On the one hand, the ideals of a well quasi-order (wqo) naturally form a compact topological space into which the wqo embeds. On the other hand, Nash-Williams' barriers are given a uniform structure by embedding them into the Cantor space.
We prove that every map from a barrier into a wqo restricts on a barrier to a uniformly continuous map, and therefore extends to a continuous map from a countable closed subset of the Cantor space into the space of ideals of the wqo. We then prove that, by shrinking further, any such continuous map admits a canonical form with regard to the points whose image is not isolated. cr As a consequence, we obtain a simple proof of a result on better quasi-orders (bqo); namely, a wqo whose set of non-principal ideals is a bqo is actually a bqo.