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XWS is a crossword server where multiple people may collaborate on the same puzzle and just chat. It serves up Across-Lite puzzles using either an ASCII grid or a hangman-like progress display.
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CHANGES
README
TO-DO
xws-passcode.perl
xws.conf
xws.perl

README

# -*- mode: text; tab-stop-list: (2 4 6 8 10); indent-tabs-mode: t -*-

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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What XWS Is
Requirements
Compatibility
Crossword Resources on the 'Net
Troubleshooting
Author Contact and Copyright
End of File

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WHAT XWS IS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xws is a crossword puzzle engine disguised as a multi-user chat
server.  It understands Literate Software Systems' Across Lite puzzle
format, which is a common crossword format.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
REQUIREMENTS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xws requires Perl, version 5.004_04 or later, and the following Perl
modules, which are available from the CPAN:

  POE
  Digest::MD5

You can download and install the modules the hardcore tarball way.
Visit http://www.cpan.org/ to find a close CPAN mirror.

They may be installed using the CPAN shell:

  % perl -MCPAN -e shell

If this is your first time using the CPAN shell, you'll be asked some
questions about your system and the archive you'd like to use.  The
CPAN shell will present you with a prompt once these first-time
formalities are taken care of.

Once at the "cpan>" prompt, you can type:

  cpan> install POE
  cpan> install Digest::MD5

Each command should build, test, and (if the tests pass) install a
module.  When they're done:

  cpan> quit

To return to your shell prompt.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COMPATIBILITY
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xws will run wherever POE does, which is a decent subset of supported
Perl platforms.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CROSSWORD RESOURCES ON THE 'NET
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xws currently only knows Across Lite puzzles.  Literate Software
Systems has many resources for this format, including converters for
the London Times' daily cryptic crossword and USA Todays' daily
puzzles.

  Literate Software Systems, maker of Across Lite
  http://www.litsoft.com/

Across Lite puzzles are available from several 'web sites.  Here is a
starter list of puzzle archives:

  Literate Software Systems' Gallery
  http://www.litsoft.com/across/gallery.htm

  Cruciverb
  http://www.cruciverb.com/

  Aristotle
  http://www.aristotle.net/games/crossword/index.html

  Webber's Cryptic Crosswords
  http://www.thinks.com/crosswords/wcc.htm

  The New York Times' Daily Crossword
  http://search.nytimes.com/partners/xword/puzzles.html

  The New York Times' Cryptic Archive
  http://search.nytimes.com/partners/xword/cryptic-archive.html

  Crossword Puzzles
  http://www.crossword-puzzles.co.uk/

  Guardian UK Crosswords
  http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/crossword/

  Phil's Cryptic Crosswords
  http://www.ozemail.com.au/%7Ebukharin/puzzles.html

  Scribbler's Cryptic Crossword Place
  http://www.iqthost.com/scribbler/

  Crossword Puzzle Links
  http://www.x-word.com/links.html

Cryptic crosswords are more common in Europe than in the United
States.  They also tend to be a lot more difficult than regular
crosswords.  While their odd, difficult nature tends to put some
people off, the extra challenge usually enhances group play.  Here are
some explanations of cryptic crosswords to help acclimate people:

  A Guide to Solving Cryptic Clues
  http://search.nytimes.com/partners/xword/cryptics.html

  General Knowledge and Cryptic Crosswords
  http://www.arrakis.es/~chrisv/cjv/pagina4.htm

  How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords
  http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/crossword/howto/rules/0,4406,98941,00.html

Please let me know if these lists could use improvement.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GETTING UP AND RUNNING
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's the quick walk-through for setting up a crossword service.

1. Inspect xws.conf.  This text file includes the administrative
   passcode (requried to load new crossword puzzles) and the socket
   xws will listen on for new connections.  At the very least, you'll
   need to read it to find out what the administrative passcode is.

2. Run xws-passcode.perl to generate a new xws passcode.  Follow the
   prompts, and you should be all right.

3. Edit xws.conf, replacing the default passcode with the new one
   generated in step 2, and generally tweaking options options to your
   liking.

4. Acquire at least one crossword puzzle, for testing.  Place it in
   the same directory as xws.perl.

5. Run xws.perl, log in, and explore.

   Note: xws.perl is not a true daemon; if you want to leave it
   running for any length of time, invoke it as:

      nohup xws.perl </dev/null >xws.stdout 2>xws.stderr

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TROUBLESHOOTING
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stuff happens.  Here's how to work through it and come out smelling
like a rose.  Please let me know if you encounter problems not listed
here.


You see the error "Can't locate [whatever] in @INC [yatta-yatta]".

  Module [whatever] is not installed.  This can happen if it didn't
  pass tests.  Try reinstalling the [whatever] module, and watch its
  progress closely.


The server fails to start, but it doesn't say why.  Nothing appears on
any output stream.

  Something else is using the TCP port that xws is trying to listen
  on.  This could be a transient socket, or another xws process
  already running.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AUTHOR CONTACT & COPYRIGHT
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xws is Copyright 2000-2010 by Rocco Caputo.  All rights are reserved.
Xws is free code. You may use, modify and/or distribute xws under the
same terms as Perl itself.

The author may be reached as "Rocco Caputo" <rcaputo@cpan.org>.


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