Introducing: a small side project
I’m going to take a break from recipe posts to show you a little side project I’ve been working on (don’t worry, recipes will be back as normal in 2 days!). I decided a couple of years ago that I should like to learn some programming skills and with the help of a friend of mine I managed to pick up the basics. Since then I’ve been applying my new-found knowledge to various little applications, with the idea of learning more, improving my skills, as well as maybe actually creating something that I, or even others, might find useful.
Over the past nine months I have slowly added to my food blog here, while at the same time become more active in the blogging community. I love to read other food blogs and let the blogger know how great their stuff looks but you know what I’ve noticed? Perhaps I’m just looking in the wrong place, but a good percentage of blogs – at least the ones which I follow are written by US people. Nothing wrong with that, you say – absolutely not, except for the fact that most of you guys use “cups” as a measurement, while I’m using grams, and, what’s worse is that cups is a measurement of volume, while grams is, of course, a measurement of weight. All the recipes I see every day… while not impossible by any means, making them isn’t the easiest thing to do.
There exist quite a few online services which convert between different units – incidentally, I strongly recommend WolframAlpha. It’s the site I use to calculate the calorific values of my dishes (seriously, try it out – just tap in “70g Cheddar Cheese”, or “2 cups raisins” and uncover a whole load of awesome information. Even this has its down sides though. It’s online only to name one. I got to thinking – what if I could bring together this information, stash it in a tool? I’d be able to instantly convert values required to enable me to find out finally what “1 cup of mashed banana” was in grams, for example.
So I present “Sporkable”. It’s my tool – a labour of love. No-one’s saying it’s going to be winning any prizes for complex programming Black Magic, but it does the job, and in a relatively clean, tidy way I like to think. There are several ways the tool can be improved, but those are all “behind the scenes” type stuff. Sporkable currently has automatic update functionality, so whenever I push a new build with an updated ingredient list, for example, you will be prompted if you want to update after starting the tool.
The tool was developed in C#.NET and will currently run in Windows only. You will need the following pre-requisites in order to run the tool:
- .NET framework 3.5
- Windows Installer 3.1
As long as your PC isn’t from the stone age and you’ve been keeping it updated you should have these, no problem, although this will be checked automatically when installing. The tool is deployed using Microsoft’s ClickOnce technology, which means that installation and updating is performed very easily (now you see why I needed a Windows host!).
So, I’d love it if you wanted to give it a try. I’ll be improving it over time – more ingredients, more conversion options and so forth, so hopefully you might even find it useful, though if you have any feedback, encounter any problems or have some suggestions or ideas I’d love to hear them. Leave a reply here or on the linked page. As for the tool…