The Ultimate Travel Checklist Processor

Before I go into detail, I'll let you cut to the chase and let you see what a travel checklist looks like and how it is used by showing an example. Basically it takes a text file as input and produces a formatted page as output. You can click on the "Show Example" button below to see an example. You can also click the "Process Example" button to see what happens after that source file is submitted for processing.

Show Example Process Example

Over the years my wife and I have gone on many vacations and have traveled for work. Over that time we have made up lists of things to pack and things to do before the trip. After a while we would keep the previous list as a starting point for the next list. The lists became an invaluable way to make sure items were not forgotten. You know the head slap feeling of thinking "why did I forget to bring X". Basically, lists solve that problem.

But, after a while, the lists themselves became a bit of a nuisance problem. The list for a mountain vacation was different than for a beach vacation. A work trip list was different than a vacation list. A driving trip was different than flying. Hot weather, cold weather, and the lists became difficult to maintain. What I wanted was a single list that contained every item from all the lists. Yet, when it comes time to print out a list, I wanted only the items that pertained to the current trip.

That's when I wrote some code for my travel checklist processor. Now I only maintain a single, all inclusive, list. The list itself is a simple text file. It contains a list of categories and then grouped lists which contain a list of actual items. It might look something like the following...


    *Group Name 1
    item2 <cat1>
    item3 <cat4>

    *Group Name 2<cat2>

The categories are a list of qualifiers. These must be listed first in your text file, before any groups or items, one category per line. Some example categories are: Jack, Jill, Drive, Fly, Work, Play, Hot, Warm, Cool, Cold, Bike, Hike, Swim, etc. The groups are just for convenience and are arbitrary. Each group name must start with an asterisk in the first column and there must be at least one group specified in your text file. Some example groups are: Bathroom Stuff, General Stuff, Vacation Stuff, Food, Kitchen Stuff, Jill's Clothes, Jack's Clothes To Do Before Trip, Out The Door, etc. The items are, of course, the actual items. Both groups and items can be qualified by specifying a category. This allows those groups or items to only be included if their associated categories are selected.

To specify a qualifier for a group or item you place the category name in angle brackets after the group or item. For example "Bike Helmuts <Bike>" or "Jill's Clothes <Jill>". This means that for the Bike Helmuts item to be included in the current list the Bike category must be selected. Likewise the Jill category must be selected for the entire Jill's Clothes group to be included. The next paragraph describes how categories are selected. If you wish, qualifiers can get a little more complicated to allow you more control. A qualifier can contain more than one category, separated by logical ANDs or by logical ORs. The logical AND symbol is the ampersand, '&', and the logical OR symbol is the vertical line, '|'. For example "Red V-Neck Sweater <Cool|Cold>" would include that item if either the Cool OR Cold categories are specified. Also for example "Hold Mail<Jack&Jill>" would include that item if both Jack AND Jill are specified. There can be more than two categories but they must be specified with the same logical condition, i.e. all ANDs or all ORs.

To use the travel checklist processor here you click the "Choose File" button and then browse for your local checklist text file on your computer. After that you press the "Submit" button. This will bring up a page that displays all of your categories with checkboxes next to each one. You then select all of the categories that you wish to apply and click the Submit Selection button. This will result in a page that displays your formatted list ready for printing.

If there was an error, such as specifying a category qualifier that was not listed in the top section then processing will stop at that point and the error and line number will be displayed. You will then have to edit your local copy and then resubmit it again. We do not keep or maintain your travel list. It is treated as a temporary file and is discarded.

Once you have a good formatted list you can experiment by going page-back to check different categories and view the results. When you are happy with the results you can print it out using your browsers print function.

Browse for a local text file that contains your checklist information...