An update of the POS Box developments by OpenERP R&D teams:
In a nutshell, the software development on the Point of Sale is done, merged in trunk and deployed on our SaaS platform. The overall speed of the POS has been further improved and it now works with 100 000 product listings.
The PosBox software is done as well, everything works, has been tested and re-tested. Receipt printing, barcode scanning, cashbox opening, network auto-discovery, etc. And as a last minute surprise, we also secured funding to add more full time developers on the Point of Sale, who will develop everything needed for bars and restaurants !
Unfortunately, we had issues with our hardware suppliers, which means the shipping could not be done on time. Shipping of the hardware kits has started for some of our European partners, the rest will start shipping in a week or two.
We've based our developments around the Epson TM-T20 Thermal Printer, a very popular and affordable model that suits most business needs. The Posbox communicates with the TM-T20 printer with the ESC/POS protocol and will thus work with other 80mm ESC/POS printers - although we need to whitelist them in the driver, see discussion on the community mailing list on this subject.
We've tried our best to make sure that everything is entirely plug and play, works around user errors, and require as little technical expertise as possible. In other words it 'Just Works'. For example, the printer driver will auto-detect and configure the correct language settings. This currently works with Latin and Cyrillic based languages and a few eastern based languages, there is on ongoing work to support the remaining ones, please join the mailing list discussion if you are interested in helping us.
The receipt design has also been much improved. It now displays your company's logo and custom header and footer message can be added from the backend. A tax detail listing all the separate tax subtotals has been added as well.
The cashdrawer simply connects to the receipt printer, and will open automatically when a cash payment is processed. It can also be opened manually in the POS's payment screen. While we recommend the Metapace K-1, we have successfully tested many other models and we are confident it will work with any Epson compatible cashdrawer.
Barcode scanning was already supported out of the box by the previous version, but now you can use the posbox to scan barcodes on devices lacking a usb port. While we recommend the Metapace S-61, any decent barcode scanner should work out of the box.
Setting up the PosBox couldn't be easier, just plug it to the local network, and start the POS from a locally connected device. The device will quickly auto-detect and connect to the PosBox with all peripherals ready to use.
On the client-side the PosBox status indicator will notify the user of any potential problem.
Technically, the PosBox consists of a barbone OpenERP install with just three OpenERP python modules: hw_proxy, hw_escpos and hw_scanner. Those modules and their functionalities can be modified and extended just like any other OpenERP module. They are not restricted to the posbox and can be installed and used on any linux machine. So if you are running the Point of Sale from a laptop or desktop computer, the PosBox can be replaced by a barebones local OpenERP install.
The posbox is based on a Raspberry Pi platform with the software placed on a SD-Card, if you already have a Raspberry Pi you can already test the posbox by running it with the PosBox disk image
Other Point of Sale Improvements
The loading time of the Point of Sale has been vastly improved, it is now possible to load 100 000 products in less than a minute. And this waiting time will be reduced to zero when we finish to implement the client-side data cache. OpenERP's Point of Sale should now be an incredibly fast experience !
We were too short on the timing get the digital scale driver in a releasable state for the release, it will be released later as a PosBox software update. The documentation still needs some work as well and is our current priority.
Other issues we are working on is making the PosBox boot faster, ideally we would like it to be ready under 10 seconds as currently it takes a little less than a minute, and that boot delay can be confusing. We are also going to put a remote update mechanism so that you don't need to swap sd-cards to get updates.
As for the partner demo data we promised as part of the campaign, they will be ready for the release of OpenERP v8 which is just around the corner.
But the biggest task, is adding support for bars & restaurants, with table management, etc. Additional developers will be dedicated to this task. The POS project is taking off fast!
So as you can see, we have still a lot to do, and that means the campaign continues ! So this is not the last blog post, and we'll keep you updated with exiting news!
Shipping & Delivery
Mid January 2014, we have started to ship the Barcode Scanners, Receipt Printers and Cashdrawers to our European customers. As for the PosBox, we have already received most the hardware, but we are still waiting for the SD-Cards and power supplies. They are scheduled to arrive mid-February 2014, then we will sill need a few days to install the software and do the packaging.
More information on how to use OpenERP in your Point of Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org