zParts, an open source, cross-platform organizer for electronic components

Hi! This time I’m writing to talk about a great organizer for electronic components that I found, zParts. Some days ago I decided it was time to organize the lots of electronic components that I have in my home lab. I thought about developing an application were I could insert the parts references, the amount of each component I had, and also with some button to open the datasheet without having to browse the folder with lots and lots of datasheets. However, before developing the application I decided to search if no one had done that work before and I found zParts, by Jon Ziebell. I gave it a try, and that’s exactly what I needed. It is written in Java, so it works in whatever operating system you have.
 
Zparts component organizer
 
It’s very simple to use and allows you to create categories of components, subcategories, and components with as many fields as you desire. You can also relate each component to an image and a datasheet. What else do you need? 😀 In my case I don’t remember anything else I would need, but if you do, you can always program it yourself, since it is an open source project and its source is available in sourceforge. If you need to organize your components, give it a try! To run it just open a console, enter the folder where you extracted the zParts files and enter the following command
java -jar zParts.jar
If you have tested it, liked it and want to add a shortcut for zParts in Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 just do the following steps:
  1. Create a file under /usr/share/applications named zparts.desktop and paste the following code into it 
    [Desktop Entry]
    Version=1.0
    Type=Application
    Terminal=false
    Icon[en_GB]=/usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/gdu-category-multipath.svg
    Name[en_GB]=zParts
    Exec=//zparts_start.sh
    Name=zParts
    Icon=/usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/gdu-category-multipath.svg
    NOTE: Don’t forget to put the correct path in the ‘Exec’ line. You can also change the Icon line with the path to the icon that you prefer.
  2. Go to the folder where you have zParts and create a file named .zparts_start.sh and paste the following script into it 
    !/bin/bash
    cd 
    java -jar zParts.jar
    NOTE: Don’t forget to put the correct path in the second line.
  3. Give the script permissions to be executed
    chmod +x .zparts_start.sh
    And that’s it! Now when you open the Unity board and type zParts its shortcut will appear.
If you use M$ Window$ you can also try out Component Organizer, which is a similar free software developed by a portuguese guy (user msr @ the portuguese robotics forum Lusorobotica. You can check the entire thread about it here).

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