Crosswords 0.3

I’m pleased to announce Crosswords 0.3. This is the first version that feels ready for public consumption. Unlike the version I announced five months ago, it is much more robust and has some key new features.

New in this version:

  • Available on flathub: After working on it out of the source tree for a long while, I finally got the flatpaks working. Download it and try it out—let me know what you think! I’d really appreciate any sort of feedback, positive or negative.

  • Puzzle Downloaders: This is a big addition. We now support external downloaders and puzzle sets. This means it’s possible to have a tool that downloads puzzles from the internet. It also lets us ship sets of puzzles for the user to solve. With a good set of puzzles, we could even host them on gnome.org. These can be distributed externally, or they can be distributed via flatpak extensions (if not installing locally). I wrapped xword-dl and puzzlepull with a downloader to add some newspaper downloaders, and I’m looking to add more original puzzles shortly.

  • Dark mode: I thought that this was the neatest feature in GNOME 42. We now support both light and dark mode and honor the system setting. CSS is also heavily used to style the app allowing for future visual modifications and customizations. I’m interested in allowing  css customization on a per-puzzle set basis.

  • Hint Button: This is a late addition. It can be used to suggest a random word that fits in the current row. It’s not super convenient, but I also don’t want to make the game too easy! We use Peter Broda’s wordlist as the basis for this.
  • .puz support: Internally we use the unencumbered .ipuz format. This is a pretty decent format and supports a wide-variety of crossword features. But there’s a lot of crosswords out there that use the .puz format and a I know people have large collections of puzzles in that format. I wrote a simple convertor to load these.

Next steps

I hope to release this a bit more frequently now that we have gotten to this stage. Next on my immediate list:

  • Revisit clue formats; empirically crossword files in the wild play a little fast-and-loose with escaping and formatting (eg. random entities and underline-escaping).
  • Write a Puzzle Set manager that will let you decide which downloaders/puzzles to show, as well as launch gnome-software to search for more.
  • Document the external Puzzle Set format to allow others to package up games.
  • Fix any bugs that are found.

I also plan to work on the Crossword editor and get that ready for a release on flathub. The amazing-looking AdwEntryRow should make parts of the design a lot cleaner.

But, no game is good without being fun! I am looking to expand the list of puzzles available. Let me know if you write crosswords and want to include them in a puzzle set.

Thanks

I couldn’t have gotten this release out without lots of help. In particular:

  • Federico, for helping to  refactor the main code and lots of great advice
  • Nick, for explaining how to get apps into flathub
  • Alexander, for his help with getting toasts working with a new behavior
  • Parker, for patiently explaining to me how the world of Crosswords worked
  • The folks on #gtk for answering questions and producing an excellent toolkit
  • And most importantly Rosanna, for testing everything and for her consistent cheering and support

Download on FLATHUB

3 thoughts on “Crosswords 0.3”

  1. I’ve been using this for a couple of days now and it’s great! Easy to use without taking my hands off the keyboard. Haven’t had one issue yet.

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