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POS Cash Register, need advice

Posted on 2004-11-11
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I am looking to set up a Cash Register connected to a PC .. connected to a database of some sort. I have a very vague idea of how these things work. Can anyone recomend a how to for setting it up. Advice on what programming environment is easiest to interface with a machine. Recomendations for the cash register... anything at all would be appreciated.
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Question by:polkadot
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by:mugman21
ID: 12564456
Curious, what programming languages are you proficient in? That would help in answering your question...

Mugman
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JohnnyCanuck earned 672 total points
ID: 12564477
Here's some free POS software.

What this program will do.
   This program will convert any IBM or compatable personal computer into a fully functional cash register.
   If you have a network this program can run multiple registers at the same time that will share data files.
   This program will directly print receipts on almost any printer. This includes regular computer printers or specialized cash register printers.
   If your printer, like most printers, is connected to the regular parallel printer port you should have no problems.
   If your printer connects through a serial port it may be possible to configure this program to directly print on the printer.
   If you are using Windows '95 or later you may configure this program to use the Windows printer drivers to print on any printer that Windows can.
   You may choose to print receipts either 40 or 80 characters wide. You may choose to print either one or two copies of each receipt with an optional extra receipt for credit sales.
   If you have a cash register printer and cash drawer combination or a cash drawer connected to your computer through a serial port this program will open the cash drawer at the end of a sale.
   This program will print a header and footer on each receipt. You may program it to print up to three coupons on receipts.
   This program will optionally save the journal on disk as a text file.
   This program will keep track of up to 13000 different items. For each item it will keep track of a 11 digit stock number, 24 character description, regular price, sale price, tax rate, pieces sold, dollars sold, pieces in inventory, merchandise category, vendor, model stock, warehouse pack, cost and vendor stock number. During a sale you may look up items in the stock table using search features.
   This program will keep track of the sales of up to 28 employees.
   This program will print sales reports based on total sales, employee, category, vendor, or a combination of these factors. Reports are printed based on current sales or sales history. Reports can be printed on a printer, saved to disk as a text file or saved to disk as a data file that can then be loaded into your database or spreadsheet software.
   This program will record up to the last 10,000 transactions and will display any of them on screen at any time. Only sales in this record, and from the current day, may be voided.
   This program will accept customer information (name, address, phone, etc.) and record it on disk and/or print it on receipts. You may export this information to your printer or to a data file that you can then load into any word processing, database, or spread sheet software.
   This program will park up to 75 in-progress sales to ring up a new sale.
   And of course it will ring up sales and refunds. It will allow you to include discounts, reductions and coupons into your sales. It will print a daily sales report at the end of the day and reset the sales figures for tomorrow.
   This program will not tie up your computer. While it can be used as an "always on" cash register you can also exit the program at any time without resetting any sales or merchandise totals. When you restart the cash register all your sales and totals will be right there as though you never left.
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by:polkadot
ID: 12565895
proficient in vb6, c++, c# java, I expect that is enough ... right?

Rather write it myself, but I just need some sample code or some kind of idea of how it works.

Basically, at this point I just need an idea so that I will know if I should take on this project or not.
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Assisted Solution

by:Perfunction
Perfunction earned 664 total points
ID: 12569235
I would suggest using VB6 (or VB.NET if you can) with SQL (Access could also be used). Bascially you are going to need an interface that provides easy access to everything that a cashier might need. You are going to need to keep track of various details about every item scanned such as: the name, DPCI/UPC, price, and amount of tax that should be applied. The entire transaction will have to track things like: who the cashier was, what the time and date was, the total cost, total tax, method of payment and maybe some other info. All of this information should be stored in a database for future reference. I recommend using an autogenerated receipt id to track transactions.

It really all depends on the business standards however. Just take a look at some receipts you get while shopping. There really is that much going on behind the scenes. The only thing I could see being hard to do is interfacing with a flatbed scanner to input UPC bar codes. However, I'm sure there are APIs available to suit your needs.

My advice is get a better idea of the project's scope from the customer and then just go with your gut. I have taken on many projects that I wasn't sure if I could finish. Its a rush and if you can handle the pressure its very rewarding.
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by:Perfunction
ID: 12569274
Oh and as for the register hardware I can tell you what most Target stores use:

466mhz AMD K6-2
128MB SDRAM
Quantum Fireball HDD
Windows NT
10BaseT token ring network
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by:blumbra
blumbra earned 664 total points
ID: 12576992
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