TechRepublic member Chris Komeshak asked the following question regarding my recent DIY post about FrontAccounting.

Q: My question has to do with bar codes when dealing with inventory. Does FrontAccounting do bar codes?
A: Since FrontAccounting is a web-based client/server system, the web browser has no direct access to the hardware on the PC, which makes hardware integration challenging. But, because a keyboard-wedge barcode scanner simply acts as if it were keyboard input, this type of scanner should work fine.

If you want to integrate with credit card processing (for the FA POS features), it probably won’t work; for a simple item import, it’s possible to make this work. The problem is the scanner will not work directly with FrontAccounting. You’ll probably have to do some cutting and pasting into the FrontAccounting item entry screen. If you already have a keyboard-wedge scanner, plug it in and give it a try. If you don’t have one, I recommend getting one on the cheap or borrowing one before you drop the coin. The way the scanner works will depend greatly on your OS and the scanner you have. If scanner entry is a must-have for inventory or POS, a tool such as Openbravo POS might be required (I will be covering Openbravo POS in an upcoming DIY post).

Remember that FrontAccounting is an accounting system. I used FrontAccounting as an inventory system for a small business with a small inventory. Businesses with larger inventories (where manual entry is not an option) are better off going with a POS-specific system.

As for printing barcodes, FrontAccounting does not have a module for this yet. I scoured their forums and know they are interested to find out whether there is enough interest in such a feature to warrant rolling it in. If you need a barcode printer for a Linux system, I recommend looking into KBarcode, which is a fantastic barcode system that even does batch printing.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I’ll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)