then sending it to you attached on an e-mail. Dettach it, rename it to vcard.vcf and upload it with the rest of your files.

Wallet/Passbook

A Wallet pass is not required but is what actually makes the exchange of digital business cards fun, relevant, fast, colourful and effective. People will not forget you because of it.

My Wallet pass source code is included here for my control and as a reference for you to build yours. You can only make a Wallet pass that will be accepted by iOS devices if you digitally sign it with an Apple certificate that you can get if you are a paying Apple iOS developer (US$99/year).

If you aren't, I can sign one for you if you send me a Bitcoin donation, minimum B$0.03. This is what you need to do:

  1. Edit passbook/pass.json, passbook/en.lproj/pass.strings, passbook/_LANGUAGE_.lproj/pass.strings with your data.
  2. Carefuly chose and put your Digital Business Card URL on the passbook/pass.json file for the QRcode.
  3. This URL has to be HTTPS, otherwise the Wallet app will not accept the card. You can get a free SSL certificate (HTTPS) for your site on https://StartSSL.com.
  4. If you don't have an HTTPS server and if you convince me you are a good person, I can host your pass for you in some URL as https://Avi.Alkalay.net/.cards/your-card.pkpass. Not perfect but users don't actually see it. More B$0.09 please, for your lazyness of not making a free HTTPS server for yourself.
  5. Put your photo, thumbnail and company logo on top of what you find on passbook folder.
  6. You can freely add and remove fields on your card. Also make it active, editing fields as your birthday, your geolocation, iBeacons etc. You can see how I did it on my card.
  7. Zip the passbook folder and send it to me with the Bitcoin donation.

I'll send you back a valid (tested) Wallet pass with my digital signature for you to give to your contacts as your new business card.

To sign it yourself (in case you have an Apple iOS developer certificate), you can use my util/pkpass.sh script that does all the hard work. Use it like this on the command line:

util/pkpass.sh ${P12 certificate file from Apple Developer account} ${folder that contains the passbook JSON, image etc files} ${P12 certificate password} ${optional: output file name}

The card/pass on Android and Windows Mobile

I heard Windows Mobile now supports Wallet passes natively. Android user can install third party Wallet apps such as these:

I've tested some of those and concluded they don't work very well. Final conclusion is that Windows and Android users can still scan my card/pass QR, but they'll get only the fallback web page with a link to download my VCF.

Your friend,
Avi Alkalay <avi at unix do sh>
2014-11-01
Made in Brazil