Building A Better Hangman Solver

Several weeks ago, my wife and I were playing some word games on vacation. Some idle musing about these word games prompted some “code doodling” in Python, which eventually turned into the analytics module behind this site. The next step was to wrap a website around this code.

The initial prototype was assembled relatively quickly (over the course of a few nights) using components from other projects. After a month of testing and tweaking under the watchful eye of my wife, a diehard Hanging with Friends and Words With Friends fan, we were ready to share it with the world! And now you’re looking at it

So here are some features on the hangman word solver that we’re particularly proud of:

  • Interactive Word Entry – the list of potential words updates automatically after each key stroke (through the magic of AJAX and JSON)
  • Pagable Word List – words are displayed in a neatly digestible sets of 8 – you can page back and forth within your set. This is limited to a list of 50 words to keep the application quick…if you have more than 50 possible words, you should try…
  • Dynamic Letter Guesser – helps identify which letter to guess – this is based on an analysis of all the possible words that fit the given set of clues and calculates the probability that a letter is in the set of available words.
  • Can also be used to help identify words for a child’s letter bag…

Recognizing that the best defense is a good offense, we also assembled a hangman word builder  that helps you build words from the tiles on your rack at the beginning of the game. Some of the cool features of the word builder:

  • Same basic look and feel as the solver (real time updates, page though words); enter up to 16 letters and page through the top scoring results
  • Supports “tagging” a particular tile on the board for additional points (eg. double words, triple letter, etc.)
  • If you wish, can filter the list of possible words to incorporate a preset letter – this allows you to use this as a simple scrabble solver and anagram analyzer…

It works nicely on the major desktop browsers and renders fairly well on mobile phones; go ahead and give it a Try! (word solver)


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