This fortnight’s update is relatively short; the engineering team is getting back up to speed following some holiday/vacation time. Nutritional Information Development towards including ingredient nutritional metadata is making good progress - the team’s been in contact with the author of the open source ingreedy-js project that has already constructed an excellent dataset of nutritional metadata. That dataset has now been fuzzy-matched and included into the RecipeRadar ingredients knowledge base.
While there’s no single large feature that has landed in RecipeRadar in the past fortnight, there are a number of irons in the fire. This week’s update is primarily textual rather than visual – we don’t have any screenshots to share this time – but as you’ll see, that’s appropriate given some of the work we’ve been doing. The items we’re making progress on currently include: Nutritional Information We’ve identified a number of trustworthy and authoritative sources of ingredient nutritional information, including the USDA’s FoodData Central and UK’s CoFID dataset.
The last couple of weeks have been slow and steady in terms of RecipeRadar software engineering progress. The main focus recently has been on providing recipe data debug tooling in order to help identify and fix future data quality issues. Here’s an overview of how that works. Recipe Data Diagnostics When users are searching for recipes, it’s important that we display accurate representations of the ingredients and directions for each recipe.
Q2 2020 is now complete, and I’m glad to say that we managed to achieve almost all of the goals for the quarter. The only task that has rolled over into Q3 is the selection of a graph database technology, in order to support the knowledge-graph component. Spelling Suggestions During the last update I mentioned that we had discovered the fast-autocomplete software library as a candidate to provide spelling suggestions on RecipeRadar.
Recipe Detail Page To make better use of device screen space, clicking on a recipe now takes you to a full-screen ‘recipe detail page’ where everything needed for meal preparation is displayed on a single bookmarkable page. The page incorporates a number of aspects from Monica’s screen designs, including the ability for the user to hover-to-highlight recipe direction steps. Recipe Scaling If you’re eagle-eyed (or had been waiting for this feature) then you may have spotted that the ‘servings’ field on the recipe details page is an edit box.
Updated Website Prototypes One of the features of the screens that may involve the most complex user interactions and information presentation is the selection, display and navigation of planned meals (calendarization). Architecture Investments When you interact with RecipeRadar on your phone or on your computer, the information presented to you is served by our recipe search engine, which is based on the open source Elasticsearch product. We also use the popular open source PostgreSQL database to store persistent data: ingredients, recipes, our progress crawling the recipe web, and user search logs (which do not contain any personally-identifying information).
The last two weeks have included improvements to our ingredient search engine suggestions, meal planning improvements, and proposal of a product roadmap. We’d love feedback on these, and the roadmap in particular! We made incremental progress on our internationalization processes (by trialing use of an application called poedit), but the process still involves some friction. Support for viewing historic meal calendar entries remains on the near-term task list. Partial Ingredient Name Suggestions
Progress on RecipeRadar over the previous fortnight has included improvements to our data processing infrastructure, continued refinement of our screen prototypes, and exploration of collaboration tools and technology selections. As you may have seen on the discussion list, Monica has been iterating on the screen designs for web and mobile, and in particular the prototype meal planner calendar is looking great. I’d like us all to spend a bit more time to make sure these designs are simple and usable.
The last two weeks have involved quality improvements, design prototyping, and preparatory work as we prepare to introduce more contributors to RecipeRadar. Have you experienced any ingredient shortages or price changes during the coronavirus pandemic? In future we hope that RecipeRadar will automatically offer information on local ingredient availability, seasonality, and pricing. This and other plans will be detailed in an upcoming roadmap document. Design Iteration As you may have seen on the mailing list, Monica has been preparing screens to provide an improved search experience in the application.
RecipeRadar aims to provide recipe search, meal planning, and cooking guidance to a global audience via services which are simple, intuitive, collaborative and effective, and always designed with users as our first priority. We believe that eating well and making informed consumption decisions are a benefit to everyone, both individually and collectively. We believe that the best technology is designed with users as the sole and primary benefactors, and that they should have the ability to inspect, modify and adjust that technology.