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POS recommendations

Posted on 2014-02-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-02-04
Just looking for some recommendations on POS for a retail store.
Free is good, paid is fine.
Business will be mainly cash, but credit cards will have to be accounted for in a swipe.
I don't want plan software - this should be pay once and use forever.
My initial thought is W8 with a touchscreen and cash drawer - I have never looked into this area so wouldn't even know where to start but I do know there is version of W8 for POS ( I would prefer W7 if it is still possible to get it (seems to be according to the MS site).
If it can tie in Sage that would be a bonus.
Obviously receipt printer as well

No links - I want real world experience of use (well links are fine but why?)
Question by:Gary
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Accepted Solution

Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 2000 total points
ID: 39831715
I have created my own custom one off applications for clients as a perpetual monthly.  

I don't think anything that is going to be on the cheap is going give you everything you want.

One of the projects I started tracking a few years ago was open bravo. At the time they were in the planning stages and had written out some specs https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tWOTwpBAyEPJ5x4QOaiSUT67XcstAMg-2TrimO4ZcP0/edit and had a dropbox link (now dead).  This has turned into a paid product with a limited community edition http://www.openbravo.com/product-editions.  There is also a sourceforge project http://sourceforge.net/projects/openbravo/ but I am not sure if this is the same as the community edition or not.  It's a 700meg download.

http://www.unicenta.com/ claims it was forked from the original open bravo.  I don't think this looks that great and reading through some of the issues on forum don't seem promising http://www.unicenta.com/community/forums/ but it is worth to check it out.

There is php point of sale http://www.phppointofsale.com/ and it is $99 one time if you host.

Free for small users http://www.imonggo.com/pricing.html and $30 per month for the rest.

Getting more expensive but a lot slicker.. http://www.vendhq.com/

Everything else is going to get more expensive. I am not a big fan of any of the quickbooks software outside of it's core, but they do have a pos that will run about $1600 http://intuitpayments.com/POS   

Let me know when you are ready to roll your own...
LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39831745
If you decide to make your own, the touch screen is almost a must.  It acts just as a mouse click.

The cash drawer operates via commands from the receipt printer. The receipt printer.  You can't send "File Print" commands to these things and instead use raw print commands typically ESC/P.  Each brand has their own proprietary printer codes, so you want to choose your printer first before making your print routine and keep the print routine separate so you can easily add more models/brands.    In the case of epson https://pos.epson.com/products/prodsSmartPOS.htm you would first need to sign up as a developer with https://epsonexpert.com/login and from there you can download a proprietary copy of the Epson print codes.   You can send codes that will beep or make the the drawer open in addition to printing.  

If this is browser based, you can't send printer commands from the browser to the printer port.  There are a couple of options.  One is to create a scheduled task for the server/computer that is connected to the printer to run a vb code that will poll the data server for something that needs to be printed every few seconds. If found, send commands to printer.  I don't like this solution much.  

The other option is to use a java applet to listen for commands from the browser and send those commands to the printer.  I use http://qzindustries.com/.  It used to be free and open source.  Because of the Java threats from Jan 2013 there are new measures for Java to work in this manner and basically the applet needs to have a certificate. The self signed certs will throw an error pop up.  It will still work, but annoying.  I ended up with the paid and the developer is very helpful and I recommend this.  There are other products similar but they do basically the same thing.

The swipe acts as a keyboard extension.  You just have to use a usb reader that does not encrypt the swipe.  Of if it does, have an application that can interpret.  Otherwise, the swipe just inputs the credit card data to as if you typed it in.  Each reader is slightly different and you  may need to adjust how it sends you the data. (some create line breaks ).  Programming is done from software while the swipe is connected.

Scanning, like swipe, is nothing more then an extension of the keyboard.

With that info, you can start building.
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Author Comment

ID: 39832707
Thanks Scott - lot to look through!
LVL 58

Author Comment

ID: 39833069
www.phppointofsale.com looks horrible and not touch friendly - unless I am missing something.
Unicenta looks OK - but will read thru their forums
Vend looks nice as well but its a plan payment and $100 a month is too much
OpenBravo also looks ok

Have you any experience with any of these?

One other thing I forgot is a chip and pin keyboard terminal.

You say you wrote your own. How difficult was it/time taken and what language did you use?
LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39833473
I agree about phppoint of sale.  

>How difficult was it/time taken and what language did you use

What I did was a lot more then just a pos and I spent about 3 months but just the POS portion was about a month.   The hardest part was figuring out how to send printer codes from browser to the printer port and a lot of that had to do with client using old computer with even older usb to serial converter that did not play nice.

First star with just an html/js screen layout and make that look and work the way you like.  Get the receipt printer to to work and scanner if you use that.  I would also decide first on the monitor you will use and design the screen for that size.  If you need to make mobile web view, design a screen for that as well.  

Once you have the front end working, just add your choice of
- sales orders/detail
- payments
- products
- inventory (optional if you want to track)
- customer (optional)
- security  (allow log in by user level, certain times of day, ip etc, track log ins)
- coupons (optional)
- feed for website (optional)
- Admin panel for user to update

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