5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 6, 2014 11:07 AM by cosmocanuck

    Can filemaker integrate with a POS system?


      Based on my preliminary searching on this topic, it seems to be possible, but what would be a recommended approach that is cross-platform? (I only found reference here to a Windows-only solution...) This is a requirement for a client I am about to agree to build a FMP solution for, and I wouldn't want it to turn into the deal-breaker for a project I think I can otherwise handle. Any suggestions or tips are most welcome!

        • 1. Re: Can filemaker integrate with a POS system?

          There are Point of Sale solutions for FileMaker where FileMaker is the POS system.  But I think you are asking FileMaker to talk to another POS system.  The answer is, it depends.  It could be a closed proprietary system that doesn't talk to other databases.  Most POS systems I have looked at are based on Microsoft SQL Server and you can make an ODBC connection and use External SQL data Source (ESS) to work with the POS data in FileMaker.  But it depends on if the POS software company will allow the ODBC connection or not.  It is not a technical limitation, it is a matter or licensing.  FileMaker plays best with SQL databases from Microsoft, Oracle and MySQL.  It will actually work with any ODBC compliant database, but only to import and export records.  Only MS SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL databases will let FileMaker use their tables pretty much as if they were FileMaker tables by making table occurrences of the external data.  And of course ESS requires you have current versions of those databases and might not work with older versions. 

          • 2. Re: Can filemaker integrate with a POS system?

            One thing I forgot to mention, while ODBC is the main way I have made such connections, it is not the only way FileMaker can talk to external data sources.  Lately I've been doing a lot of API calls using HTTP POST, some of which I can natively do in FileMaker and some of which I need to use the free Base Elements plugin from Goya (thanks, Goya!).  And there are other ways to talk such as using Custom Web Publishing and PHP or JDBC, XML, etc. 


            And while your POS may not play friendly with other databases, all of the POS systems I have looked at have export functions to export say to an Excel table that can then be imported into FileMaker.  But it is not as slick and easy as using an ODBC connection and ESS. 

            • 3. Re: Can filemaker integrate with a POS system?

              Thanks - that's very helpful info! I'm actually working with a colleague who is more of a general, non-Filemaker DB expert, and between the two of us and armed with this info, I'm hopeful  we'll now sort it out. Thanks again!

              • 4. Re: Can filemaker integrate with a POS system?

                It's dependent on the POS system.  Does it have an API, do you have access to the underlying tables? What exactly are you trying to achieve and what bridges are available?

                • 5. Re: Can filemaker integrate with a POS system?

                  Good questions all, SWL. All I've seen in my preliminary tour of their system was that people could make payments via the POS device, and their transaction would get added to the system without the employee needing to manually enter it in. I'll get the full scoop on my next in-depth visit... and find out the answer to all these questions!