Wednesday, 28 January 2009

cookbook v0.1

WOW! I thought a few people may read my previous posting concerning storing (and finding) recipes, but I never expected so many comments -- I'm guessing it's not just me that has this problem. Thank you all for the helpful comments and feedback (both the comments left on the blog and other conversations I have had with some of you) they have been really helpful. Hopefully you will soon start to find the site useful rather than just something to play around with.

Since that first post I've done quite a bit of work on cookbook (does it need a better name?) the most obvious being the layout and style of the pages. So you don't have to click away from this post (yet) to have a look, here is the new navbar.

Nice yes? Anyway there have also been quite a few functional changes which I want to document (and here seems as good a place as any).
  1. Tagging of ingredients has changed slightly. In the original version you simply encased each ingredient within two = symbols. You still do this but each ingredient can now have three attributes; amount, unit, and item. For example, lets assume we originally had =2 tablespoons olive oil= we would now write =2:tablespoon:olive oil=. Simple really, but this allows me to easily combine multiple mentions of the same ingredient which is rarely useful on a single recipe but will be needed when I support shopping lists combining the ingredient lists from multiple recipes. You don't need to specify all three sections, so =onion= is treated as 1 onion, =2:onion= is two onions or you could be greedy and have =2:large:onions=.
  2. I've added user accounts. You can continue to browse through the recipes without creating an account but to add a new recipe you have to be logged in. I needed user accounts for building shopping lists (which will appear in a later version) but I decided I would also use them to restrict what each user can do. All logged in users can add new recipes but you can only edit or delete (another new feature) recipes which you have added. I decided this was the best way of making sure that recipes didn't get messed around with. Later I might add a feature where a user can gain edit permissions for other recipes if they have submitted a number of recipes which other users have rated highly, i.e. if your own recipes are considered good then you should be trusted to fix mistakes in other recipes.
  3. As I mentioned before I've done quite a bit of work on the style and layout although there is still a lot to do, so any feedback would be appreciated -- I'm definitely not to be trusted with colour schemes!
I really do want more feedback and I've decided that the database design is stable enough that I'm going to support the site as it is. This means that I don't intend to make changes that would mean deleting all the data so it is safe to start adding recipes they won't disappear. I'll keep pushing regular code updates but I'll make sure they are stable as well so the whole site should stay usable but periodically will gain new features. So consider this v0.1 of cookbook.

Enjoy and please keep do leaving me comments letting me know what you think so far.
29 January 2009 at 04:18 , Scriptor Senex said...

I know you do everything on computer but I can't move my desktop downstairs to the kitchen and don't fancy getting flour in my laptop so I use hard copy, laminated.
As a result the database I have built up is A5 hard copy. How about having a printable version for each recipe (along the lines of BBC recipes, etc). (Needless to say I haven't a clue how easy / hard that is to do.)
Having said that I think the new layout is very attractive.

29 January 2009 at 09:48 , Mark said...

Yes, sensible printing support is must. I already know how to do it, and have it listed on the bugs page (although "printing style sheet" not the best description), now I just have to actually add it.

Glad you like the layout, the trouble I went to to get it to look good and the same in all browsers I could find was ridiculous!

29 January 2009 at 11:29 , Rob said...

Like the new theme and the progress in general! Am just waiting for the user ratings and being able to upload photo's of my own attempts :D

My re-captcha was really hard though - forced me to doubt whether I was human myself!

29 January 2009 at 13:14 , Mark said...

Two positive comments on the theme, maybe I'm finally getting the hang of what colours go together. No wait a minute, I used black and white can't really go wrong there!

As for the speed of progress, Bryony is on nights this week so I have long evenings in the house to fill. Not sure if Bryony would say I was making the best use of the time or not but still.

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