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.
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:
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