My mom owns a small take-and-bake market, and she's been keeping her menu and inventory on an ugly and messy set of whiteboards behind the counter. I've developed a database that lets her check things in and out of the freezer with a barcode scanner, and we have all our menu and inventory data accurate and available on an in-house MySQL server (running Ubuntu Server).

I want to buy a couple of HDTV displays to mount behind the counter instead of the whiteboards, and have a dedicated computer display a nice-looking digital menu with accurate inventory numbers, a big red line through anything that's out of stock, etc. I can have all the data necessary accessible either directly through MySQL or via a simple JSON API-- but short of making a full-screen web browser with very nit-picky CSS, I'm not sure what software to use for the actual display. Anything come to mind, internet?

Ideally, it should be able to show a little slideshow of food photos on the side, or maybe a scrolling list of specials. I know this is possible, McDonalds is doing it in their new McCafe locations.

TIA, Mike

  • why thank you :) family first. (plus this is all going in my portfolio so... win-win) Jul 11, 2011 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


I'd develop that as a website - something using Javascript/ajax for the visual effects you want. I suggest you use SVG artwork (which, naturally IE doesn't support). If you use SVG decently, your content should look great at any resolution. I don't think it'd have to be particularly complicated.

This approach would leave you free to add/remove display machines at your will. You'd be applying a typical model so you should be able to find lots of helpful resources plus, if you wanted to expose that site to the public, you could with little effort.

Edit: To display this website on your monitors, you can rig up Linux boxes to boot up initially with not graphical managers, then launch a plain X session and finally have them fire up a web browser (like Firefox or Chrome) in fullscreen mode. Naturally, with your server set as the home page. You may also want to code some javascript/ajax brains in to your pages that elegantly refresh page contents and handle server reboots.

  • Thanks for your answer. This is the way I was planning to go, I just wondered if there was a better alternative. I actually already have the freezer check-in station running on a dedicated linux box with a little touchscreen, configured to launch a locked-down fullscreen firefox on boot with the check-in page set as home. I'll probably just do the same thing for the menu display, with more focus on appearance. Jul 11, 2011 at 15:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.