So anyway, I'm making a shopping list app for Android. As I understand, "shopping list" is something of a hello-world exercise of Android development, which may explain why there are so many rudimentary ones in Google Play. Only in my case I actually need one, and I know exactly what I want from it.

See, for the past 10 years or so I've been in charge of food supply in our family, which includes everything from grocery shopping logistics, to cooking, to arranging dishes in the dishwasher. And the app is an essential part of the first stage of that chain.


Up until recently I used Out of Milk, which someone suggested me a long time ago, and at that time it was probably the best choice. I remember being quite happy to pay for a full version. Over time though it got a little bloated in ways I didn't need and a little neglected in places I cared about. The UI got very "traditional", requiring fiddly unnecessary motions for core functionality.

Here's the short list of its wrongs I still remember:

Now what

I probably could spend some time on searching for an app that'd suit me better, but… Look, I'm a programmer. Writing code is what I do! And I wanted to play with Android development since forever, and the recent exposure to Kotlin gave me all the reasons I didn't really need in the first place :-)

Here's a laundry list of what I want from a shopping list:

Current status

I actually first started working on it at the end of 2019 and made good progress into 2020… but then something got in the way.

commit 8ca7b341801db3fda2e6fdbb5c1436d2b917b123
Author: Ivan Sagalaev <>
Date:   Fri Dec 4 20:43:11 2020 -0800

    Remove .idea/* from under git

commit a7d58b20d051b47cdc79868f578c85ba831c4801
Author: Ivan Sagalaev <>
Date:   Sun Jan 26 22:21:46 2020 -0800

    Rename `actualRecency` -> `recencyScore`

Yeah… Anyway, after making an effort to restart the project I'm making good progress again and actually feel really happy about it all!

Swiping right to "Buy" a thing

About a month ago I started dogfooding the app and was able to deleted Out Of Milk from my phone (So long and thanks for all the fish!) I've got the first five features mostly done, but there's nothing like actually using it that keeps showing me various edge cases I could never think about. I love this process :-)

Crucially, I can now add "Tomatoes" by just typing "t", "m" — and have them as the first suggestion.

The app looks pretty rudimentary, as you'd expect at this stage. But really, this time I want to not just fool around and dump the code somewhere in the open, I actually want to make a finished, sellable product out of it. Going to be a fun adventure! (Technically, me and my wife already tried selling my shareware tools at some time in the previous century, but we managed to only sell about two copies, so it doesn't count.)

Wish me luck :-)

Comments: 2

  1. Oleg

    You may want to check Buy me a pie! ( for inspiration. And good luck with your app ;)

  2. Paolo

    yeah ... I do a lot go grocery too, but an app requires holding the phone while walking around inside the grocery store. Covid or not, it's in the way and it ends up falling onto the floor.

    I was just using a Notes like app for grocery ...

    I ditched it for the old fashioned super effective pencil handwritten piece of paper, which you can hold while shoving the cart around and toss when you are done. Also, believe it or not, the grocery list is filled in by various members of the family, and a small block of paper notes hanging on the fridge is way easier than having to fill up a list on my phone.

    One thing I used to do is letting my wife and kids text me forgotten items while I was at the grocery. Not a good idea ... so the deadline for adding items is me walking out of the door.

    Anyway, happy shopping

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