The easy way to keep track of what’s in your pantry, what you need, and where to get it.
In our house, grocery shopping is an ordeal. We have to visit multiple grocery stores to get all the items we want to keep in stock. And keeping track of what we need at any given time is tough. But years ago, I wrote a physical inventory application for school systems, and I knew if we could get a database of items, set desired stock levels, and keep track of what we have on hand, then producing a shopping list at any given time is easy. And if the items are tagged with the stores where they are available, and the prices, then we could even produce a multi-stop trip list and when items are available at more than one store, put them on the list for the cheapest store.
PantryMouse was first demonstrated in 2007 at the Adobe AIR Bus Tour when the bus stopped in Atlanta. It was running an early beta version of Adobe AIR called Apollo, and XML database maintenance worked as well as integration with the web’s UPC Database.
But we realized that the true promise of PantryMouse couldn’t be realized until our shopping lists and inventory could also be available on our mobile handsets, and we could use the camera to read barcodes and import items by simply snapping a picture. At the time Adobe AIR did not yet run on mobile devices, and ultimately the system only works if you can keep your actual inventory levels accurate. And that would only happen if it was easy to scan items when adding or removing from the pantry. Running on the desktop put the application too far from the pantry.
PantryMouse let you easily track:
- The pantry items you purchase; categorized
- How many of an item you like to keep in stock
- How low the inventory must go for an item before it is considered ‘low’ (needed).
- The stores where you shop
- Which items are at which stores
- Which aisles the items are on at each store
- The prices of items at each store
With this information, PantryMouse could:
- Create a list of needed items based on inventory levels at any time
- Allow you to create your own lists by dragging and dropping items
- Print a list of items you can take to your grocer and request that they be stocked.
- Create a trip based on a list or currently needed items:
- Choose each item from either the cheapest store or the preferred store.
- The items on the trip are ordered by store and aisle for shopping convenience.
I’m Not Dead Yet!
We’re pretty much done with Adobe Flex and AIR development, but PantryMouse could be resurrected as an HTML5-based mobile app. We still own the pantrymouse.com/net/org domains, so who knows, we may revisit this project some day.