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iPhone App From CocktailDB: Cocktails

iPhone App From CocktailDB: Cocktails

My last post detailed the iPhone-formatted web drink directories that I could find. I mentioned that no one had yet come up with a native iPhone App, but that I anticipated on real soon now. Fortunately, Jay from Oh Gosh! (possessor of the planets best URL) left me a comment that The Future Is Now.
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Behold Cocktails, the iPhone native App from CocktailDB. I can’t believe that I missed this when writing my first post. Sorry, Ted and Martin! In my defense, you don’t have a link to this App anywhere that I can find on your main site! I did look.
Let me say right up front that this is a great piece of software. Of the stuff I’ve looked at and downloaded so far from the App Store, the $9.99 for Cocktails is the best value. Only WeatherBug seems more indispensable to me so far, and it’s free. Further, Cocktails excels over its Web App cocktail competitors in a variety of ways.
First, being a native App is very valuable here. Whether you are on a Beach, a Boat, or in a Basement Bar, you will often not have an available wireless or cell connection when you want to mix up a batch of Bahama Mamas. Cocktails stores its database on the phone. They can also add a lot of features that would be impractical with a compressed iPhone web interface, or even a full-blown web interface for that matter. Finally, things are a lot faster and more responsive with a local App. Incidentally, none of these advantages would matter is the App wasn’t technically well-designed and written. Ian Baird of Skorpiostech has done a bang up job with Cocktails. Thanks Ian.
Next, let’s talk about some of the interface advantages Cocktails has over some or all of the Web Apps I detailed yesterday. First, the interface is completely iPhone-like, not a facsimile. The search box and browse functions look and feel and work just like the iPhone Phonebook. The menubar on the bottom looks just like iTunes. I don’t know whether this is all a product of Our Maximum Leader Steve Jobs’ iPhone SDK, or whether Ian is the kind of programmer who both understands the value of Apple’s Human User Interface Guidelines, and has the skill to use them. My guess is a lot of both. And as I said before, the features Cocktails implements with that interface are very nice. I particularly like the Favorites function. When you want to mark a recipe as a favorite, you simply tap the star at the bottom. A dark star watermark appears in the parchment-like background behind the recipe. Furthermore, a yellow star appears in the drink directory under the icon for any favorite drink, so it pops out to your attention nicely if you are browsing. Of course, there is also a separate Favorites list to browse as well. It’s gee-whiz kewl and understated at the same time. Very cocktailian.
Lastly I ought to say something about content. Most of what I’m going to write here are quibbles or questions. That is because we are talking about CocktailDB’s entire database here. If you are experienced with the online cocktail world, those words should be enough. If you are just getting into things, then you just need to understand that CocktailDB is the Gold Standard of web cocktail references. CocktailDB’s database is huge, easy to use, and 98% crap-free. (No Screaming Red Orgasms here.) It is well organized, and the iPhone version is, if anything, even easier to use than the online full website. The only glaring area of omission is that there is no Tiki category, plenty of Tiki drinks, but no way to search for the genre. Also, Cocktails has no recipe submission function. Finally, I see nothing about how, where, or when the locally stored database can and will be updated. I’m assuming this won’t be too hard, if they are committed to the project. So go out and buy a copy for your iPhone. We should reward good work like this, and it’ll make sure it’s worth their while to keep it up!

Here’s a list of the other posts here about Apple iPhone software:
[catlist id=57 orderby=date order=ASC numberposts=-1]


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  1. Ian Baird

    14 July

    Thanks for the superlative review! Fear not, there are plans in the works for updating and managing the locally stored database, we just decided that it was more important to deliver a polished 1.0 experience for our users. We’ll keep you posted!

    I can’t go into detail about the other issues you’ve posted here because we make a point of not discussing details about feature additions to our application, but I think you’ll be very happy with what we release in the coming weeks.

    – Ian

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  2. Doug

    14 July

    Thanks for dropping by Ian!
    I truly appreciate your decision to make sure the software works smoothly as first priority. I always prefer to say It works great, but needs this and that, than It’s would be the perfect software, if only it would let me use it.
    I did notice last night at least one recipe on CocktaiDB that is not on my phone. What percentage of the online database is on Cocktails? And how much space on my iPhone does Cocktails take up?
    And it sounds like you are working on this, but I’d really love the ability to add my own recipes to the local database.

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  3. Ian Baird

    14 July

    No problem, always a pleasure to see that the app is being used, it’s the biggest thrill of development!

    The set that we shipped with Cocktails is customized and optimized for the mobile platform. Martin had to balance ease of access (too many recipes are hard to wade through) vs. comprehensiveness, and I think he struck a great compromise.

    – Ian

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  4. Doug

    14 July

    I can understand. The recipe I found that wasn’t on my iPhone was AppleJack based, so it’s pretty obscure. (Though Kudos to Martin, there are 52 AppleJack/Calvados recipes in there!) I only really noticed it because it was basically a drink that I had come up with on my own and was disappointed to to see it already in print….

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  5. Harry

    25 August

    I like the iShot Machine app because it’s more than just another recipe app with a million drinks. This is entertainment with a useful recipe database. A cool interface and fun to use. Great for an icebreaker at a bar. http://www.iShotMachine.com

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