deBLor Freeware Smartphone Windows Mobile
Custom Search

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crosswords v4.2 beta 6 for Smartphone

Crosswords (or xwords, to use its Sourceforge project name) is a free, open source implementation of the rules of Scrabble™ for handhelds.

It is currently shipping on PocketPC (including Smartphone) and PalmOS.

Crosswords is played by the same rules as the famous game Scrabble™. (It is not authorized or approved by the owners of that trademark or associated copyrights -- which it takes care not to violate.)

This manual describes the Palm and PocketPC versions of Crosswords at the same time. In cases where a feature appears on only one platform the manual will include the words "Palm only" or "PocketPC only".

You can also Build Your Own Dictionary (B.O.Y.D)


Crosswords, being open source software, is built with open-source tools, in this case CeGCC. So far there is no open-source tool that can create installer packages (".cab files") acceptable to Windows Mobile/Smartphone 6.1. Until I work around this, you will need to install Crosswords manually.

How? Simply copy the installation package (a .zip file) to your phone, either by downloading it with the browser on your device, by copying it to an external flash card, or syncing from your PC. Using the File Explorer on your device, open the package. This will launch Zip Mobile. Choose the "Extract All..." menuitem, and decide whether to extract to main memory or to your flash card. Once you choose "Save" and exit Zip Mobile, navigate into \My Documents (or onto your storage card if you chose that option). There you will find the directory Zip Mobile just created, and inside it the executable (called something like xwords4_2b5.exe) and the tiny default dictionary, BasEnglish2to8.xwd. Select the executable and launch.

If you like, you can install additional dictionaries as well, but you need to put them in one of three locations:
* the same directory as the executable (e.g. xwords4_2b5.exe)
* a directory called Crosswords at the top level of a flash/micro SD card
* a directory called \Program Files\Crosswords

This last is where .cab files will put dictionaries and the .exe file when I get them working.

Navigation without a Touchscreen

Lack of a touchscreen is a significant difference between Smartphone and Pocket PC. What follows is a brief introduction to using the five-way navigator and any keys you do have to navigate and make moves in Crosswords. These techniques work on PocketPC as well; it's just that there touching the screen is an additional option.

Concepts: focus and diving

The screen element that will process key strokes is said to have the "focus". In Crosswords, the focus starts at the top level, in which case it is on either the scoreboard, board, or tray (or scrollbar if one is needed). You shift the focus among these objects using the four directional arrow keys. Top-level focus is indicated by a background or border in the focus color. It's on the board in the image to the right.

Pressing the center key causes the focus to "dive", to enter an element within the top-level object. The top-level focus highlight disappears, replaced by the element having the "dived" focus being drawn with a background in the focus color. You move the dived focus just as you do the top-level, with the five-way's arrow keys. In the image to the right the focus has dived into the tray and is on the Q tile.

When the focus is dived, pushing the center key is the same as tapping the focussed element on a touch-screen device. Some elements, e.g. bonus squares and scoreboard entries, respond differently to a pen being held for a fraction of a second. Trigger that behavior by holding the center key down.

To move up from the dived state, returning the focus to the top level, use the escape/back key, or the spacebar if you have one. Also, if you navigate the dived focus beyond the edge of the element that contains it it will return to the top level.

Using the keys

While the five-way is used to move the focus, the other keys -- numbered keys in the case of a nine-key phone keypad, QWERTY keyboard keys if you have them -- can be used to move tiles from the tray to the board. Keys 1-7 operate on the first through seventh tiles, while keys with letters operate on tiles that bear the same letter. In the screen at right, pressing the 3 key or the N key will move the third tile onto the board where the arrow is. If there were no arrow but a focussed and empty square, it would move there instead. The backspace key will return the most recently placed tile to the board.

* Smartphone Windows Mobile

More information:

* Application
* Dictionary

No comments: