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Old 12-26-2006, 09:49 PM   #41
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Cooking Software

I have been wanting for some time to purchase cooking software but what keeps me from doing it is the fact that I have purchased software two other times and when the software became outdated it was going to be necessary to reenter all my recipes. Is there a software that is MS Access based that will automatically be upgraded everytime Office is upgraded? I really don't want to go to all the trouble to enter all my recipes again just to have the software become obsolete.
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:07 PM   #42
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Has anyone tried big oven

we use it at home and love it
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:56 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Well, Consul ... how much hair do you have to pull out playing with this idea? This is a relational database problem if I ever saw one!

You need fields for recipe name, category, sub-categories, and an index for each - not to mention if you want to search/index by ingredient.

Each ingredient needs 5 fields ... sequence number, quantity numeric, unit, ingredient, and method - as in [ingredient number] [8] [oz] [Chicken] [chopped, breasts, or etc.]. And an index ... for the ingredients. These will have to be expandable "on the fly" (transparent to the user) if there are more ingredients than fields currently in the database - that presents a problem unless the databases are relational - and have a key field pointing to the recipe. And - there is also the need to add an ingredient anywhere in the list .. and the abilty to rearrange ingredients, and delete ingredients.

Of course - the database should be relational ... with drop-down picks for the first 3 fields ... no need to type in "chicken" when a pick-list will insert a numeric (and just display the text) which will be quicker to locate than "text", and take less disk space - and space for text for the 4th field. So, for our 8 oz Chicken breast - the 4 data fields might be something like [8] [12] [27] [text field].

Now we have a search for recipe [#x] and listing ingredients in assending order from the database ..... plus the preparation text.

Oh yeah - increasing and decreaing recipe quantity ... ie the recipe serves 6 and you want to decrease it to serve 2 - or increase it to serve 24. A recipe that calls for [1] [cup] will be [1/3] [cup] for 2 - [4] [cups] for 24.

I've been thinking about something like this using Visual FoxPro ... but just haven't had the money to buy the software, or the spare time, to play around with it. MS Access seems too convoluted to be worth the time ... but, I might be wrong - maybe I need to buy a book?
Its actually fairly easy. Especially compared to what i do at work with accounting tables ;). Designing the table structure and normalization is fairly easy its designing the user interface that will take some time and some effort. I'm not saying it will be hard im just saying designing a interface that is professional look and a lot of people will be happy with will take some time. Then you have to write the help documentation which also takes time. Its a daughting task. I would not use foxpro because its kind of a dying technology at this point. Yes im sure people still use it but i don't know one developer that uses it. You most commonly see access. There are free solutions that would even be better and would have everything you need. For the Database....microsoft gives away a stripped down version of their professional database now called sql server express. Its pretty much full version of sql server with a 2GB database limit (not worries for a recipe program) and when so many people start to connect to the database they start to throttle the connections (again no worries for a recipe program). They also give Visual Studio Express away for free. Sql Server would also make these queries easier to write. Im sure they wouldn't be to bad in access either to T-SQL (microsofts version of SQL) just makes queries so easy to write. So what is stopping me from writing it? Lack of time? People don't understand these applications take a lot of time to write. Thats why they have teams of developers working on applications like this and not some single person. Could i do it? Yes but it would take me a lot of time which i have a hard time finding now. Something like this would be very good as an open source program so you could in essence get a team of developers that were interested and you wouldn't have to develope the entire thing by yourself.

Ncage
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:38 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by ncage1974
Its actually fairly easy. Especially compared to what i do at work with accounting tables ;). Designing the table structure and normalization is fairly easy its designing the user interface that will take some time and some effort. I'm not saying it will be hard im just saying designing a interface that is professional look and a lot of people will be happy with will take some time. Then you have to write the help documentation which also takes time. Its a daughting task. I would not use foxpro because its kind of a dying technology at this point. Yes im sure people still use it but i don't know one developer that uses it. You most commonly see access. There are free solutions that would even be better and would have everything you need. For the Database....microsoft gives away a stripped down version of their professional database now called sql server express. Its pretty much full version of sql server with a 2GB database limit (not worries for a recipe program) and when so many people start to connect to the database they start to throttle the connections (again no worries for a recipe program). They also give Visual Studio Express away for free. Sql Server would also make these queries easier to write. Im sure they wouldn't be to bad in access either to T-SQL (microsofts version of SQL) just makes queries so easy to write. So what is stopping me from writing it? Lack of time? People don't understand these applications take a lot of time to write. Thats why they have teams of developers working on applications like this and not some single person. Could i do it? Yes but it would take me a lot of time which i have a hard time finding now. Something like this would be very good as an open source program so you could in essence get a team of developers that were interested and you wouldn't have to develope the entire thing by yourself.

Ncage
This is actually something that I am working on right now (well, not right now... I'm currently slacking off at work ).

Not being able to find a good recipe management software application that met all of my needs, and especially one that was open source, I decided to start working on my own a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, I have a degree in computer engineering and I am a software developer (C/C++) by trade, so this is actually something I LOVE to do.

It will be designed as a network based application, not neccesarily WWW, but meant to be running on a local household LAN and accessible via your default web browser. This way, it would be possible to access recipes from anywhere in your house.

For those of you that are technical minded, I am using Ruby on Rails for the development. with the choice of either sqlite, mysql, or postgresql as the database backend. This allows the application run on almost any OS (Windows, Mac, Linus/UNIX), and to be accessible by any PC with a web browser.

I haven't gotten much passed the specifications, but as soon as I get an initial concept version up, I will make it available to the public (liscensed through the GPL or Creative Commons, so it will be free).

I have designed the initial relational database, which you can find here. (this uses sqlite, but almost database is supported). Note that this is only an initial database and doesn't include a lot of data (like nutrition information) that would be in later versions. A breakdown of the model is that a recipe has many ingredients, has many steps, and can also contain other recipes (for example a recipe for tiramisu would include a recipe for zabagione which can also stand alone). An ingredient points to a single food item in a food table that will include all nutritional information (from the FDA). Recipes can be tagged with any number of user defined categories (tags). All measures relate to a units table which will keep track of conversion multipliers betweem measurements so that the user can convert to metric, standard, and even scale a recipe up and down easily.

In the next couple of weeks (I'm moving across the country at the end of next week and starting a new job), I will get project web space (maybe through sourceforge), and post specifications, features, and a timeline for at least the first few versions.

If you have any suggestions of features that you have always wanted in a cookbook application, let me know because now is the perfect time to plan for them. I have already taken some of the suggestions mentioned here (a mature parsing algorithm for cutting and pasting recipes from the web, meal planning and shopping lists with nutritional information, and multiple output formats - binder page, recipe card, email etc), and made sure that they will be doable.

Also, while I am confident in my coding abilities, I am not yet confident in my ability to design an intuitive user interface (I mostly do embedded systems development for work, web is only my hobby), so if any of you happen to be GUI experts, I would welcome the help when I get to that point.
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Old 08-20-2008, 01:31 PM   #45
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So, I've kind of done the same thing as the rest of you for myself, but I've taken it a bit further.

I have a classic recipe database with all of my families recipe's, recipe's I've found online, etc. This can be sorted by ingredient, category, etc.

I also have a section where you can update your pantry, with amounts. This is the crown jewel. One you have these 2 pieces of information you have the keys to the kingdom!

An example, I have a link 'What can I make?' which searches through all of my recipes, all of my pantry, and comes up with a list of recipes which do not require me to go to the store.

Also, I have a meal planner, where I can plan this weeks meal in advance, it will cross-reference my pantry and come up with a shopping list.

Entering the recipe is kind of cool. You basically have a large form with measurements and ingredients, with the option to specify a 'new' ingredient. If you specify a 'new' ingredient once it's automatically added to the 'ingredient database' so you can just select it, instead of having to type it all of the time. I have also broken up the recipe description/steps in to:
- Prep
- Cooking
- Serving
Every recipe can be customly tagged. Kind of like any tagging software, you can tag it as 'Chinese', 'Asian', 'Really Easy' or, if I want to know what I had last thanksgiving I may have tagged the meal as 'thanksgiving-07'

I've been thinking about releasing the technology but it isn't really install-friendly. It's web based. I could make it an ASP but that's too big of a headache.


If you have any questions about setting up an Access database to be friendly (all of these features leverage SQL ) in this way, just let me know. I am happy to help!
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:10 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opqdan View Post
Not being able to find a good recipe management software application that met all of my needs, and especially one that was open source, I decided to start working on my own a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, I have a degree in computer engineering and I am a software developer (C/C++) by trade, so this is actually something I LOVE to do.
I actually signed up for this forum to be able to talk to people about what software they use.

I write about software (free and open source), but have not been able to find anything in the food area yet that is really up to date (should not look like a left-over from 1990...), has a good website and is actively developed.

What am I looking for in the software?

Recipe management
Entering my own recipes
Autocompletion when I type ingredients
Adding pictures, both of the dish and of the process
Easy searching
Warnings for food allergies/possibility to exclude specific ingredients in a search to make them allergy safe
Easy importing from all major formats
Easy import (copy/paste) from web

Output
Print single recipes or whole cookbooks
An easy way to change layout of prints (maybe html/css templates?)
Export to the major formats for sharing
Print shopping lists
Print ingredient list to take to supermarket for price research
Print nutritional lables for food
Print menus for use in a home party/dinner

Other
Calculate nutritional values
Cost per recipe and cost per menu
Multiple currencies
Multiple languages
Possibility to show recipes in multiple languages - use Google Translate as machine translation, but possible to adjust the translation.
Currency can not be linked to language - I am Norwegian, speak English and live in Brazil. I want to use the software in English, but calculate cost in Brazilian currency or Norwegian currency depending on the country I am in.
Support for both metric and imperial units - and a mix of both in the same recipe when entering a recipe.
Calendar with meal planning
Easy adjusting of recipe sizes/number of servings
Network support - a good choice would be to use SQlite or an embedded SQL database for single install, but let people use mySQL for a home server install. I am planning to have a computer in the kitchen for recipes..
User management
Support touch screen/designed with this in mind.

And uhm.. did I mention free? :-)

There are more things that should be included, but these are just a few off the top of my head. Feel free to add to this. I just hope someone could take this and turn it into a program... I would be happy to help setting up the website for such a program!
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:12 PM   #47
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I bought Big Oven a year ago. I specifically chose it because it was compatible with Vista. I did not have Vista at the time I bought the software but knew I would be getting a new computer someday. I have nothing but great things to say about Big Oven. I like the program, the online ability to import recipes from from the Big Oven website the fact that the admin is always updating and adding to the features. I found it easy to use for a first time cooking software user. I can easily import recipes for other sites, or from Mastercook recipes.
I just noticed that Big oven won the top 10 reviews award for 2009. I would and have recommended it to friends and family.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:52 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by marytexas View Post
I've been checking out new recipe software. I've had
Mastercook but it doesnt have ability to print category page or listings of recipes within a category. I've been trying Cookn but having trouble backing up. Did backup but then couldnt open file to see if everything is ok.
Does anyone have any ideas? Do you have any software that you really like to use to put your recipes in cookbook fashion?
Thanks.
Not sure what version you have, but my verison (8) allows you to print the titles by category as an index in the cookbook and you can just ask it to print that and not the recipes. I just tried it and it worked like a charm!

I have tried trials of them all (Cookn, Big Oven, etc. and none have all the features I want. When DH and I owned our software development/website business we put in a bid to buy Mastercook from Sierra and I knew how I wanted to make it better but they were asking just a little too much and not giving all the code.
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:34 PM   #49
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I have been using "Recipes Ship V1.2". It has LOTS of recipes and it has the ability to add as many of your own as you like. You can also go to their website and find 50,000 recipes (that's what the site says). You can also print these recipes. One of the best things about this software, is that it is free. I don't mind paying for good software, but this one works just fine for me.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:43 PM   #50
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I have been using "Recipes Ship V1.2".
Will check this one out. What formats can you import?
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