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Interface Options for Fieldpine

Fieldpine systems offer a number of interface techniques for interfacing alternative systems to meet the differing requirements of interfaces

Command Line Interfaces

Mesh Utility

The Mesh command line utility provides a simple but powerful way to read, write and monitor your system.

Programatic Interfaces

For interfaces used by applications and external systems the following methods are most commonly used.

Generic eCommerce

This API provides a simple generic method to interface websites that need access to a limited set of information, such as the ability to read products and upload sales.


The RetailApi is a RESTful like API that permits controlled read and write access to logical components in the retail system. This api is available on both internal network channels and public internet channels (if enabled). It supplies a restricted set of information when operating on the internet. This API is primarily used by systems with small needs such as phone apps and simple web pages.

eLink API

The recommended protocol for high functionality interfacing is called 'eLink' which allows full read and write access to all logical components in the retail system. This interface is used by Fieldpine application itself and all web reports and management screens are using eLink.

As a protocol, eLink defines the message packets (read a product, change a customers phone number, etc) but you can transport these messages however you wish. Web browsers typically use HTTP direct to the server, but you can also email them to the server (if configured and enabled) or place them in flat files for bulk loading. When using eLink as a web api you can use either XML or JSON, with a few rare exceptions

eLink operates at the logical data level, meaning you get information about a "product" or "sale", but the exact details of where and how this is stored is left to the Fieldpine application


The WebApi is a technical interface to instore trading lanes. It is not for external interfacing and provides a way to connect instore devices and other programs to active trading lanes. For example, Customer Displays using browsers use this API to retrieve active sale details to display to the customer.

Mesh Application

PRELIMINARY Subject to change

Mesh applications are programs or dlls you can create to interact with the Fieldpine system via supported APIs. The applications load a Fieldpine interface DLL to gain read and write access to the servers. These applications are implicitly mesh aware and can run in both online and offline mode.

Mesh applications work at logical business level the same as the eLink API above.

Direct Database

You can interface directly at the database layer, however for writing this is strongly discouraged as the Fieldpine application may not be able to detect changes to the physical data. Direct database is acceptable for introductory reporting however. The main issue with accessing the database directly is that the database schema is not fully publically documented and is subject to change without notice. The eLink API provides a constant definition and does not change over time.

Direct database operates at the physical data level.


Advanced users can create DLLs to interact directly with the system at either the lane level or backoffice level. These DLLs use the same technique as "Mesh Applications" and work by loading a DLL to communicate to Fieldpine. DLLs can also take part in the actual sale process or provide additional device interfaces to the Point Of Sale.

Specific Interfaces

The Fieldpine system also includes a number of built in interfaces to different systems

This page outlines a number of typical interface examples and how they are best solved.

Interfacing an eCommerce Website

Use the "Generic eCommerce" interface. If you out grow this interface then changing to a full eLink interface is not difficult as the generic ecommerce interface is a subset of eLink.

Extract to Accounting System

The major deciding factor for selecting this type of interface is what toolsets you are most used to and what options the accounting system provides. The following table summarises the differences

RequirementeLink APIDatabase
How to read sales Open the API and read from retailmax.elink.sales.XYZ bucket endpoints. This can be done using common utilities such as wget or embedded in your own program.

Works easily from different networked machines

API provides a feed clean from irrelevant sales

Open the database directly and run a query over sales, salelines and payments tables.

Typically needs ODBC connection defined

Program needs to clean from raw data feed

How do I mark sales as "extracted"? (See note 1 below) Use the API and send "edit" commands to mark individual records

or, Use one of the endpoints that both creates a file and updates the database in one operation

Extract program directly updates record in database with "extracted". This can either be one of the pre reserved fields for this purpose or a custom field
What if I want a real-time feed so sales are "posted" instantly? Both the eLink and database interfaces would require the use of polling to detect new sales, and both would cause about the same amount of load on the system each time it is polled. Please contact Fieldpine if you require a high performance non polled technique
  1. There are two major ways of extracting sales. One system uses a flag in the POS system to say "extracted", and then queries only request records that aren't flagged extracted. The other technique extracts all records over a wide time period and then checks each entry to see if it is already posted to secondary systems.

    The first technique reduces the load on the target system, but adds a slight timing issue where data might be inserted in the target system but the flag doesnt get set.

    The second technique is more reliable, but does require more support from the target system to support either blocking or rapid checking.

Import From Accounting System

To load data into the system, it must be processed via Fieldpine to ensure logical integrity. There are a few options

  1. Load the complete CSV or XLSX file directly. Files must be in a layout or structure that can be understood, typically one record per line, and column headings describing that is being loaded
  2. You can individually post records via the API calls to edit products, customers, acounts etc.
  3. For common concepts, such as products, you may directly write to a special loading table, and trigger the POS to read and process each row.

Interfacing a Custom Device

Custom devices allow you to extend the POS by creating your own interfaces to devices and talking to the Point of Sale as events happen.

You can create both event creating devices, (barcode scanner or door entry counter) or driven devices (cameras that take photos on demand, payment interfaces)

There are two main options, the talk_to_fieldpine DLL technique if your interface is going to be running even when Fieldpine POS is not and you want a low level interface. Alternatively, the WebApi for connecting to Windows PosGreen lanes using HTTP.

Visit the talk_to_fieldpine.htm homepage for:

Details about the Mesh Application Interface.

Mesh Application Interface

A Mesh application is a program or dll you write that is able to access Fieldpine as a full service client. As a mesh program it is free to run standalone and be authenticated using non interactive means. Mesh programs are primarily used where:


POS «-- | --»
Process Seperation
Talk_to_Fieldpine.dll «-- | --»
API Interface
Your program logic

The POS usually runs programs using this interface in a seperate process for security and reliability reasons (The POS can autostart your programs, no manual action is required). The talk_to_fieldpine.dll takes care of the communication between your program and the POS, including handling POS restarting. Your program logic receives "packets" of information from the POS which you can respond too. You can also generate "packets" for the POS to react too.

There are open source examples of how this interface can be used. These are provided in C++ and you can download a free C++ compiler from Microsoft. You do not need to use C++, you can use any language that is capable of loading a DLL at runtime and calling functions inside it. We are investigating using WebAssembly in the future too.

Types of Interfaces

Details about the RetailAPI Interface.

RetailAPI Interface

The RetailAPI interface is designed with simplicity of use in mind. It is designed to be consumed by web based apps (or programs using HTTP transport) using internet connected hosts. Retailers who are hosted behind firewalls are able to configure the RetailAPI to use Fieldpine servers and delegate authority to them, rather than opening firewalls and self managing everything.

Further reading: Retail API Developer Information

When to use RetailAPI

RetailAPI is intended to be used when you need access to your retail data from the internet or other web services, but do not want to open and manage your firewall


Return details on product with Id#4.

GET /RetailAPI,1,2,3,4/database/products/Pid/4

Return details on all active products.

GET /RetailAPI,1,2,3,4/database/products

Return details on products with 'maxi' present in any text field. Return a maximum of 82 rows.

GET /RetailAPI,1,2,3,4/database/products?limit=82&search=maxi

Return details on location/store with Id#21.

GET /RetailAPI,1,2,3,4/database/locations/Locid/21

Mesh Command Line Interface

The command line utility allows you to read and write from your mesh storage. It allows a simple interface for scripting languages that cannot easily use TCP protocols. Many mesh command line options have equivalents in the eLink API but the mesh command line saves you from having to know which IP address is the server.

To use the mesh utility, you need

  1. The mesh.exe utility
  2. An authorisation key to connect to the database. Some operations do not require a key
With these two items, you can run the mesh utility anywhere that has a suitable network connection, the utility will "find" the correct and latest path to your data, whether this is on the local network, on a remote store or on a public cloud.

The mesh command line can also be invoked from node.js (on Windows)

Some examples of use

mesh fetch products to abc.xlsx
Read the current set of products and write them to abc.xlsx

This command will try and source the data from the closest machine capable of supplying it. You can override this behaviour by specifying /cloud (fetch directly from public cloud) or /nas (read from NAS device) or options to specify the exact server

mesh write products from abc.xlsx
Update the current products from the records in abc.xlsx This command may require a username/password
mesh write products from sqldb /server=
Update the current products Using the database on the server This command might be used after you have externally changed products directly in the database and wish to ensure these are reflected to all systems.
mesh transactions fetch product.edit [pid=55] to abc.txt
Request all recorded transactions, ie the complete history, for pid#55 to abc.txt
mesh postrace monitor /srcuid=1234
Connect to the licensed machine number 1234 and display all trace lines being generated
mesh clone sqldb to abc.mdb /srcuid=1234
Connect to the licensed machine number 1234 and clone the current database in use to a local database called abc.mdb
mesh clone sqldb to "ODBC;dsn=xyz" /srcuid=1234
Connect to the licensed machine number 1234 and clone the current database in use to a local dsn connection called "xyz"
mesh discover monitor
Listen to the network and report any discovery protocol messages seen. The discovery protocol is used to find nodes in the network. This command can be useful to verify the network is operating correctly