Minimalist Sudoku in the browser
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Latest commit 062f18d Jul 21, 2015 @luketurner improve awkward language

readme.md

sμdoku

A no-nonsense Sudoku web app. Works great on PC and mobile. Built to be clean and responsive, but with a full set of features. No missing features, annoying ads, accounts, or weird themes. Just sudoku.

Unlike some apps which seem to have databases of pre-generated puzzles, sμdoku generates new games on the fly. All puzzles are guaranteed to be solvable, but they can be quite hard if you are new to Sudoku (~26 squares are filled in when the game starts).

Because it doesn't need to get new puzzles from a database/list, sμdoku fully supports offline use (for example, on a smartphone).

Supports "notes", meaning that you can select multiple numbers in a single square and they will all be saved and displayed. This is a feature that many Sudoku implementations lack, but it can be quite useful for making reminders for yourself if you are struggling through a tough puzzle.

Tips and hidden features

I tried to keep the UI as clean as possible, so it's "just sudoku". But there are some power-user features hidden under the hood. Most of them are triggered by right-clicking (on desktop) or long-pressing (on mobile).

  • Undo all: Right-click or long-press the "Undo" button to undo everything. Useful for resetting the game. Does not restart the timer, though!
  • Redo all: Right-click or long-press the "Redo" button to redo everything you undid. Equivalent to spamming Redo a bunch of times, but more efficient.
  • Clear all: Right-click or long-press the "New Game" button to completely clear the board. Useful for entering your own puzzles to solve with the auto-solver.
  • Auto-solve: Right-click or long-press the "Hint" button to completely solve the puzzle. This resets the game timer, because it's basically cheating.
  • Select/deselect all: Right-click or long-press any of the number buttons (below the board) to either add or remove all numbers from the selected square.

Why the μ?

The Greek character "μ", pronounced "mu", looks cool. If you take off the "s", it becomes μdoku, which can be read "mu-doku".

Also, μ is used in SI prefixes to mean "micro", so it fits with the lightweight/minimal theme. In fact, techincally the characters used in this README are the SI prefix U+00B5, not the Greek character U+03BC.

Finally, μ evokes the Japanese "mu", which is an important concept in Zen Buddhism. Literally, it means "without", but for Zen Buddhism it can be considered more of a fundamental absence. Neither a positive nor a negative, it is the absence of either, or equivalently, the undifferentiability of both. Confused? Meditate on this classic Zen Buddhist koan:

A Zen monk asked his master, "Is it you playing Sudoku, or is it the computer?"

The Zen master replied, "Mu."

How puzzles are generated and solved

The Sudoku puzzle solver uses simple constraint propagation. Peter Norvig wrote a nice page about solving Sudoku puzzles using constraint propagation. My algorithm is a simplified version of the final one he presents.

Puzzle generation is a lot harder, computationally. sμdoku starts by shuffling the board, and then it generates a completely solved puzzle by adding valid numbers one at a time, propagating the new constraints each time a number is added. My algorithm does not include backtracking because it is very fast. If it walks itself into a corner, it will just try again from scratch. Once the complete puzzle is generated, the algorithm will begin to randomly remove numbers until it reaches the desired difficulty. Each time a number is removed, the puzzle is solved, so that if we accidentally introduce ambiguity, we can try again by removing a different set of numbers. So in the course of generating a puzzle, the solver may run many hundreds of times.