Thursday, December 24

Floreant POS Live Demo site

We have hosted a small database server so that you can connect and test your POS client. You are free to access backoffice database, create new users and play around with Menu and Items. To access our Live demo server change server address as "cloudflo.floreantpos.org".



For more about Live demo site click here

Sunday, December 20

Installation of Floreant POS in Ubuntu

Most linux distribution ships with Java alternative, but unfortunately Floreant POS does not work ok in that Java. You must install Sun Java and to make it work. To get Sun Java, you need to install Sun JRE. In ubuntu you can install Sun Java 6 like below


sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin

When installation is complete you can set path for Java Sun or directly run as follows

/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/bin/java -jar floreantpos.jar

Sunday, December 13

Changes in our home page


Made have major UI changes in our home page. Our web developer has successfully added search engine capability backed by GCS. There are cool tag clouds showing the most recent and popular searches. We hope this will greatly benefit the visitors.

Friday, December 11

Touch Screen UI Design Principles

Unfortunately there are no standard among touch screen based software developers. Even Floreant POS team started on doing research on existing POS system. We learned many of the existing POS are not touch screen friendly  at all.

To give an example,  one known Open source POS ( mostly designed for retail stores) uses thin Scroll bar which is not easy to use.

Interestingly our close sourced Microsoft has added those tips in MSDN (even though their flagship product MS Word is at the top in UI hall of shame ;)). Anyway lets share some nice efforts by them.


1. Target Area

 Research indicates that the minimum target area for efficient, accurate interaction using a finger is 6x6 millimeters (mm). This area translates to layout metrics as follows:

FontMillimetersRelative pixelsDLUs
9 point Segoe UI6x623x2313x13
8 point Tahoma6x623x2315x14

Furthermore, research shows that a minimum size of 10x10 mm (about 40x40 pixels) enables better speed and accuracy, and also feels more comfortable to users. When practical, use this larger size for command buttons used for the most important or frequently used commands.

2. System gestures

System gestures are defined and handled by Windows. As a result, all Windows programs have access to them. These gestures have equivalent mouse, keyboard, and application command messages:
System gestureSynthesized equivalent message
Hover (when supported)Mouse hover
Tap (down and up)Mouse left-click
Double tap (down and up twice)Mouse double left-click
Press and hold (down, pause, up)Mouse right-click
Drag (down, move, up)Mouse left-drag
Press, hold, and drag (down, pause, move, up)Mouse right-drag
Select (down, move over selectable objects, up)Mouse select
For more information, see SystemGesture Enumeration.

there are also other consideration including Control spacing, Control restrictions etc. I would recommend anyone to go through their page

Checklist for proper installation of POS

POS improves quality of service and help you establish a long term business

To run a successful restaurant business you need to have your basics right- i.e. good location, excellent cuisine, serving customers with a smile. However, this is not all. Now-a-days, there's another important aspect to consider - the restaurant pos software or the pos software system you use.

Monitors, computers or the printers are visibly essential but pos software system is the nerve-center of the whole setup. Thus, a careful assessment is extremely necessary before you choose the best pos software.How will you know your software is configured properly.




First, it's important to know what exactly you need the POS software system to do. Good restaurant pos software should handle multiple menus, track orders, manage the work-flow, record transaction, process credit card payments, and many more. Once you are through with the functionality of the POS software system that meets your basic requirements, do a test run to see how easy it is to use in your environment. While there would be ample scopes of learning for your staff when you adopt new restaurant pos software, choosing the best pos software should be easy to operate and should reduce the learning curve to manageable levels.

The best way to do this by creating multiple logins for your stuff (of course, any vendor offering restaurant pos systems should do this!) and let them run it in real-time situations. This will help them to find out the performance of the restaurant pos software under eccentric situations and help you to decide accordingly.

Here are your priorities
  • Security

The POS software system should provide with unique login option to every employee. You should be able to set access-levels to safeguard sensitive reports and functions to depending on positional hierarchy in your business, if desired.
  • Ease of use

In the POS software system, you should be able to change or edit orders, menus, payment options etc. whenever you want to. The interface should be so arranged that you can perform frequently used tasks with minimum key pressing or mouse-clicks.

  • Reporting

The best pos software should be able to generate detailed reports for owners and managers. Make sure the restaurant pos software you choose lets you get detailed information per order, per server, or menu-wise, ranging from daily to monthly.

  • Multiple access points

All popular restaurant pos systems are capable of taking orders from multiple locations (such as the bar, the kitchen, the take-away counter etc.). Make sure your POS software system also does so.

  • Hardware

Finally, get sure hardware is certified for that pos and don't forget to purchase the hardware (like the printer and computer) from reputed vendors so that the rigors of multiple and frequent usage are sustained for a long time.


Src: David Lacroix

Tuesday, December 8

Download Mirrors - CNET & Brother soft added Floreant POS

Recent development in CNET - they added Floreant POS in their list. Also thanks to Brothersoft for adding download mirrors.

Download.comBrothersoft.
More:
DownloadPlex
ZDNet Asia
Our project has regular changes so check sourceforge for any minor updates.

Friday, December 4

Developers' Wiki is Ready

We setup a wiki for developers. Visit http://wiki.floreantpos.org

Some interesting pages in wiki are
  1. Roadmap 
  2. Source code compilation procedure
  3. Frequently asked questions

Thursday, November 26

Happy thanksgiving from Floreant POS team

Wish you a very special Thanksgiving Day for all for referring us and encouraging this project every moment.


Ref: TJ8AWU4V4VR8

Wednesday, November 25

Touch screen button Innovation

Touch Screen is cool but when users press touch screen it certainly miss feelings  a solid button. Chris Harrison and Prof. Scott Hudson at Carnegie Mellon have developed a simple technology that turns touch screen buttons into physical buttons by using pneumatics.

The technology consists of a flexible surface area with a hard backing that acts as a mask for the button shapes. An air chamber behind the backing can be pressurized or depressurized using pneumatic technology, in this case fan-based pumps.

When positive pressure is applied, the buttons pop out. When the pressure is neutral, the screen is flat. When negative pressure is applied, the buttons pop inwards.



Such ergonomic touch screen technology may change the way restaurant apps would work.

For more technical details visit

Thursday, November 19

Choosing database for a POS

While developing an open source product its important to consider a matching database engine. Fortunately there are a number of stable database system already tested and recognized both web and Java applications. For Restaurants we required
  1. A Public domain license so that we can distribute DB unconditionally with software.
  2. Concurrent access - multiple clients may access 
  3. Embedded mode preferred ( to run in single work station)
  4. Database joining, subquery and view especially for reports
  5. Fast DB transaction but transactions my not be huge
  6. Friendly with Java (since we already selected java)

Following matix shows a comparison among different DB engines. We have eventually selected Apache Derby because it fulfills most of the features. In addition it can be embedded as well as its license is more flexible than MySQL.


Apache Derby 10    MySQL 5
PostgreSQL 8



SQLite




Database Connections


Multiple


Multiple


Multiple


Multiple



Concurrent Access to Multiple Databases



















Embedded Database










x




x






Unicode
Support






















Replication Support



















License


Apache (BSD)


        GPL


BSD


Public Domain




Specifications


















SQL 99


       √


         x             √



                   x


SQL 92
















  x



Relational Database Features


















Sequences/A
uto-increment Column
























x





User Defined Functions






















x




Update-capable Views























x





Referential Integrity























x





Triggers



Statement / Row Level


Before / After


Nesting


Compound























x

























X











x












x

























x





SUBQUERY




















               x       




OUTER JOIN





















                 x





Name Length Limit


128



64


64



255


Delimited Identifiers




























Stored Procedures



























Technorati / QK5RE4N7N9S9

Monday, November 16

5 Essential parts of a good point of sale software


Cash drawer is a vital part but not all in a Restaurant. Whole process goes much beyond this and the success of your business depends on how effectively you manages everything related to your restaurant. Here, time is money for you and a good restaurant point of sale software is probably your best bet to help performing everything perfectly.

1. Think POS as a collection of devices

A restaurant manager POS or a bar POS system is essentially is a collection of devices that perform in an orchestrated way when your business runs in full swing. So naturally, such a robustness to run a system can only be expected from an experienced vendor selling restaurant point of sale software. The vendor must always ensure that the restaurant point of sale software should take care of everything from menu arrangement to staff performance in your restaurant.

2. Manage restaurant's cuisine & customer preferences

Besides providing adequate options to manage your restaurant’s cuisines, the restaurant manager pos system should help you to allocate and distribute your resources effectively as well. The centralized system should take and process data from every terminal in your restaurant. Also, besides managing the restaurant cash register, a good restaurant manager pos or bar pos system has flexible options to cater to your customers’ preferences in terms of table allocation, menu or payment.

3. Flexibility and features to change orders, menus and payments

A good restaurant point of sale software gives you flexible options to change or edit orders, menus, payment options etc. whenever you want to. In addition, the interface of the restaurant manager pos system is arranged in such a way that you could do all frequent tasks with the minimum key pressing or mouse clicking.

4. Reporting

The restaurant point of sale software can also help you with elaborate reporting for almost all activities performed through it. It can help you to get detailed information per order, per server, or menu-wise, ranging from daily to monthly and many more.

5. Right access for managers, servers and bartenders

Finally, a restaurant point of sale software is far more secured than a normal restaurant cash register. In good restaurant manager pos or bar pos system, you can set hierarchical access-rights for your managers, servers, bartenders, and above all for you as the owner. This will ensure that critical information related to revenue, wages etc. are not compromised at any level. In addition, almost all good restaurant point of sale software systems give adequate option to backup your data on online location on a periodical basis so that you are always free from system-crash or other similar issues.

Source: posqx Teachers paradise

Is Freeware enough? Why disclosure of Source code is so important?

Software developer and Blogger Marco Milani wrote a nice article about pitfalls of "Freeware". 



Software like Firebird, Firefox, Thunderbird, Freemind, Joomla, WordPress, Debian, Lingoes can be great but "All that glitters isn't gold"! Some threats may break the dream of completely free software.


First of all a software that is free today can not be free forever! A recent example comes from PostBox, a new e-mail client based on thunderbird (wrote by the former thunderbird's developers) originally claimed as "a free e-mail client" and switched to commercial in September once the first stable release appeared and after a lot of users tested the beta versions. In this case the testing of the user was free not the product!

Free mean "at your own risk"
If you pay nothing to get a things you also get no warranties about that things and no support in case of problems. If company stops giving away free you may have already been using it and you may realize FREE CHEESE IN MOUSE TRAP!

Open source is Preferred
Even open-source projects can die because of lack of development, but in case of crucial business involved the last chance is to directly support the development. Secondly when you have source code instead of waiting for next release you can customize it from the first day. Internet Explorer is one of the worst example of such Close source free product. Since release of IE 6.0 there were too many known bugs and and users who has been accustomed with IE  had to live with that.  Then next version of product had different problems. IE had even many critical bugs that took time to get fixed. If source code were in users' end they could fix it themselves.


Plan the way-out
Even if the project is promising good things try to answer the question:"what if the project will die?". Some ways out can be:
  • Start maintaining the code (maybe really expensive in term of resources...)
  • Switch to an existing fork or equivalent product
  • Build a new similar product from scratch
  • Buy a commercial version if exists
The way-out plan is mandatory if the free product or service is part of the core business. It would be unacceptable to build an important business over a weak solution or a solution with an uncertain future! You can only do that if you have source code in hand!

This means that in general is a bad choice to use free-closed-source software in core businesses
.

Sunday, November 15

James Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier - First Point of Sale Machine in History

As I searched in Google I found that Retail point of sale systems have their roots in an 1870s Dayton, OH saloon. Deeming himself a "Dealer in Pure Whiskies, Fine Wines, and Cigars," owner/operator James Ritty had a successful business. But, like most business owners, he faced a growing issue of dishonest employees who frequently pocketed money from the customers instead of depositing it.


While on a steamboat trip to Europe, Ritty was intrigued by a mechanical device on the ship's propeller that tracked of the number of revolutions for maintenance purposes. Upon his return to Dayton, Ritty and his brother John began working to duplicate this idea to record cash transactions at the saloon with a mechanical device. In 1879, the Ritty brothers patented their invention as "Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier,"







or, as we know it today, the cash register.

The Ritty brothers opened a small factory in Dayton to manufacture their cash registers. Several years later, Cincinnati businessman Jacob H. Eckert bought the business from the Rittys and formed the National Manufacturing Company in 1881. He later sold it to John H. Patterson who continued making improvements to the cash register, including adding rolls of paper used to record each day's transactions.

In course of time, even though Cash register and POS has been serving same purpose, it has been evolved from Giant wheels and machines to the latest touch screen application.


src: Ritty's machine , Ritty

Tuesday, November 3

How to minimize stealing in Restaurants




















The National Restaurant Association estimates(1) that internal employee theft is responsible for 75% of inventory shortages-about four percent of total restaurant sales. Three quarters of employees steal from the workplace at least once-and half steal repeatedly. Why? Because no one catches them!

Many owners and managers ignore the signs because they want to believe all their employees are honest. But the longer you let dishonest employees get away with it, the more widespread employee theft will become. Here are six signs to look for:

  1. Have Food & Beverage Costs suddenly gone up?
    These can be determined by comparing how much Restuarant is purchasing with how much it is selling. If costs suddenly go up, detailed records may point to a specific event-such as a new bartender, kitchen worker or server's arrival. (If they go down, check to see who might be on vacation!) . Best way to prevent this is to log details of every transactions. How to get the reports

  2. Is the cash register over or under on a regular basis?
    If Restaurant owner regularly checks Cash drawer there must be exact or slightly different amount in cash drawer. If not, this is a sign that an employee has put money in the till without ringing up the order and has forgotten or miscalculated exactly what to skim from the register at the end of the shift. See Drawer pull

  3. Do employee tips add up?
    Many food servers offers extra food or intentionally Void foods to get more Tips. Tracking Void orders are one simple way to catch such stealing. Often there are courtesy drinks allocated for guests but food servers steal them and invite own friends to enjoy that.

  4. Do regular customers complain that prices are too expensive or inconsistent
    Employees may overcharge customers and pocket the difference. Cash drawer may look fine but customers should see an increase in prices. Whenever such complains come, owner should take it seriously. See Ticket

  5. Customers or employees are telling you someone is stealing
    Customers or employees may notice things restaurant owner can't. A thorough investigation often reveal regular stealing in restaurants.

  6. Something about an employee that just doesn't feel right
    Maybe it's a lifestyle that seems well beyond their means. Maybe they are just too eager to work the shifts that no one else wants to take. Whatever it is, restaurant owner should trust his instincts.
One of the way to minimize stealing is to use a quality Point of Sale where all transactions are recorded and could be cross checked with amount from drawer pull. Floreant POS is one of such open source application. For more visit
excerpt: fb

Sunday, November 1

Feature list in slideshow

Follow us in Twitter

We eventually created a twitter account follow us for any further updates. http://twitter.com/floreantpos . Also support our open source initiative by pressing Retweet button in the right sidebar.

Friday, October 16

Why Prefer Open source


Like to quote form favorite business journalist Dana Blankenhorn

Preference for open source is based on a simple, easy to understand premise.An open source code base is your asset. A proprietary code base is someone else’s asset. Just so long as you understand what “your” and “someone else’s” mean.

Now it’s true that an open source asset is shared. But that’s why GPL code may be the best open source asset to have, if you’re not a software company. Everyone who has GPL code has an obligation to share their improvements. Other people are busy, right now, increasing the value of your GPL assets.

This calculation is true for businesses as well as governments. You don’t need a mandate, assuming you can sell the idea behind a preference to your staff. (Thanks to Matt Asay for his excellent essay on this subject.)

This is something managers in all kinds of enterprises — public, private, and philanthropic — often fail to do. There is a tendency everywhere to mandate. Business managers pass orders down the line without giving much thought to its impact on the people below them. It’s easier than selling.

Vendors take advantage of this to sell a preference for closed source to their customers. Employees are defending their jobs, and futures, by defending the vendor’s interests. Change vendors, even to open source, and your skills with Microsoft or Oracle code can seem worthless, your job may be at risk.

So there is a lot business can learn from the problems governments have in trying to mandate open source. If a Fortunate 500 company dumps Windows for Linux it can face the same resistance.

This can be a hard lesson for top management to learn. You advertise for technical help. You state the specific programs you want people to know. These skills are their assets, and if you make vendor changes — you will always make vendor changes — employees see their assets destroyed.

My dear wife of some decades talks about this all the time, in relation to her work. Her employers get new software and now only want experts in that stuff. The old people are vulnerable.

But people can learn, and people will learn if you give them the chance. The same minds that learned assembler can learn Java. The same minds that learned Oracle can learn mySQL.

Management attitudes are what need to change. Stop thinking of programmers as mere skill sets. They’re trained minds and willing hearts. Most are anxious to take on new skills. Give them a chance. Sell them, don’t just issue them orders.

That’s why preferences are better than mandates. Preferences begin a sales process, they give people a chance to learn new skills. Mandates are always a threat, or at least they are perceived as threatening.

Business and government aren’t really so different. Managing is managing, coding is coding. Treat people as they deserve to be treated and most will come good. Treat them as cogs in your machine and the friction will grind that machine down.

Sourece: ZDNET

Tuesday, July 7

Web based POS will not work!

Web is emerging as application platform and many common office services are now moved to web. However there are places where desktop applications win! Let me focus some points why web does not work in POS, especially restaurant POS

  • Web pages (that's just what Web applications are inside a browser) run under a lot of restrictions. They cannot read files - leave alone writing to files from local PC. Biggest demerit of Web application is it cannot easily control required hardware like POS printer or Cash drawer.
  • Web cannot handle printing easily. Its not wise to say impossible but its cheaper to build Application that can handle individual Printers and also generate reports.