Laravel, PHP, Livewire

Building your own recipe collection app seems to be one of the more common side projects for developers. After subscribing to HelloFresh, I collected a lot of paper cards with recipes and started to see the need for a digital solution. For another side project, I toyed around with RediSearch and quickly cobbled together a simple app called Recipe Explorer, or short "recex". This was the first version of the app, which I used for a while. It was a simple PHP app with no real framework, storage as flat files, and just a script that scraped my recipes from HelloFresh.

I came to like it and wanted to improve it. I really wanted to add new features, but the code was a mess. Also, in my day job, I was working with Laravel and Vue.js, so I wanted to use these technologies for my side project as well. So I started the first rewrite using Lumen, MySQL, and Vue.js. I was having a lot of fun, and a lot of features came to my mind. I implemented stuff like meal planning in a big calendar view, a shopping list, and even an area to manage your pantry. Unfortunately, a lot of these functions were implemented in a very hacky way and did not really function well.

Also, after the first honeymoon weeks, I did not have the time and motivation to continue working on it.

I used version 2 of the app, which was now called (German for meal planner), for months and years as a recipe store and just ignored all the buggy features. No one ever has the time to sync their digital pantry with the real one. But the situation was not really sparking joy. I tried a lot of other recipe apps, but none of them really fit my needs.

In March 2023, I tried to consolidate my server setup and moved all my side projects to a new, Docker-based setup. Since the app was not really working in a container, and I just built a nice boilerplate for web apps with Laravel, I decided to give it another try. I started with a clean slate, implemented the features I really needed, imported all my old data, and deployed it. Here it is:, version 3. Shiny and new, and hopefully with a brighter future than the previous versions.

Currently the app is still in a private state and I am not planning to release it yet.


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