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    A friend of mine wants me to create a web-based (don't ask why it has to be web-based) application for his restaurant with the following functionality:

    User (restaurant host) enters in number of meals ordered, from various options, using a touch-screen.

    Application needs to be able to process the input and create corresponding output, to be sent to a printer (ie, just print receipts for customers).

    Application does not have to be particularly fast or efficient.

    The problem is that my friend is a crack-fiend, and if I do this for him, he's going to want me to create a database that tracks total orders and various other options, and it will probably eventually transform into some kind of inventory system, with the database being held on the remote server.

    Will PHP be able to do all of this? Specifically, what can I use to send data directly to a printer?

    ...

    Other random question... I'm probably going to start making cheesy shopping carts for other sites soon. I doubt I'll ever be asked to make something incredibly professional looking or complex - just simple interfaces that send out email verification and track sales. Is PHP okay for these needs as well?

    Thanks in advance,
    Eric Johnson

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    OK, I won't ask... **rod mumbles something about ignorant clients**

    PHP will work great for both. For the restaurant, tho, as much as it hurts me to say it, you'll probably find it best to use Win32 for the server. This way you can use COM objects to control the printing. Simply doctor up a template in Word and PHP can control the content and print the doc.

    Using COM and Word is much easier, IMHO, then using PDFLib. Printing raw isn't pretty. Also, the end user can easily customize the template allowing seasonal comments, etc. to be implemented with ease. Furthermore, they probably use something like a thermal printer for the receipts. If they should change models then it'll be easier to implement the changes, just alter the page setup in Word.

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