While we’re willing to admit there’s a certain pleasure to thumbing through a real book’s pages, using your iPhone you can get hold of more information than even the sturdiest of spines could hold.
BigOven 160,000 Recipes gives you access to the recipes stored on the BigOven.com website. Although the six-figure tally of recipes is mighty impressive, does the app actually add anything to the equation?
Where an app channels into a website’s content, it should at least add some functionality that you wouldn’t get simply by firing up the website in Safari. Within the framework of a cookery book application, the scope for this is pretty wide.
You could let the app throw recipes at you by letting you build up a list of ingredients you have at your disposal. You could set up a profile that hides certain recipes if you’re allergic to ingredients within them. There’s a long list of features we could carry on listing here, but it would only serve to highlight the amount of things that BigOven’s app doesn’t do.
After finding the initial experience of using the app a tad underwhelming, we took a look at how things different when just loading up the source recipe in site in Safari- yep, there wasn’t much difference. The search bar rests at the top of the screen. Whatever you type in here will be used to search through the titles of recipes. If BigOven doesn’t find anything, you can re-search the recipes, this time going through the body text.
Ultimately, it does work, and you’ll be able to find some recipes for even the most bizarre of ingredients. However, it always feels like you’re surfing a website rather than using an app and the sheer number of recipes on offer only compounds the effect of all the features BigOven 160,000 Recipes lacks.
Even though you can add recipes to your favourites or ‘try soon’ lists, it’s linked to your account on the website rather than being info stored on the app itself. This just goes to show quite how much a shameless portal to a website the app is. Even if BigOven 160,000 Recipes just let you pull off recipes from the web for offline viewing, we’d forgive its other shortcomings, but the app doesn’t even let you do that.
The only iPhone-specific feature we could find was the one that lets you shake your iPhone to visit a random recipe. Although an entertaining gimmick, the fact its picking from a pool of many, many thousands of recipes makes it pretty much useless.
The BigOven website is an excellent resource. Sure, with more than 160,000 recipes online, largely user submitted, quality control is always going to be an issue, but we managed to find decent recipes in almost all cases. Unfortunately, the BigOven 160,000 Recipes app doesn’t do anything you wouldn’t get from simply looking at the website. So- good website, bad app.
|Ease of use:|
Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
Website/Demo: Big Oven’s website