Facebook’s coolest innovations aren’t only found on its website.The company’s newest employee restaurant, Out The Window, features a slick home-made online ordering system that lets staffers pick anything from chicken nuggets to Mexican pizza on their iPads and pick up the grub within 15 minutes.
Even better, the system will help Facebook fine-tune the offerings on its menu as efficiently as it does the content in its users’ timelines.
The app itself is built using Facebook’s increasingly popular React Native framework, which makes building smartphone and tablet aps a lot more like programming a website.
A big part of React Native’s appeal is that you can update an app without having to wait for it to recompile.
Recompilation is a big time-waster, and Facebook says that React Native helps them build and improve apps (like the Out the Window ordering system) much faster than otherwise possible.
On the backend, the ordering system uses the Parse cloud application platform, which again simplifies development by providing lots of common building blocks.
In this case, Parse acts as the middleman, sending the orders to a thermal printer (like the kind cash registers use) to provide an order ticket to the kitchen. The printer itself is hooked up to a Raspberry Pi to process those orders.
And with this system, “our chefs can quickly see how many orders they’ve served, which dishes are most popular, and how many unique customers they’ve had on a given day.
“By combining Parse, React, and a serial printer, we’ve built a point-of-sale system using straightforward building blocks. The results so far have been delicious,” says the blog.
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