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Build your Own Business Card Scanner App for iOS in a Day

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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

An interesting thing happened when we released FullContact Card Reader for iOS this past spring. When we built Card Reader we only provided two integrations, our FullContact Address Book and Salesforce. If you wanted your contacts anywhere else, short of some manual processes, we didn’t have a solution for you.

Then starting in the month that we released the app on iTunes, we began getting contacted by companies and developers asking if we would sell them the source code to the app. There were multiple occurrences of this happening, on nearly a monthly basis. But they didn’t want our app, they just wanted an app with a super simple UX for getting business cards into their own system. Every request was quite similar, going something like – “we just want to replicate your app but for [pick your CRM]”. It started with a SaaS event management company, the next two requests were from different niche CRM companies, a fourth request from a marketing automation company, and then there were developers sprinkled in that just wanted to get something started.

It was an interesting position to be in, do we sell the source code? Do we white label the app? Do we give it away for free? Do we integrate our own app with each of these systems?

We waffled for a few months, we extended a couple offers to those that seemed serious, we got busy and diverted attention, we got more requests for the code…and then we finally did something about it.

Going Open Source

Today, we are excited to announce that we have open sourced an iOS version of Card Reader! We’ve built a simple, well commented, tested, working iOS app that developers and companies can have free reign to use. The app contains everything you need to replicate the process from capture of card image to displaying the structured contact data, and every step in-between – as well as instructions for starting your custom integration.

Start with the app, or lift the code, we really don’t care. Build integrations to [pick your system] – hell, build a better card reader that integrates with Salesforce. You would make our day!

So what are you waiting for? Get started! Visit our Open Source Card Reader github repo to grab the code today.

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