Basil 1.1

September 19th, 2012

In March, I announced Basil 1.0. Today, Basil 1.1 is available on the App Store.

This version is more powerful, useful and… well, better. There’s twice as many supported sites, unit conversion for metric units users who want to cook American recipes with all of those teaspoons and tablespoons, recipe sharing, and a more powerful search. Oh, and creating or editing recipes is now easier, too.

It’s easier to find great recipes, easier to cook them, and easier to create your own.

More Sites

Basil now supports automatic saving from 20 great recipe sites. In addition to sites like Serious Eats, and Food Network, Basil now supports Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, the BBC’s recipes, and Australia’s Lifestyle Food. One site I particularly love is Love and Olive Oil. It’s an absolutely beautiful site with fantastic recipes, and I’m incredibly excited to have it in Basil.

Of course, when you search for new recipes to cook, Basil will find recipes from these new sites as well. It’s a very good way to find new recipes, because when you’re searching for something, Basil will only show you recipes from these great sites. No need to sort through Google search results.

Automatic Unit Conversion

If you’re outside the U.S., you probably don’t use American teaspoons, tablespoons, cups or ounces, which makes trying to cook recipes that use American measurements a, um, bit of a pain. To make that a bit easier, Basil will now convert them to metric units. But it doesn’t just have a conversion tool available in the app: if you select your preferred units in settings (American or metric units), Basil will automatically convert each recipe’s ingredients for you to your preferred units. So if a recipe calls for “1 cup of whole milk,” it’ll convert it to “240 ml of whole milk.” Basil never actually alters the recipe, though—it just displays it in your preferred units. That way, your recipe is always safe and accurate.

Basil goes a bit farther, too. American recipes measure many dry ingredients, like flour and sugar, using teaspoons, tablespoons and cups—which are volume measurements. People who use metric units for cooking, though, often use weight measurements for dry ingredients (something that makes a heck of a lot more sense), so there’s a problem: converting teaspoons to milliliters for dry ingredients, then, wouldn’t be very useful. So for many common dry ingredients—like flour, sugar, and different spices—Basil will convert them to weight measurements. It’s really convenient.

No need to go through and convert a bunch of amounts yourself. Let Basil do it for you.

Note: For now, for users who select “American units,” metric measurements will not be converted to teaspoons, tablespoons and cups.

Recipe Sharing

Basil already allows you to email recipes to people, but now they can add the recipe straight to their Basil library. It’s really easy. If you want to share a recipe with someone, email it to them like normal. Now there’s a link at the top of the email titled “Add to Basil”. When they tap this button on their iPad, it’ll do exactly what you expect: it’ll launch Basil and add it to their library.

It’s really convenient if you’re going to cook with someone and you both want the recipe on your iPad. Send it over and get cooking.

Better Search

Right now, you can search the full-text for each recipe in your Basil library. In 1.1, you can do basic AND or OR searches. So if you want to see just recipes from Serious Eats with bacon, search for “serious eats AND bacon”. Or if you want to see recipes with either cheddar or mozzarella, search “cheddar OR mozzarella”.

It’s a simple addition, but it’s quite useful. Maybe you can’t quite remember the recipe you’re looking for, but you know it’s from or Love And Olive Oil. Search for “allrecipes OR loveandoliveoil”, and Basil will show you just your recipes from those two sites.

Better Recipe Editor

Basil gives you full control to edit any of your recipes or add your own, but it didn’t take many directions or ingredients before you ran out of space for editing them. The 1.1 fixes this issue. When you add a new ingredient or direction or edit an existing one, the ingredient and direction lists slide up to the top of the screen, and when you’re done, they slide back. This gives you plenty of room to create or edit really long recipes.

Bolded Ingredient Amounts

When viewing recipes, any measurements in the list of ingredients—”2 cups,” “100mg”—are bolded to make them easier to pick out at a glance while you’re cooking. This is a small little addition that should make cooking a bit easier for you. This is an iOS 6-only feature.

I think this is a great update to Basil, and I hope you all love it!