[builds-list] Electronic parts catalog?

Alex Whittemore alexw at bu.edu
Sun Sep 22 16:42:49 EDT 2013

In case anyone cares, I looked into this again today. My notes are:

ECDB (http://ecdb.net/about.php) - Unfortunately really immature. Not much
more than a reasonably pretty front-end to a basic parts DB, effectively a
glorified spreadsheet. And hosted, at that. Although actually, the
maintainer decided he didn't have time or know-how to keep going, so it's
now OSS (https://github.com/ElectricMan/ecDB#readme). Development has been
stale for 6m.

Partslist (http://www-aws.arenasolutions.com/products/partslist/) - I love
partslist! And the vendor integration is tremendous (and I guess it even
supports filling out unpopulated data via Octopart? That's neat!).
Unfortunately, it's not free as in speech (not a requirement for me) or
even as in beer, unless you're using it personally (so that's fine for me).
It's also NOT an inventory management system, and isn't trying to be. It's
a BOM manager for individual projects. Now, that said, the vendor
integration is so good, and the project lists support CSV export - it might
be a great tool for batch importing data to your spreadsheet or app, where
you then add info that can't be auto-populated (like quantity, location in
your cabinets/drawers, etc). This plus a basic web app that supports CSV
import would be a great start.

partkeepr (http://www.partkeepr.org/) - This one's actually reasonably
mature, under active development, and pretty feature-complete. It's almost
a little overkill for what I need, though it's designed for exactly the
purpose. Unfortunately, no import functionality, definitely not directly
from a distributor/octopart link (like partslist).

I think going forward I'm going to start a casual side-project along the
lines of ECDB which supports, at first, CSV import from Partslist output,
then eventually ideally integrates with the octopart API. Eventually, it'd
be cool to have a mobile app with something like OCR support that
semi-automatically adds parts by snapping a photo of the marking, prompting
for quantity and anything that can't be automatically worked out (
manufacturer, variant, etc).

Of course, it'll probably never actually go anywhere or achieve any state
of usability :)

Alex Whittemore
617-213-0890 (GV)

On Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 2:30 PM, Christopher Woodall <
chris.j.woodall at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you Alex!
> So I am actually working with the octopart API right now. I am trying
> to make a kicad plugin to read in a kicad schematic and allow you to
> do a supplier link on your parts in some nice way. Something similar
> could be done for a database in fact and would not be very far off. If
> you don't find anything you obviously think will work we should chat
> about it, because I would love to have such a system, as would the
> guys at Octopart (they are really trying to plug their stuff).
> From,
> Chris W.
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