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Author Topic: New crossword making software  (Read 4073 times)

peterflynn

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    • Crossword Studio - new software for creating crosswords
New crossword making software
« on: May 31, 2009, 06:20:24 PM »
Hi all,

I'm working on building a new program for creating crossword puzzles.  I know there's a bunch of software out there for this already, but I haven't really been satisfied with the ones I tried and I thought I'd try making something new.  The goal is to be easy to use, with more intuitive productivity features, but still powerful enough for making serious top-caliber crosswords.

I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in trying out an early version of this software.  Feedback would be very helpful to me, especially from a group with so much puzzle-authoring experience.

Thanks in advance!
   
- Peter

Latent

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    • Crossword Puzzle Mania
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Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 09:18:19 PM »
Hello,

Nice to know you are creating one. Who knows, it might be big.

I would like to try it out. If it is successful, I will try it out on my site. I currently use Eclipse Crossword and Hot Potato. I am will to try it.

Contact me if you are interested.

Mel Rosen

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Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 10:06:30 AM »
Peter, It would be helpful if you would specify which computer platform you were shooting for ... PC / Mac / Windows / Linux ... etc ...

Also, if you would be very specific about which features are missing from the programs you've tried, perhaps the authors of those programs would consider modifications.

-Mel

peterflynn

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    • Crossword Studio - new software for creating crosswords
Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2009, 05:13:09 PM »
Hi Mel,

This program, Crossword Studio, supports both Mac and Windows.

Missing features aren't really what led me to create this software.  Other crossword programs have lots of features, but the sheer number of features isn't always what counts the most.  As someone who does a lot of work professionally in user interface design -- that is, making software easier to use or more intuitive -- I'm acutely aware of those subtle quirks and snags that can make software less helpful or more frustrating than it should be.

It can be hard to overhaul the usability of existing software, especially if the technology it's built on isn't conducive to it.  The best option seemed to be trying my hand at making something better.  And that brings us to today: this "beta" of Crossword Studio doesn't have the whole laundry list of features that some of the other software boasts -- yet -- but I hope it will be one of the easiest to learn and most pleasing to use.

That's not to say Crossword Studio is currently just a toy.  The version I'm soliciting feedback on lets you print and export puzzles, "auto fill" sections of the grid, save clues, organize theme words, etc.  But there's certainly more in store.

So, that's a longer-winded explanation.  Making software that is truly easy to use requires good feedback, and that's where I'm asking all of you for help.  If anyone can spare a bit of time to try out Crossword Studio, you may wind up helping to build your new favorite crossword-authoring tool! ;)

- Peter

Doorbell

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Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009, 11:04:27 AM »
Peter, I'd like to give it a try.  I'm on a Windows XP machine.

Lyell Rodieck
Doorbell

peterflynn

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    • Crossword Studio - new software for creating crosswords
Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2009, 12:29:21 AM »
Hi Lyell,

That's great, thanks for your interest!  Can you contact me with your e-mail address so I can provide you a copy of the program and some beta-testing guidance?

- Peter

peterflynn

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    • Crossword Studio - new software for creating crosswords
Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2009, 02:21:09 AM »
Hi all,

A few months back I posted here about new software I'm working on -- software that I hope will make it easier than ever before to write crossword puzzles.

By now, Crossword Studio is refined enough for a broader group of people to kick the tires and take it for a spin.  Please check it out at http://www.crossword-studio.com/.

I'm excited to hear feedback from anyone and everyone who has the time to give it a try.  Any feedback or suggestions are helpful, of course, but what I'd most like to know is:

  • Is anything confusing or hard to figure out?  Or using odd terminology?
  • What's missing?  Are there things that you basically can't do without?
  • Could this become an improvement to the way you write crossword puzzles today?  If not, what could change that?

Thanks to those who helped me test the earlier version last spring, and thanks in advance to those who can send feedback on this newer version now!

- Peter

fungi1995

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Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2009, 07:45:40 PM »
Count me in. When will the Mac version be available?

peterflynn

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    • Crossword Studio - new software for creating crosswords
Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2009, 08:26:36 PM »
For those interested in the Mac version -- I'm happy to say it's available for download now: http://www.crossword-studio.com/download.html

Please tell me what you think!

- Peter

TMcD

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Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2009, 01:02:00 PM »
Peter, I'm a total beginner at constructing, but have been trying your software on a Windows XP machine for a couple of weeks.  The only tiny glitch I have found is that when opening a file, double clicking doesn't work.  I still have to click on the Open button.

Can you give me some idea how the available word list compares to that found in other programs?  If I have enough success in making crosswords to encourage me, I will be purchasing software at some point.  Am I right in thinking that the word list is a big part of the software's usefulness?

Thank you very much for making your program available for trial.

Tom

peterflynn

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    • Crossword Studio - new software for creating crosswords
Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2009, 11:40:55 PM »
Hi Tom,

Glad to hear you're enjoying Crossword Studio!  Being approachable to beginners was a top goal for this software from the very start.  We're definitely hoping to improve more in the future -- so if there's anything you do find confusing, it'd be great to hear your feedback.

Sorry about the snag you hit with double-clicking.  If you could send an email to info -@- crossword-studio.com, we'll start troubleshooting that right away for you.

I definitely agree with you that word lists are important.  It's much easier to fill a grid when you have a large list, and quality matters too -- it's no use making a word list long just by filling it up with obscure answers that are hard to clue.

It's hard to say exactly how the Crossword Studio dictionary stacks up against that in other products.  But I can tell you that a serious amount of effort went into building up this custom list, and we're working hard to make it even better in future versions.  There are currently about 130,000 answers in the dictionary, and you can easily add on your own word lists.  There's also a pretty good word list available for download here at cruciverb.com if you have a Gold membership, which you can also import.

Again, glad to hear of your interest!  There's lots of room for your feedback to shape the next version, so if you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know -- either here, or at the crossword-studio.com email address.

- Peter

TMcD

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Re: New crossword making software
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 06:32:09 PM »
Thanks for the reply, Peter.  I've found the software easy and intuitive to use.

 

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