GGC is a sweet open source diabetes management app

When you receive a diagnosis of diabetes, it’s the beginning of new chapter in your life that involves continual monitoring of your blood sugar. Software can help you manage that task. GNU Gluco Control (GGC) is one free, open source option.

A programmer named Dieter created GGC in 2001 or so, but Slovenian developer Andy Rozman joined the project in 2004 and took it over. “At the time,” Rozman says, “I was looking around for diabetes software, but each application had its own problems. (Now we have a lot more to choose from, and most solutions are quite adequate.) I am a Java programmer, so I was looking mostly for Java solutions. When I first time saw GGC I was not impressed with it. It was crude with almost no functionality, but I decided it was the one I could help develop.”

Rozman used Visual SlickEdit for a while to work on the Java code, until about year and half ago, when the project made its first official release. “Fellow developer Reini and I started thinking that now that we were ‘out,’ more people will try to use it and help us, so we need to write documentation on how anybody can help. Our first step was selection of an official tool that could be used by anyone. Reini had used Eclipse for a few months at that time and he promoted it to me. Eclipse is now official development environment for GGC.”

The project promotes the software on diabetes web sites and forums. “Whenever I find any new forum or web site that covers diabetes software, I send mail and ask people there to add it,” Rozman says.

GGC maintains food and meals databases; the one from the USDA is imported, and users can build their own. “We support many diabetes devices: we support about 25 different glucose meters from five different companies, and we currently support one pump, and two more are in works. We are trying to add more devices, and also work on tools. For instance, we have a so-called Bolus Helper, which helps determine how much insulin must be injected. This is the function I use the most, since my pump doesn’t have this integrated.

“We have a lot of features planned for future: Extensions to the pump tool with new devices, adding a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) tool with basic support for CGMS devices, a database tool (GGC supports many (almost all) JDBC-supported databases, but currently we don’t have automatic install of tables and initial data to user -selected databases), new graphs for all features, possibility of online upgrade, appointments, stocks, and many many more.”

Rozman says he welcomes help with programing, ideas, translations, and testing – “everything. We have some developers who drop by and do some stuff and then take their leave. Some stay for a longer time, but not many, so most of work is still on my shoulders.”

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