KISSing and Shopping

KISS is a principle stating that the simplest solution for a problem should be preferred. KISS may stand for “keep it simple, stupid”, “keep it short and simple” or other similar variations. The idea is to avoid building unnecessarily complex solutions which are difficult to maintain and use.

Lately I was shopping and carrying a huge list of items. The more items I put into the cart the more difficult I got to keep track of which items are still missing. I did not bring a pencil so I could not cross out the items I already got.

As a researcher and a mobile application developer I tried to find help in the iPhone’s App Store. If you do a search on Shopping List App you will find plenty of apps already exist on that problem. But every app I found required to enter the shopping items via keyboard into a list. For me, who is not good at typing with the iPhone’s keyboard this not practical once there are more than a handful of items to buy.Some solutions offer to create the shopping list via web on your desktop PC and then access it from your mobile. That solution makes it faster to enter the items, but if you are away from your PC or it is not running the advantage disappears.

Hence, I still prefer paper, since it is fastest to write down some lines whenever they come into mind.

So, what I did is applying the KISS principle to the shopping list problem. My constraints were that it should be as easy as with paper to take down notes, but I want to store the list into my mobile so I can carry it with me and mark items as done.

The result was an app called Paper Shopping List. It works is KISSingly simple:

  1. Write a shopping list on paper (!)
  2. Take a photo of the list with the app
  3. Cross out items in the photo as they are done


Step 2: Take a Picture of a Paper Shopping List
Step 3: Cross Out Items on the Screen

It not at all perfect, and many convenience features are missing, but still it allows you to quickly write a shopping list and keep track of what items you have already put into the cart.

The app is available for free in the Android Market: Paper Shopping List

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  • Thomas

    Dear Developer of Paper Shopping List,
    i could not find your App with my Wildfire on the Market, so i backed it up with my Galaxy i7500 and tried it at the Wildfire. The App fits with the resolution of the Wildfire and the app runs great on the Wf. So could coud you please activate the app in the market for the low resolution phones like the Wildfire so that i get the Updates via Market? This would be great!

    • martin

      Dear Thomas,
      thanks for note and for testing the app on the Wildfire. Unfortunately, I have no idea how I could solve this. The Android Market does not have options to limit an app to certain devices. From a naive point of view Paper Shopping List should be available on any Android phone with OS 1.5 or higher. However, I did a quick Google search on the topic and it seems that the problem you describe occurs with many apps for the Wildfire. I see what I can do. Any suggestions for a solution would be appreciated.

        • martin

          Thanks for the hint! Yes, the app was using API level 3, but I had to upgrade it to level 4 to add small screen support.

          The new version with small screen support is now available in the Market. Since I own no Wildfire, could I ask you to test it and tell me if it worked or not?


          • Thomas

            Yes, i found the app now with the Wildfire in the Market and the app still works great. Thank you very much.

            Not many developer react so quickly

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