We launched!

Well, after nearly three years of crazy work, it’s finally public. The beta release of Able Grape, a search engine for wine information, went live on Monday night. It’s still very much a work in progress, as I suppose every bit of software is, but I think it’s pretty useful, and both seeing the kinds of things people look for and hearing what people think will help (is already helping!) me make big improvements. 

My plan is to use this space to keep people apprised of what’s new and improved, post the odd tasting note (it’s really much more fun than writing software!), post random blurbs about some of the funtastic web sites I’ve run across while building this,  and most importantly, to listen to suggestions and ideas for improvements.

If you haven’t tried Able Grape yet, I recommend a quick look at the help section, especially the example queries. They give a flavor for some of the kinds of things I tried to make work well, and how the slightly wacky, but hopefully very useful, UI works (I know software lore says that no-one reads the help! But honestly, I think it’s worth it!).

Have at, and let me know what you think!


6 Responses to “We launched!”

  1. 1 Jen OFlanagan February 15, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    any chance you can include in the search results the date articles were posted for easy reference?

  2. 2 Warren Mason February 16, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Congratulations! MW is one thing. Meantime you deserve a PhD! Very impressive.

  3. 3 Jennifer February 16, 2008 at 12:54 am

    Great Site Doug!!

    I look forward to using it. As someone who has been working in the Wine Business for over 10 years, I am thrilled to see this.


  4. 4 Rick Bakas February 19, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Nice work! Three years of work and growing. The blog about climate change and its effects on the wine biz are very timely. Thank you for making this search engine..

  5. 5 ablegrape February 20, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Hey Jen,

    To your question about including displaying publishing dates of pages, yes, it’s a great idea, and I hope to do this. It would be especially useful for searching news items, and I’ve also had some people request it for tasting notes (because they want to be able to see recent tasting notes first).

    The challenge is figuring out the publishing date for many articles. Sometimes there are multiple dates on a page, and many sites have the current date on a page regardless of when it was published. But I plan to explore that for an upcoming release and see what’s possible; it sure would be useful.


  6. 6 jjrzut February 23, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Doug, great stuff. I did a side by side comparison of Able Grape, Google and another wine specific search engine called Scrugy. You can find the results here. You can count on me coming back for more.

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Able Grape, a wine information search engine




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