Chef Supermarket: A First Look

In the world of Chef, One of the biggest positives that it has is the strength of the community. It is full of talented, eager individuals who have pretty selflessly created some great things. One of the subsets that has been lacking however, was the community cookbook website.

While the intent was a one stop shop for reusable cookbooks and communication within the community, it was by chef's own admission a failure of implementation. In order to combat this, Chef created a new, open-source community site with some of the lessons learned in mind. The result was the Supermarket, and though only up for a short while in Beta, Here are some quick takeaways.

What I really like

  • It is fast: I mean really fast. The old site I found could be bogged down in navigating through the various pages, and this one is lightning quick. Big props to whatever backend stuff they are using, because it just works. 
  • The README's are much more usable: This will potentially be tainted with more inclusion of members cookbooks, but for now they are much easier to read, follow, and provide good examples. Bravo to people with documentation skills. Actually, just in general the UI is in fantastic shape. 
  • Much better member profiles: The layout for following contributors and their cookbooks seems to be in a lot better shape, and much easier to adjust ones own profile settings. I was apparently able to set up an ICLA pretty quickly as well. 

What I don't like

  • It is still very beta: Forgive me if I am wrong, but it would seem the Chef team was adament about getting the site up and running so people can use it. As a result, it doesn't seem very complete or documented as well it could be. There are no new blog posts that pop up from Chef, no real sense of how to utilize the new rating tools, and there is not a full explanation on how to set oneself up to contribute on the site. This will all be stuff that gets fixed in time I am sure, but for now it is the current reality. If you are interested in getting an idea of the roadmap they have a roadmap shown here.
  • No plugins page: We all have get to pick and choose cookbooks, and at some point all of us will adopt various plugins to be used in our workflow. Should we not have a section of the website that is a consolidated location for all the plugins?
  • No categories for cookbooks: This is the one piece that I think nobody else will agree with me on, I liked the way the last site organized cookbooks into categories. Meaning they could be classified into database cookbooks, application cookbooks, so on and so forth. This isn't a huge issue, or even a minor one, but it is a nice to have for somebody who is new to databases or certain types of applications. The ultimate answer is to just just use the search feature of the site which works quite well. 

What I think/hope is coming 

  • A plugins oriented page on the community site
  • A stronger understanding of the rating system and how it is supposed to be used. 
  • More individual contributors This I am sure will happen based on the lowered barrier to entry


  • Apparently great minds think alike in regards to the tool tools page. There was an open ticket that I missed, and it is being added on in a later deployment. 
  • I found an issue already confirming that cookbook categories were not going to be a part of the road map of supermarket.
  • In what I consider highly important, the issue of cookbook namespacing is still being worked out for the site. coderanger, one of the thought leaders in community cookbooks, started a good discussion that I am hoping gets some attention.