MeCARD or VCard format for Contact Info

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Jun 25, 2009, 10:17:47 PM6/25/09
to zxing
I will like to add a QR Code to my business card with my contact info,
but I don know which format to use (MECARD or VCARD). Does all the
readers available can understand both formats? or do you know which
readers support one or the other?

I know that at Google employees use MECARD coded with QR Code on their
business cards because is more compact format than VCARD. But VCard
has very wide spread and is a RFC standard.

Which format would you recommend me?, Why did Google choose MeCARD?



Jun 25, 2009, 11:10:49 PM6/25/09
to zxing
I perceive that MECARD is somewhat more common for this purpose. It is
certainly the format defined by DoCoMo, who pioneered all this in
Japan a decade ago. I agree, outside barcode-land, vCard is more
common. MECARD is never used except in barcodes.

I don't have any good data on which readers support what. I perceive
that few readers do anything with contact data, since that is not
their focus, and, because really only iPhone and Android let you add
contacts anyhow. (Not sure about Symbian/Nokia). For instance the J2ME
clients out there couldn't do something with contacts if they wanted

Anyway our reader reads both and is probably the most common 2D reader
on Android, so you're OK either way there.

I suppose I would recommend MECARD since I perceive it has slightly
more support, and is more compact, and has more history as the way to
encode contact info in barcodes. That is to say I would be very
surprised to find a reader that reads vCard but not MECARD.

Daniel Switkin

Jun 26, 2009, 11:42:35 AM6/26/09
to zxing
I agree, I'd go with MECARD but don't have any hard data on it. That's
what our web-based generator will spit out:



Jun 26, 2009, 12:39:13 PM6/26/09
to zxing
Thank you for your comment, I think I will use MeCARD..


Manuel Sättele

Mar 27, 2012, 11:31:08 AM3/27/12
As I understand, the benefits of MECARDs are that due to the easier format they amount for lesser data. But a major downside is that they have no field for "company", which makes them rather useless for business contacts.
But for vCards it seems not possible to create a format where address fields are recognized by QR-Decoders in a correct way, so that street is correctly assigned to the street in the contacts application, zip to zip and city to city.

Sean Owen

Mar 27, 2012, 11:37:03 AM3/27/12
Not really, the main benefit is just the MECARD is more widely understood. (But yes it's a little more compact.) Yes there is no field for company although I've seen "ORG:" used for this in MECARD, and while not standard, it's useful enough that I long ago added support for it in the encoder/decoder.

I can't speak for other readers, but it is not that vCard can't be parsed in this way. It's that there is not a way, on Android, to specify these fields separately to the Contacts app when sending it an Intent. And that is the better way for us to integrate. The encoding itself is not an issue.

Nikolaos Ftylitakis

Mar 27, 2012, 12:14:11 PM3/27/12
to Sean Owen,
A comment here regarding Symbian/Nokia support to add contacts, since it got mentioned. Like the rest of the platforms, it supports adding new contact both through Symbian C++ and Qt.

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