Solutions for Printing from Web Browser-Based Applications: WebPRNT

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Receipt technology has advanced dramatically in the last several years. Previously, in every transaction, a customer would pay for their purchases at the POS terminal and accept a printed sales receipt as a proof of purchase in case they needed to make a return or exchange. Mobility, however, has revolutionized POS and changed the process of providing a customer with a receipt.

Star Micronics has developed a variety of printing solutions for mPOS, including two that facilitate receipt printing from Web-based applications via HTTP(s) and from a project on an Android device or iOS hardware such as iPad®, iPhone®, or iPod touch®. These solutions, WebPRNT and PassPRNT solve common problems merchant often encounter with mobile printing.

Print from a Web Browser-Based Application with WebPRNT

WebPRNT, which enables device-agnostic receipt printing technology, supports HTTP(s) requests used in Wed-based applications. It facilitates printing on any Star Micronics WebPRNT-enabled printer – including receipt, label, and kitchen printers – from any local device running a Web-based application.

This low cost, versatile solution to printing from Web browser-based applications allows users to print high-quality POS receipts with professional, crisp graphics on Star’s line of WebPRNT-compatible printers.

How It Works:

You can use any device you want when you download WebPRNT, so businesses can eliminate the need to spend money on upgrading their current hardware. This solution enables local printing from a device with a browser to a compatible WebPRNT printer (desktop or mobile) on the same network.

WebPRNT is easy to read, maintain, and modify for developers. It works with XML tags or a JavaScript software development kit (SDK) that is integrated into the Web application’s code. This functionality can be extended to Bluetooth printers by using the WebPRNT Browser with no changes to the Web code. In addition to Web-based applications, Star’s WebPRNT also supports HTTP(s) requests from native applications.

One advantage of integrating WebPRNT is that the application the engineer or developer creates can give a retailer more complete control of printing, such as the ability to adjust the formatting, operate the cash drawer, or check the status of the printer. It also enables additional, innovative features to be added to the print application including digital receipts and other cloud services.

WebPRNT technology is available with several of Star Micronics’ printers including the TSP650II WebPRNT, SP700 WebPRNT, TSP700II WebPRNT, TSP800II WebPRNT, as well as any of Star’s Bluetooth printers using WebPRNT Browser.

Why Choose WebPRNT:

  • Easy to use. WebPRNT eliminates time spent downloading software and installing drivers. The app enables printing from any local device hosting a Web-based application (e.g., Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) to a Star WebPRNT-enabled receipt printer.
  • Affordable. WebPRNT enables printing from any application or operating platform without the need for expensive, multi-platform development costs.
  • Compatible. WebPRNT allows users to print from their application to a WebPRNT-enabled receipt printer from any device, regardless of its operating platform.

To learn more about WebPRNT and find out if your Star Micronics receipt printer supports WebPRNT, please visit http://starmicronics.com/pages/WebPRNT.

Download our eBook: Solutions for Printing from Web Browser-Based Applications on iOS, Android, and Windows

5 Reasons Retailers are Moving to Web-Based Applications for POS

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Web-based applications have changed the IT landscape because they require little upfront investment, update frequently, and businesses typically can use the hardware they already own. This affordable alternative to traditional, on-premises POS software keeps databases and information secure, with around-the-clock access from any location or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Although their applications apply to virtually all markets and industries, Web-based applications have had a particularly large impact on retail point of sale (POS). Consider these five reasons: Can your POS system do this?

1. Effortless Scheduling. A Web-based application means you can access back office functions from anywhere, anytime. This empowers managers to update schedules and view time off or vacation requests quickly and easily from any mobile device. Employees can view their work schedules and request time off through an easy-to-use interface, even when they aren’t in the store.

2. Easy Inventory Access. According to retail advisory firm IHL Group, inventory errors cost retailers $1.75 million every year. The number one reason these errors occur is because of internal process failures, which can be prevented by a Web-based application. Inventory is tracked in real time, instead of updating hourly or daily. Employees can easily see which items are on-hand, in-transit or on-order. This is especially important if you’re managing stock at multiple stores because it allows managers to place an order for all the stores from one location.

3. Order Online, Pick Up in Store. People are seeking out an omnichannel shopping experience so it’s no surprise that the “buy online, pick up in store” is becoming even more popular. It’s the perfect solution for people who want the instant gratification of getting their item the same day, while saving on shipping costs. Web-based application inventory management is updated in real time, so customers can see what’s in stock while they are shopping. It also allows them to select a different location if their item is out of stock, and have it shopped to the closest store for pickup.

4. Offsite Access. Traditional POS systems may require you to be on-site to work on back office functions or review reports, but a Web-based application lets business owners and managers access the system from anywhere with Internet access. Web-based applications store data in the cloud, so it’s open 24/7 for managers to run reports, schedule staff, and manage inventory from home while on a businesses trip, or late at night.

5. Save a Webpage (Like an App) to a Mobile Device Home Screen. Business owners and managers can save a shortcut to their Web portal – like an app – right to their smartphone or tablet so they can log in with just a few clicks. This technology, which brings their entire operation right to their fingertips, is compatible with iPhone® and Android™ OS platforms. Customers can also take advantage of your store’s Web-based application for easy, one-click ordering (if available). Having your store’s webpage available on a customer’s home screen will help ensure your store will always be their first stop.

Increasingly, retailers are opting for Web-based applications due to their ease of use, the expanded capabilities they offer, and the enhanced customer experiences they can help provide. Web-based applications are an affordable alternative to legacy POS systems that can help move your business toward greater efficiency and competitiveness.

Bac’n Me Crazy Improves Customer Wait with Star Micronics and Wholly App

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Bac’n Me Crazy is a gourmet food truck based in Charleston, SC that specializes in out of this world dishes that are loaded with bacon. Bac’n Me Crazy was one of many food trucks in the Charleston area that was searching for a way to help their customers avoid the crazy and unpredictable South Carolina weather, and create a smoother workflow for employees. Wholly App and Star Micronics teamed up to provide Bac’n Me Crazy with the ideal solution for their food truck.

Bac’n Me Crazy, one of the most popular food trucks in Charleston, SC, was searching for a way to make ordering not only easier for the customer, but for the employees as well. The unpredictable east coast weather made standing in line at an outdoor food truck an undesirable prospect for customers. Always putting the customer first, Bac’n Me Crazy sought an online ordering solution from Wholly App that would help to make the ordering experience more convenient for customers, and create an easier and smoother workflow for employees.

By installing Wholly App’s solution with Star’s TSP650IIBTi printer and WebPRNT, Bac’n Me Crazy was able to not only create a better ordering experience for customers, but improve the overall daily workflow of their business. Wholly App was able to create a customized solution for Bac’n Me Crazy, allowing customers to order from their phones, and receive an alert when their order is ready. When the customer ordered, the order would be sent directly to the Star printer using WebPRNT. WebPRNT eliminates the need to install any drivers, and enables printing from Wholly App’s native application built specifically for Bac’n Me Crazy. Star’s TSP650IIBTi has the durability to withstand the rush hours, and offers ultimate mobility with its Bluetooth feature, allowing employees to move the printer throughout the truck as necessary.

AR-160129982 “This solution has been a dream come true for us,” says Jason Broz, Founder of Bac’n Me Crazy. “Wholly App and Star Micronics’ solution allowed us to increase our business and make the lives of our customers easier – which is really the most important thing to us.”

“When developing this app for Bac’n Me Crazy and thinking of printing options, Star was our first choice,” says Mike Werner, Found of Wholly App. “The TSP650IIBTi with WebPRNT made our job so much easier by providing a mobile and durable solutions that could print orders right from the app.”

 

Download the full success story here: Star – Bac’n Me Crazy Case Study

4 Solutions to Overcome Mobile Printing Challenges

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Point of sale (POS) is no longer limited to the traditional, fixed model. Merchants have tried and proven the benefits of mobility. They can complete payment transactions in-aisle of tableside, and set up additional checkouts for line busting.

Here are four common challenges merchants face with mobile printing and the solutions that will help you overcome them.

Challenge 1: Printing from an iOS, Android, or Windows Native App

With most legacy applications, many POS printers and printer brands could be used by just installing the right Windows driver. Since iOS and Android operating systems do not have a print engine to support drivers, the printer functions need to be integrated inside the POS software, thus limiting the choice. Fortunately, these companies have usually integrated the best of breed printers which make for an easy choice.

Solution: SDK Integration

A software development kit (SDK) helps software engineers or developers to speed up the process to support special features (like printing) in software applications. The printing SDKs needed to create applications are usually available for developers to download from the printer hardware manufacturer. For example, iOS applications traditionally use Objective-C or Swift programming language, while Android uses Java.

An advantage to SDK integration is that the application your software engineer or developer creates can give you more complete control of printing, such as adjusting print formatting, controlling the cash drawer, or checking the status of the printer. It also enables additional, innovative features to be added to the print application such as digital receipts and other cloud services.

Challenge 2: Printing from a Web Browser Application

Advanced Web standards, such as HTML5, give developers the ability to build Web-based applications with nearly the same level of features as native (local) applications. Web applications have the added advantage of allowing live, automatic updating so that customers always have the most up-to-date version of the software since the application lives in the cloud.

If the POS software is Web-based, the issue isn’t which mobile device the application is running on. Most Web-based solutions are device agnostic: if the device can connect to the Internet, it can usually use the application. In this case, it’s necessary for the printer to receive data directly from the Web-based application.

Solution: WebPRNT

Star’s JavaScript-based WebPRNT technology allows complete control of any Star WebPRNT Ethernet interface printer. Developers can use Star’s JavaScript library and Builder API to integrate a Web-based application with a WebPRNT printer. In addition, this functionality can be extended to Bluetooth printers by using the WebPRNT Browser with little to no changes.

Challenge 3: Printing from a FileMaker™ Project

FileMaker Go is a free app that runs FileMaker applications, such as those for POS and retail management solutions on iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod Touch®. Traditionally, it has not been possible to print from applications such as FileMaker Go to point of sale and mobile printers.

Solution: PassPRNT

Star’s PassPRNT application solves the problem of printing from FileMaker applications. Any FileMaker Go project, native iOS or Androud application, or Web application can send the receipt in an HTML format to the PassPRNT application using a URL Scheme. The PassPRNT native application then formats the receipt for the printer and sends it to any Star Bluetooth printer paired with the iOS device. The operating system can automatically switch from the FileMaker application to the PassPRNT application and back, making seamless, “one-tap” printing possible.

Challenge 4: Continuing to use a Legacy Windows Application with Newer Mobile Hardware

In some instances, a merchant may want to update its hardware to be more mPOS compatible, but also wants to continue to use their legacy system running an OS such as Windows or Linux. Examples may include a PC upgraded to a Microsoft Surface, or a desktop serial or parallel printer upgraded to a network or Bluetooth POS printer.

Solutions: Update Hardware and Drivers

Most legacy applications can be used on the latest Windows 8.1 or 10 tablets. But like any new installation, the new hardware needs to be set up, meaning new drivers, and new configuration. Network printers (either LAN or WLAN) are usually recommended for mPOS system, however new Bluetooth printers are often as powerful and easier to set up. In this configuration, the old cash drawer can be connected to the new printer. However, if the decision is made to use a mobile printer, more modifications are needed. Since 90% of all cash drawers are usually driven by a POS printer, if a portable printer is now used, you will need to update your cash drawer to a wireless one, or integrate DK-AirCash to bring the old drawer to an Ethernet or wireless configuration.

To learn more, download out eBook: How Printer Software Technology is Evolving to Accommodate mPOS

Going Mobile with a Web-Based Strategy

Web-based software is software you use over the internet with a web browser. Web-based software is used every day by people all over the world. POS software providers see the growing demand and are meeting that demand by creating web-based solutions for their customers.

Why are people using web-based POS?

  • The key advantage to web-based software is that all your data is centralized and accessible over the web from any device on any operating platform at any time. You can get to it from anywhere at any time. Safe, secure, and password protected, of course.
  • Another advantage is that unlike traditional software that requires you to download and install updates yourself, web-based software is updated automatically. Whenever you use web-based software you’re always using the latest and greatest version. The only thing you have to check is making sure your browser is up to date to support the web-based software you are using.
  • Ultimately, when you use web-based software your office is everywhere. At work, at home, a hotel, at a client’s office, even on your mobile phone. Your data is accessible anywhere with internet access.

To support businesses using any number of web-based applications such as point of sale for retail or hospitality, Star Micronics created its WebPRNT technology.  WebPRNT is Star’s innovative solution enabling device-agnostic receipt printing technology that supports HTTP requests used in web-based applications. WebPRNT utilizes a library of commands based on JavaScript/HTML format that allows Web applications to print on a Star printer without the need of installing a driver. Rather, the print commands are embedded and integrated within the web-based software.

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Instead of making developers use printer specific line mode print commands, WebPRNT makes the integration process more intuitive for developers by allowing the use of XML tags that are commonly used in web development and even native applications or WebPRNT’s ready-made Javascript library of commands. The time saved in development directly translates into a more rapid deployment. Also, since WebPRNT is integrated in the web-based software, it is device agnostic and can be used for multiple operating platforms. Star’s WebPRNT help developers streamline the development process which maximizes value and cost savings. To learn more about WebPRNT please click here to visit Star’s Technology Page.