Webix in Practice: point of sale solution

A new showcase is ready. This time we talk to Olivier Vidal, CEO of the Melkal company. The company offers POS software. They provide management systems for traders and restaurants. 

interview with Olivier Vidal

Hello Olivier, nice to have you with us! Tell us a little about yourself.

I come from a small village in the south-west of France, close to the vineyards of Bordeaux. I lived in Bordeaux, Paris, and the Paris region. For a long time, I have been passionate about IT development, so I have learned a lot myself. Currently, I have my own software company, Melkal. It specializes in SaaS for stores (POS software).

How did you come to choose this market?

I like working with freelancers and independent work. I was a shopkeeper myself in the past. I was very young and enthusiastic. At that time I realized that business management software was not very well developed for stores. Our software is 100% cloud-based. The choice was made from the outset because I wanted to offer a solution that was easy to use and could run on several devices and in several places, all simultaneously.

interview with Olivier Vidal

Is it a competitive market?

Yes, it is highly competitive. And there are a lot of new players on the market. The new international financial startups (iZettle, Sumup, Square), for example, have a knock-on effect on traditional banks, which now offer their customers a complete set of services, including store management software. There are also many non-financial startups attracted by this market thanks to the recurring income from the cloud. And of course, all the traditional players, developers of business management software and IT Services & Software Engineering.

Is store management software difficult to develop?

Yes, the products are much more complex than they look. First of all, because there are so many different types of stores, each with its own business needs. The requirements of a clothing store are completely different from those of a bookstore, a restaurant, a DIY store, an electronics store, a hairdresser, a beauty salon, a dry cleaner, etc. Each store has very specific needs and we have to meet all of them. It’s much more than billing and inventory management software. 

interview with Olivier Vidal

Secondly, the users are traders, not people who are used to computers and offices. IT is not their job, so the product must be very closely adapted to their context, especially with different ergonomics from office software, which has to be rebuilt from scratch. The software should be finely integrated into the hardware (for example, a receipt printer, barcode scanner, label printer, etc.). We have to manage all these types of hardware, and often in the hardware manufacturer’s programming language. There is no driver as there is for classic printers for example.

Finally, these types of software are subject to strong accounting obligations and state regulations. In France, for example, POS software must be delivered with a tax certificate. To do this, the software must guarantee data inalterability, secure archives, a secure fiscal signature on each sale, and payment, etc. And of course, we must also be able to communicate finely with all the accounting software on the market.

Sounds complex! How did you discover Webix?

By studying the professional JavaScript frameworks on the market. It was a long time ago now, but it was the best and most complete. And it hasn’t changed!

What is your general opinion of the Webix library?

The product seduced me immediately because it’s technically very well built, elegant, and efficient. A superb product. It’s not that common. A lot of frameworks take the wrong path, try to follow trends, can’t focus on what’s essential.

With Webix, I can work in pure JavaScript, fully mastering the requests between server and client. This means that I don’t have to integrate Webix into other Angular-type frameworks, which would make the whole thing slower and generate many more requests. 

Besides, the library is extremely comprehensive, which is very impressive. I’ve never been limited by Webix. Whatever your needs are, you’ll always find the solution with Webix in an elegant and fast way. There are all the controls and widgets you need. There are even more controls and widgets in Webix than in the manufacturers’ native development tools! Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook don’t offer such complete and professional tools.

What is more important is that all the controls are complete and very flexible to use. The events, properties, and methods are numerous and full, each one answering a precise request. The coherence is perfect. There are often unpleasant surprises in frameworks, with a lot of limitations that you don’t see at first. This is not the case with Webix. It’s a very mature tool, but it has kept the freshness and lightness of the startup. This is very rare.

The rendering speed is also impressive. Even if you need to manage tens of thousands of lines in a data table. Webix is really very fast, making the most of the possibilities of web browsers. I’ve never seen such a fast tool!

That is very nice to hear, thank you! Do you use any of the complex widgets?

Yes, mainly SpreadSheet. It’s great to have such a tool available in the browser! We use it for our data import/export, as well as for updating data in tables. We like the fast keyboard navigation in the table, the possibility to copy/paste on many rows, columns, or cells at once, the possibility to use formulas to calculate, for example, promotion prices based on prices or margins indicated in other cells.

What would you like to improve in the library?

The use of the library on mobiles and tablets is not yet optimal. The scrolling of lists and tables, the widening or reduction of columns are not yet well adapted to touch screens, I think.

The management of dates in the SpreadSheet does not suit me as well.

Do you use other JavaScript tools?

RequireJS, Bootstrap, Mobiscroll.

Would you recommend Webix?

Without hesitation. It’s very productive, complete, and elegant. I would add that Webix’s helpdesk is also very efficient.

Thank you, Olivier, for your feedback. We are glad you are happy with our services, and we’ll continue doing our best.

If you are also a Webix user, and you have something to tell about your experience, please, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to learn your feedback.