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Re: [seul-edu] Cafeteria management software


I have sent a few emails to Jacques Fortier, who has offered to help us
out.  Although the need to interface with cash registers and bar code
readers is are features that would definitely make this more marketable,
it is not required, and actually would be of no help to us right now, as
we don't have the equipment (or money at present) to get it.

We have a small school, serving lunch and food purchases to about 300
kids during three different periods.  But with the complexity of
everything, it's becoming more needed to do this with automation...
which brings us to a program.  I had been thinking all summer that
I would start on something, but because this was a new job for me,
I spent the time fixing computers, networks, and various other jobs to
get the school ready for the new year, and never dove into PHP or MySQL
databases as I really wanted to.  They're on the list for this year
since I'll hopefully be working with some students on it.  I had even
considered trying to do something with Zope and Python, but am just now
getting around to that.

What Jacques and other had said, is that a PHP / MySQL combo would do
that trick, as I thought it would.  They suggested doing a stand alone,
Netscape terminal, for the interface, although, I believe in the long
run it would be better if it was a computer that "served" this, to allow
access to the information from other computers via a browser.  In the
long run, if some features could be used throughout the network (like
inputting money in the morning from the office where it's collected from
homeroom), that would be great.

The basic deal is this.  The program keeps track of individual student
money accounts, as well as the numbers of lunches, milks, candy, ice
cream, etc. that is sold.  The pricing system would be an if/then kind
of thing.  If there's money in the account already (enough for the
lunch) it's $1.30.  If they pay 25 at a time it's $1.25 for each of the
25 lunches.  If they charge it, it's $1.35.  Milk and other things are
various prices that would be added / taken out of the student account as
needed.  And of course, what makes it true POS, is that a student can
just buy something on the spot without having to keep track of the
money, just putting that in the total for the day.

Students can be IDed anyway, I was thinking of numbers for now, or their
computer IDs, which is their initials and graduation year (abc01).
Doesn't matter.

So there you have it.  When I see how much companies are making on this
kind of application, and realizing that all they were doing was making a
nice interface to a database, I knew their had to be a way to make or
reuse some other application.

Thanks for the interest.  I'll be willing to help with whatever I can,
but may not be of much programing use.

Ryan Booz
Tech Coordinator
Belleville Mennonite School

Doug Loss wrote:

> I noticed this with considerable interest, as that's the kind of
> program I started out my academic career supporting.  Is there any
> active development going on here?  Ryan, what's the status at your
> end?  If there isn't anything in the works at the moment, we should
> use Ryan's description of features as a starting point and get to
> work.  This seems like a fairly straightforward database
> application.  The only complication I can think of (and I may just
> be making this up myself) would be getting card-readers and cash
> registers defined properly as terminals to make the SQL queries to
> the database.  That assumes of course that that's what the cashiers
> on the lines are using to enter data.
> --
> Doug Loss                 God is a comedian playing
> Data Network Coordinator  to an audience too afraid
> Bloomsburg University     to laugh.
> dloss@bloomu.edu                Voltaire