Author Topic: FedEx Practical Apps Discussion  (Read 5573 times)


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FedEx Practical Apps Discussion
« on: May 11, 2007, 05:38:09 am »
I am starting this forum by request to describe to programmers how FedEx is generally used by shop owners to perform tasks.  I'll start it off by saying we've been using FedEx in OSCommerce for quite some time, along with FedEx's Ship Manager software.  Oh, and I can mangle php code quite readily, but not write it.

Here is how our backend works in OSC, which I am guessing is based on the same module logic because it still carries the "Vermonster" tag in the VirtueMart version.

Login to Admin, open an order. 
Ship the order
Confirm the shipping style via the pull down items (ground, air, all the ship options - adjust as necessary)
Adjust the number of packages if necessary
If adjusted, you get a confirmation screen of the new number of packages (the system defaults to one box per item ordered, so we're often moving it down)
Adjust the weight
Click on "Ship"
System talks to the FedEx servers, retrieves a PNG file of the label
Print label on laser printer (FedEx supplies labels)
After this, the back button takes you back to your order list where that order is now flagged as Shipped. 
Customer gets an email from our site with the tracking number and link already inserted.
We can run an end of day shipping summary for the pickup driver

I think this process would be a good start in VirtueMart - it seems to work OK for us.  Anyone else?

We wish we didn't have to use our laser printer and burn up toner when the thermal printer is free from FedEx and we don't have to stop to change paper in the printer.  However, the data somehow needs to be piped to the thermal because the thermal isn't dealing with PNG graphics.  It gets a data stream from the fedex servers and although the php code supports it, I can't seem to send it to the printer.

Communication with the scale would be nice (note scales can go via USB or via serial - they seem to prefer USB these days)

Other: you have to clean out the PNG graphics directory every once in a while because those label images build up.  You have to do this via FTP, there isn't a purge feature in the admin.  There IS a purge feature in the admin for the end of day reports.