Site improvements & suggestions
  • As the title suggests, here's a place to talk about site improvements and suggestions. I posted a roadmap ages ago on the blog, but not everything on it has been completed. I plan to spend more time this fall updating and tweaking the forums and welcome your thoughts on what will help make Cookbooker better for everyone.
  • Andrew, one thing I can think of off the top of my head would be the ability to sort and view our recipes by category. For example, sometimes I'm looking for a cake recipe but don't want to look through the contents of every book I own.

    Also, I would like to have something like a favourites folder in order to quickly find recipes that I use over and over again.
  • I definitely love tha you've added this forum, and I agree with Leeka that a way to seach by category as opposed to just within the books and magazines would be really helpful. I'm slowly working on getting my whole collection in here. Wish I had been able to finish before boxing most of my books up for storage. Ah... moving.
  • Categories are a good idea - and shouldn't be too hard to implement. They were on my to-do list, and I can bump them up to a higher spot.

    @Leeka - we do have a favourites folder! It is in your bookshelf - and each recipe has a little folder icon you can click to save it in your folder.
  • Andrew, I use the recipe folder for recipes that I haven't made yet and want to try. Is this the favourites folder you are referring to? It would be nice to have more than one folder, one for favourites and one for recipes I haven't made yet.
  • Ah, I understand. I'll look at the options and see what makes sense. Onto the to-do list! Perhaps we can have two categories. I'm also going to revise the layout of the favourites folder as it's a bit clunky at the moment.
  • Great! Thanks Andrew.
  • I'd sure like to see a "wish list" feature, where I could add books that I'd like to get. And to get fancy, I'd like to be able to rate my wish intensity (high, medium, low) as I can on Amazon. And I'd love to be able to add a category (one or more) to each book on my wishlist. (At Amazon, I've made multiple wishlists for food-related books.) And, of course, I want to be able to sort or select by the rating and category, as well as title and author.
    Thanks for listening!
  • I'd like to be able to sort the recipes I've reviewed by category, style and alphabetically. I see that you can sort them by recipe title now, but that appears to only work for the first 50 recipes or display page. Sorting them alphabetically helps me see when I've tried the same recipe from different cookbooks and compare them.
  • I'd like to second sturlington's suggestion re: sorting alphabetically -- it would be great to be able to compare different versions of the same dish.
  • @kaye16 - thanks for the suggestion. What we have now for favorites could be expanded to include a wish list perhaps. I'll have to review it and see what makes sense for us, since of course, we are not a shopping site. I do plan on working on the tools in the bookshelf to make them better.

    And for sorting recipe reviews - yes, this does need some work, and more options. I'm looking at a more 'list' like display which you can expand to read the text of the review, and can sort more quickly. I'll put this on fairly high on the to-do list.

    As I said at the start of this thread, I'll be doing more work this fall on the site, less on adding new features, and more on fixing up what we have so it's more useful for members. Hopefully I'll have some changes for you all to review later this month.
  • As for the sorting not working on the second display page: you can copy & paste the end part of the URL of the first page to that of the second and further pages. For title in ascending order it's &orderby=recipe_title&ordersort=asc Not very sophisticated, but it works.

    Except at the moment I can't sort anything. Maybe Andrew is working on it already?
  • I have fixed the sorting so that it works properly on the second page - thanks for letting me know about that bug. It's more obvious now that you can search by book or recipe title. I'm going to work on the category/style options also.
  • I would like to be able to see which books have the most recipe reviews. I find those really helpful in deciding what cookbooks to buy.
  • Noticed a little bug in the search. When searching your own recipes or cookbooks, the first page only shows results from your library. But if you go to additional pages, it shows results from all libraries.
  • Oops. That is a little bug that should have been stamped out early on. I've fixed it now. Thanks for letting me know about it.
  • Andrew, while in the forum I have wanted to look at another member's profile and reviews but when I click on their name I can't access their profile. It takes me to a page where I can send them a message but that's not what I want. Is there a way to do this?
  • I'm not sure, @Leeka - I'll look into it. Because the forum software has been added to Cookbooker and not written by me, I don't have complete control over it. Clicking a member's name right now gives you their forum information (which is handy, but it isn't their Cookbooker profile). I'll see if I can find a way to add a link to their bookshelf in the 'About' box.

    In the meantime, you can look their username up in the members page:
  • I often check out cookbooks from the library. I would like a way to be able to review the book and review recipes without having to lie and say that I own it!

    I'm wondering if you've considered a "borrowed" category for the bookshelf?
  • Yes indeed - I'm looking at adding several basic categories and allowing members to add their own as well.
  • When saving 'recipes' is there any place or way to copy/paste the entire recipe so that it saves along with it's review? I have many recipes stored on my computer and would like to link them to the reviews here..or paste them into the reviews.
  • @Brenda: we can't make the entire recipe publicly available on Cookbooker, as this would be a violation of copyright law. A list of ingredients is allowed, and this will be added soon as an option. I'm also creating a private notes option, which might just do the trick for you. It is a place you could keep a personal copy of a recipe without any issues of copyright, since it wouldn't be publicly available.

    Updated: private notes now available!
  • It says I have 4 pages of photos but it will only let me see the first page. When I click to go to the next page it gives me the following:
    You have not added any recipes to your folder yet. Look for the folder icon at the top of each recipe and click it if you want to make a note of the recipe to try or review later.

    Was wondering if anyone else is having this problem?
  • My pictures show fine, but I have only one page - southerncooker - I looked at your amazing pictures (!), and also found that it would only show one page of your pictures, and gave the same error as you report above.
    You are amazing - so many recipe reviews!
  • @southerncooker - I've had a similar problem, I don't remember with what pages exactly. But while waiting for a permanent solution, you can see the other pages of your photos by pasting &page=2 (or 3 or 4) at the end of the URL of your first page.
  • Thanks Wester. That worked for me.
    Thanks LazyLurker. I've been enjoying you're photos and reviews too. I was thinking of making the cornbread biscotti as we love biscotti. After your glowing review I think that may be on the agenda today. I got the same message with bhnys's photos, who BTW has some amazing ones too. I just uploaded quite a few new photos when I was out of work due to an ice storm. I'm bad to take the photos and then wait so long to get them transfered to the computer and resized for the site that sometimes I forget what the dish is.
  • Hi all - just saw this and I've fixed it now - it was a silly mistake on my part. I see a bit of a pattern in that sometimes when I create a new feature, there are no members with more than one page of something, so a multi page bug takes a while to show itself.

    Glad to see you're all getting busy with the challenge. I've just done a few eggy dishes myself, but plan to get a bit more ambitious this week (or definitely in January).
  • I don't know if it's possible, but I was thinking that it might be nice to have a tab in our bookshelves for recipes we'd like to try. I know that the index feature can be used that way for specific cookbooks or magazines -- but that requires a memory for where we saw the recipe we want to try. With a "To Try" tab, we could make a note of recipe, location, and relevant info (special ingredients or equipment, etc.).

    I think it would be a nice to have for menu planning. Often, when I pull out a cookbook to make something for dinner, I see several things I'd like to make some other time -- but then the cookbook goes back on the shelf -- and weeks later I'll recall the recipe, but not where I saw it.
  • @aj12754 - do you mean a simple note-taking area rather than something that requires you to select the right cookbook, recipe etc?
  • I'm thinking of a place to list recipe titles, source/location, and maybe some additional info/notes -- so it could be a simple note taking area. But I guess I was thinking of something that would look more like the compact list feature for the recipes we've already made. I use the compact list when I am planning a menu for entertaining, looking at it to select things I have made that I think will work well for guests.

    If a similar list was available for recipes I see that I think I might want to make (which happens just about daily when I visit a cooking site, or a food magazine comes in the mail, or I read a cookbooker review, or I buy/borrow a new cookbook), I could simply enter the recipe at cookbooker at the time I run across it. Then I know I'd be less likely to forget about the recipe and/or where it came from. And there would be no need to print out website recipes and have them pile up around the kitchen -- I could just print it off whenever I am ready to make it.

    I suppose I could use the index feature to add untried recipes to my compact list and recognize the untried ones by the lack of a rating. But I liked the idea of keeping the made and unmade recipes separate. If it doesn't seem like this would be a feature of general interest, I can easily go the index route.

    Thanks ... and happy holidays!
  • What a great idea, aj12754. I find I've bought ingredients for the Zuni cookbook, and now I'm leafing through, trying to remember what it was I wanted to make! Is it possible, Andrew?
  • Yes, it's very possible. I'm still trying to figure out what it would look like. Normally everything is set up so that it all connects with actual recipes which are already listed on the site. I created the recipe folder button on each recipe so you could 'save' any that took your fancy on the site, but what we're talking about here is different from that, correct?

    If it's for recipes that are not already on the site, I could create a simple form that allowed you to type in title, source and notes very easily. I've also been thinking about creating a way for you to add actual recipes into the site (family recipes, things not in your cookbooks or on the web), so maybe the two would work together.

    Many of you now have more experience using the site than I do, so I'm very open to your ideas. It would be very useful also to hear how people use the site. Maybe some sort of menu-planning tool would also be handy?
  • I was thinking of a function where you could save both recipes that you see on the site and recipes from other sources. So maybe a "to try" folder that allows you to both bring in recipes on the website already and add recipes from other sources. It would also be nice to bring in recipes you have already tried that you want to make again, with changes or improvements.

    I hadn't really explored using the "Saved Recipes" folder as a place to store recipes to try although it makes perfect sense. I somehow had the idea that it was a place to store my favorites among those I'd tried. And since I was kind of using the compact list that way already -- I can pull up my favorites easily just by listing them by rating -- I didn't really think about other ways to use the Saved recipes folder.

    I definitely use the site for multiple purposes:

    1) I really enjoy cooking and -- since I have no interest in blogging myself -- this sight allows me to have a record of what I have accomplished cooking-wise. It is probably not the way the site was intended to be used, but I do like looking back and planning ahead. I've been a member about a year now and it's just fun sometimes to look back and see what I made this year. The private notes feature really enhanced that aspect of the cookbooker experience for me, since I can make publish what I hope with be useful to others while capturing some of the more personal commentary in a private space.

    2) I have used it multiple times for menu planning when I am having dinner guests -- and the private notes feature helps avoid repeats of the same dish for guests.

    3) And of course, I use the site the way it was probably intended -- as a place to review recipes and to read the reviews of others. I like being able not only to review the recipe, but the ability to capture aspects of the experience: what else was served with the dish, prep time and ease of prep, any issues with prep or the recipe itself, and variations for next time. I like being able to edit the same review the next day to add info on what was done with the leftovers, if anything.

    4) I really enjoy reading not only the recipe reviews of others, but especially the reviews of cookbooks. I like the forum functionality as well.
  • It looks like they're already combined, Laura. Perhaps that's why you couldn't? Or maybe you were successful after posting this...
  • OK, thanks Andrew.... :)
  • It would be great to be able to sort cookbooks by the number of owners. That is, sort it not just alphabetically but so the most-owned is at the top. Maybe you can do that already, but if so, I haven't figured it out.

    Ha - you can probably tell I was trying to guess your next challenge book!
  • @LazyLurker - would this be on your bookshelf page or on the list of books on the site? It's one of those features that's likely not used very much, but I can see that it might be useful from time to time.
  • My thinking is that the list of cookbooks is more than 100 pages. I can't scroll through all of those (although it might be interesting). If you could instead search "vegetarian" (through tags, I guess) and then sort the list so that the ones owned by the most people came up first, it could be interesting. For example, if I were trying to decide what book to buy for myself (or Leeka, who is lucky to have a gift certificate), seeing books likely to have a larger number of reviews (ones owned by a lot of people) could help her/me make a choice.

    Sort of like when you look at commercial web sites, and you can sort by most recent/most reviews/most popular (I think Amazon or Overstock let you sort that way)...

    I'm sure its not trivial. And maybe it wouldn't be used much - any comments from other
  • Andrew -- a while back you asked about how we use this site and this morning, I came up with another way I will be using the site.

    This morning I realized I had on hand a set of "use 'em or lose 'em" ingredients -- and have decided to make up a recipe (something I rarely do except with vinaigrettes but have been wanting to branch out more in this direction). If it works, I plan to save the recipe.

    And I thought -- "how can cookbooker help me do that? So, I manually added "AJ's Own" as a title to my bookshelf and now have a place for all my "experiments" -- good and bad. It is nice to have such a large text field since I can fit in pretty much any recipe I might come up with on my own without worrying about running out of space.
  • Thanks, folk! It will all go into the pot of potential future updates.

    @aj12754 - would it make sense for us to create a separate area, do you think, where you could input entire recipes of your own, but keep it private, rather than inventing a cookbook?
  • Andrew -- whatever makes sense for you works for me.

    I was really only thinking about how to store my experiments so they are easily accessible if I decide to make changes or try something slightly different with one of them. But if a "personal cookbook" causes you more trouble than it's worth, I can delete the title and save in hard copy while you think about what you like's to do.

    Reading your post, I realized that one thing I didn't think about -- probably because I rarely see my own ratings on the home page and just didn't make the connection -- is that a personal recipe from a personal cookbook might show up on the home page ... and on the list of reviews users can look at. It's not that I care that people see my "experiments" -- but I can see how you might not want to muddy the waters with reviews of personal recipes versus cookbook recipes. Sometimes I am so impressed with the database capabilities of this site that I forget the more communal aspects. Sorry!
  • That's what I was thinking about - if we start using the cookbooks feature to put things in that are not cookbooks, it could muddy the water for everyone - show up on the home page and on searches etc. I like how Epicurious allows people to upload their own recipes now, and I think we could put in something like this. A personal cookbook is a great name for it too. Perhaps we could create a new category for personal cookbooks, and you could choose to make it findable or private on the site. I'll put my thinking cap on. This might fit well with the idea of the menu planning thoughts you posted earlier in this thread, aj.

    I'm just finishing the cover upload feature - it's ready to launch today, and after that I'll do a bit of planning. I have to make sure I don't go chasing every good idea before I take care of some of the elementary stuff I'm also trying to do. If only there were more hours in the day...
  • What if you posted them on a blog? You could do so either privately or publicly, whatever you prefer. As to the communal aspect - I personally wouldn't mind, to me it would be like any other cookbook I don't happen to own.
  • Read your comment just now, Andrew - would be great if something like that could be integrated in the site!
  • No problem Andrew -- I'll delete the personal cookbook and wait to see what you come up with. Posting to a blog is a good idea friederike -- I hadn't thought of that -- probably because I don't develop my own recipes very often -- and I am not all that blogging least not yet. :-) Even though there are so many food bloggers I enjoy reading.

  • Hi Andrew,
    Tonight I cooked and reviewed a kale and potato gratin. I used a recipe from the internet, but it was similar to one from a cookbook (difference, 1 C cream). This made me wonder about linking the reviews in some way. For example, if I were considering making the one with the C of cream, I'd be so happy to know that there was a lower fat alternative that someone liked.
    I could do this by simply reviewing the same recipe in both places, but that feels like cheating, and a link might be better. What do you think?
  • Maybe there could be a place to link similar recipes or have a field that says "if you like this recipe you might like......" Something like that?
  • Most "if you like this recipe you might like..."-fields (on blogs, etc.) are generated automatically, based on clicks. I actually like the idea of us being able to suggest dishes based on another one (a bit like member recommendations on LibraryThing), but I think this would be something else. With "if you like this recipe" you could also suggest a matching side dish or dessert for a main dish, while in this case we're more talking about "similar dishes/recipes". Perhaps we could have both (some day...)?
  • My thoughts were that some items have recipes in several different cookbooks. Rather than having to check indexes of all your cookbooks, if there was some way on cookbooker to link (and perhaps compare) them, that would be useful.

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