Unicentaopos 

I discovered Unicenta late in 2012,  following a conversation with a friend who owns a tropical fish shop in Stoke on Trent. We discussed the idea of POS software that he could  possibly use  in his shop. 

Unicentaopos, has its roots based in Openbravo, which is no longer under direct development by the authors in its opensource format. Jack Gerrard, is the founder of Unicenta , and it is his intention to take Unicenta forward, continuing its development.

The software was downloaded and tested, and it was at this point that,  its unsuitability for use in the fish shop, ( as it stood), was discovered. The main problem was how do set up the product file for the fish species, when the range of these is so large. The first approach was to set up a fish product to the smallest possible price, 1p in our case. That would mean if the fish was £5.00 then the user needed to enter 500 x fish (1p), the only issue on the receipt it printed as 500 units at 1p. A better solution was needed.

Unicentaopos, is an open source product. I therefore downloaded the source, to start  looking for a solution to my friends problem. That is when I came across  my first hurdle, the product is written in Java, and I had no experience of Java programming. Most of my programming was done years ago using Z80 assembly, x86 assembly, Lotus script for Domino and various versions of basic, plus a dabble with C++.  The next hurdle was learning to use a new IDE, this was not too bad as most of IDE's are based on the same principle.

So, I knuckled down to start learning how to programme in Java, and soon found lots of learning material on the internet, the biggest tool was Youtube. One good source I found was from 'The cave of programming', and I recommend this as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn Java.

The first update I released, addressed the pricing issue for my friend. This was the variable price product, which allowed the user to set up a product with no fixed price. On use, the user enters the price and then selects the product. I released this code to the other users of the product, via the Unicenta forum. The next item I needed to address was, my friend had over 5000 products to add to the software, what a task that would be. We had a conversation with his suppliers who said that they could supply the details in a spreadsheet, great I thought how to get them into the software? The next item that I spent time on writing, was the CSV import tool. Again which was released to the general users via the forum. The was only one problem at this point in time, I WAS HOOKED, and wanted to learn more. I watched the forum and repsonded to requests for changes, if I thought the idea was worth the effort, I tried to work on a solution.  This resulted in a large number of updates to the software, which were incorporated into a release in 2013. 

My updates on the forum generated a large amount of interest, resulting in a thread with over 38,000 views. I would also like to say that without the support of the forum members, I do not know how far I would have pushed any changes. I feel that thanks should go to some forum members in particuliar, as they provided a great deal of time in testing, so a big thanks to Chris j, Jimmy (DVBHardware) and Arthur for their time. And a special thanks to Jack Gerrard for bringing us Unicenta and feeling that my changes were worthy of being included in the product.

It took almost a year before I finally completed my first installation of the software (2014), this was at my friends shop 'Kidsgrove Tropicals' Stoke on Trent. This was then followed by another install for a friend in Harrogate, who runs Vanilli's, that specializes in Artisan Ice Cream.

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