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itshanney 09-03-2012 06:05 PM

Thoughts on Ideal Brewing Software
 
I want to reach out to the community to ask for your thoughts and comments on your ideal brewing software. From reading the threads, it appears that this doesn't exist as most brewers' setups are a mix of software, spreadsheets, paper notes and other tools.

Here are some questions to ponder that could help drive a thriving discussion:
  • What are features you need/want to have?
  • Is installed desktop software still preferred?
  • Is a cloud solution
  • How do you encourage the community to thrive?
  • What is taboo in your opinion?

grathan 09-05-2012 10:16 PM

I could tell you what sucks. Spending $27 on software and not even be able to set it up. Being ignored on requests for help. Having the coder of the software forget how it even works because he is busier publishing a book on common knowledge. Spending time focused on going mobile and charging people money to keep their recipies in the cloud.

Bobby_M 09-05-2012 10:28 PM

It's going to be pretty hard to break into this market with the market penetration of Beersmith. I personally use BeerToolsPro and that's what I know, but there is something to be said for all the community support you can get by using software that 60% of the online brewing community seems to use.

In my opinion, the silver bullet is working the software around the local ingredients inventory. I don't think a single software package has addressed the problem intuitively. Maybe the folks who keep stocks of ingredients are a small minority.

rhamilton 09-05-2012 10:38 PM

Beersmith can be killed. I'm working on it :p

MalFet 09-05-2012 10:40 PM

At this point, beer software is a UI game. There are 8,000 tools to "do" everything, and likewise the way to stand out is to have a better, more comprehensive, and more intuitive interface than everyone else. The programming on this stuff is simple, relatively speaking. Think of your project as design problem rather than a programming problem and you'll find space int he market.

grathan 09-05-2012 10:45 PM

Sorry. Portable inventory and recipe management.
Calendar managed text alerts.
Maybe some type of social GPS thing to locate local brewers

Desktop is probably necessary because if you could code a phone app without a clunky interface you probably wouldn't be coding brewing software. IMHO

Shopping lists that can handle prices from several suppliers.

Inventory management that tracks age of ingredients as well as recipe subtracting.

rhamilton 09-05-2012 10:55 PM

I think the real issue regarding comprehensive brewing software is income. When you go cloud-based you'll have some horrible recurring expenses and your user-base is generally frugal. You can't do a one-time purchase since your server will continue to accrue while your income from the user will not. You can go 'Netflix' and charge $5/month but then again, other offerings are one-time cost of under $30 so you better have the features to back-up the asking price. You could go all-out with ads but then the users will end up hating you anyways.

itshanney 09-06-2012 03:48 AM

Are there any thoughts on software that has a community process to make changes and add features? An example would be if there's a clearly defined bug in a formula calculation, it could be voted upon the correct fix so that everybody's recipes aren't doomed. Maybe the average user doesn't care about this, but I'm sure some people would care.

The most prolific example is the Java Community Process (JCP), which is used to make changes to the Java programming language. It seems like brewing software could potentially benefit from an open source model. But it could also be the death of a good idea if the community kills the inertia. There's definitely a fine balance to harnessing the community that I don't think has been achieved.

MalFet 09-06-2012 03:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by itshanney (Post 4390494)
Are there any thoughts on software that has a community process to make changes and add features? An example would be if there's a clearly defined bug in a formula calculation, it could be voted upon the correct fix so that everybody's recipes aren't doomed. Maybe the average user doesn't care about this, but I'm sure some people would care.

Why, though? If there's a bug in the code, it should just be fixed. We're not talking about something with the level of complexity of Java. What is the benefit of adding a complex process to an obvious decision?

passedpawn 09-06-2012 04:08 AM

Although the new Beersmith software is a GUI fail, it's comprehensive. No, there's nothing more that I want from Beersmith. Frankly, adding more is likely to be more fail.

A good mobile app might be a notes app tailored for brewing. Dates, OG measurements, dryhop additions, tasting notes. Beersmith pushes this off into a couple of large editable text boxes. Allow importing a bsm or bxml file to the notes so the recipe could be included.


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