Feb 13, 2010
Pantry is a command-line nutrient analysis program for Unix-like operating systems. The project is still under development. What needs the most work right now is error checking and documentation. Below is a section from the Pantry user guide that describes Pantry in brief.In addition to using Pantry from your shell prompt, you also interact with it through XML files. Using XML, you can edit Pantry's configuration file. You can also add nutrient information for custom foods (though Pantry includes nutrient information for over 7,000 foods to get you started) and recipes using XML. Pantry currently runs only on Unix-like operating systems. Porting Pantry to Windows would be possible, but not trivial.Pantry's advantagesPantry's true command-line interface gives it many advantages. Because Pantry works from your shell prompt, you can easily combine it with other text-processing tools. You can also easily write scripts incorporating Pantry, in ways that even I cannot anticipate. This is the strength of the Unix "toolbox" way of using a computer. In addition, nothing beats the speed of a command-line program for something you use frequently and are familiar with. If you are using a nutrient-analysis program to track your daily food intake, you will appreciate how quickly you can use Pantry for this purpose. Indeed, I developed Pantry due to my frustration with current tools because it was very tedious to use them to quickly tally a day's food intake. Because Pantry runs from a text console, you can easily set it up on one computer that has an SSH server running. You may then access your nutrient data from any computer that has an SSH client. Pantry disadvantagesThe biggest disadvantage of using Pantry is the same as its biggest advantage: its command-line interface.
Graphical user interface programs attempt to be self-documenting: just sit down, click on some buttons, and hopefully you can figure things out. With Pantry, on the other hand, you will absolutely have to read this manual to figure out how it works, and you will need some practice before you are comfortable with Pantry. In this way, Pantry resembles other command-line oriented Unix programs. As with other Unix programs, once you learn Pantry, you will love its speed and efficiency--but you will have to spend some time learning. Similarly, because of its command-line interface, you will find that you are most efficient with Pantry if you know your way around a Unix shell prompt. For example, you will find that you can use Pantry more quickly if you know how to use your shell's features to manipulate your command history. Such knowledge is useful for any Unix command-line program, not just Pantry; however, building up this knowledge takes some time. Pantry has no tools to graphically visualize your food intake. I might eventually add such features using Gnuplot or something similar.A final disadvantage of using Pantry is that it is still new. I am still tweaking it, making changes, adding features, and improving the documentation. But perhaps this is not such a disadvantage: software that improves is nice. If you have any features that you would like, ask! What's New in This Release:
· This release fixes a bug that was breaking compilations and causing runtime errors on FreeBSD.