Sunday, December 18, 2011

Grocery Ninja

I just published my first ever Android app! It's called "Grocery Ninja" and was a perfect first app to write to teach me about all the different aspects of Android programming: Activities, ListViews, TouchEvents, and even some SQLite database work. :)

Granted, I've been programming in Java for something like 10 years, and programming in some form or another for the last 25 years, but writing for a mobile smart phone has got to be the most fun thing I've gotten to do so far.

Why a Grocery app? After all, there's got to be 1000's of these available in the Android market! Well, the truth is that I tried probably a dozen or so grocery apps when I first got my Droid X, and none of them really did what I wanted. So many of them are so full featured, I could barely use the things without hitting all kinds of unnecessary features! I considered writing my own, but then I never got around to it. Then one day, my youngest brother sent me an e-mail:
Hey Bro!

I have an app I’d like you to create. We’ve tried several grocery apps (about 10 so far), but have yet to find one we like.

I’d like to be able to add a store, setup my own aisles/depts for that store, and be able to sort them in the order I want.

Then, I’d like to add a grocery item and specify what store/aisle I want to get it from. It would also be nice to add quantity and approx price.

Once I’m done with my list, I want to be able to see the approximate total for all my items and check them off as I purchase them (maybe even update the price to actual purchase price).

The next time I go to create a list, it should remember my preferences (and prices) for previously added items. For example, apples would automatically fall under produce at Safeway.

Entry should be available via keyboard or voice command. I saw one where you could say “and” and add multiple items at once (i.e. “apples and pears and broccoli” would list as 3 separate items).

I was a little taken aback, because this is exactly the same thing I wanted in an app. I'm not sure if my brother thought I would actually take it on or not, but I decided it was time to get my feet wet in Android land.

Well, its been a long road (been working on this off and on since early November), but its finally published. If you have an Android device, and want to give a look-see, search for "Grocery Ninja" in the market, or visit the Android Market on the web.