Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

wwf_api - An API for Words With Friends

Christopher Mullins

wwf_api is a Java library that enables communication with Zynga's popular Scrabble variant, Words With Friends. It also provides some utility classes for maintaining and manipulating game state.


This project is in no way associated with or endorsed by Zynga.



You can find the generated javadoc (which should be at least mildly helpful) here:

Thrift Definitions

This project uses Thrift for many of its data models. To quickly review any thrift types or service definitions, you can consult the thrift definitions.


All operations that communicate with Zynga require an accessToken. As far as I can tell, this is the oauth token assigned to Zynga by Facebook for an authenticated user. wwf_api includes a small helper class that uses HtmlUnit to login to Facebook and extract the oauth token from WWF page. This can be done as follows:

AccessTokenRetriever tokenRetriever = new AccessTokenRetriever();
String accessToken = tokenRetriever.getAccessToken("", "areallyneatpassword");

// This will prompt the user for their Facebook login credentials.
String accessToken2 = tokenRetriever.promptForAccessToken();

After retrieving an access token, you can use a StatefulApiProvider, which will prevent you from having to enter the access token any time you want to make an API call.

StatefulApiProvider api = new StatefulApiProvider(accessToken);


The API is consumable in two ways:

  1. Using the ApiProvider class.
  2. As a Thrift server, which allows languages other than Java to consume the service.

The remainder of this section details operations supported by wwf_api and assumes that you're using the ApiProvider class.

Game Index

This allows you to get a list of all games that you've participated in recently. The GameIndex object encapsulates the information returned by this call.

StatefulApiProvider api = new StatefulApiProvider(accessToken);
GameIndex index = api.getGameIndex();
GameMeta firstGame = index.getGames().get(0);

You'll notice that the list of GameMeta objects contain only metadata for each game. To get the full GameState object, use the getGameState method.

Game State

To access the game state for a particular GameMeta object, use the getGameState method:

StatefulApiProvider api = new StatefulApiProvider(accessToken);
GameIndex index = api.getGameIndex();
GameMeta firstGame = index.getGames().get(0);
GameState state = api.getGameState(firstGame.getGameId());

The GameState object contains the following information about a particular game:

  1. A list of MoveData objects in chronological order.
  2. The racks for both players as a map with the keys being the user IDs available in GameMeta. This is available because of the way that game state is maintained.
  3. The current game board.
  4. The scores for each player as a map keyed on user IDs.
  5. The GameMeta object for the same game.
  6. A list of Tiles remaining. These do not include the Tiles in the user's racks.
  7. A list of ChatMessageobjects sent during this game.

While you're more than welcome to build your own data models around what's returned by the API, this project also includes some things to help you. For example, you can use the WordsWithFriendsBoard class to easily access and manipulate the game state:

WordsWithFriendsBoard board = new WordsWithFriendsBoard(new BoardStorage(state.getBoard()));
Slot centerSlot = board.getSlot(7, 7);
Move.Result moveResult = board.move(move); // This updates the board

The return value of the move is a Move.Result, which contains some useful information about the move that was placed. This includes:

  1. The word that was formed by placing the tiles included in the corresponding Move.
  2. The number of points earned by playing this word. This computation includes any relevant bonuses.
  3. A list of all of the words formed by this play. This includes words formed by a parallel play.

Making Moves

When submitting a move, you can either pass, resign, swap tiles, or make a play. The API supports doing all of these. You can use the GameStateHelper class to make your life easier in doing this.

To resign or pass
GameStateHelper helper = GameStateHelper.getInstance();
GameState updatedState1 = api.makeMove(gameState1, helper.createMoveSubmission(MoveType.RESIGN));
GameState updatedState2 = api.makeMove(gameState2, helper.createMoveSubmission(MoveType.PASS));
To submit a play

The most straightforward way to do this is to construct a Move object. This includes the following information:

  1. A list of tiles that are actually played in the order that they're played. This should include only the tiles that are moved from the player's rack to the board.
  2. The row and column that the first tile is placed in
  3. A WordOrientation that specifies whether the play is vertical or horizontal (it can be either for one-letter plays).

Then, one can use the GameStateHelper to submit the move to the API.

GameStateHelper helper = GameStateHelper.getInstance();
GameState updatedState = api.makeMove(gameState, helper.createMoveSubmissionFromPlay(move));

Creating Games

Zynga has two methods for creating games:

  1. Matchmaking -- you are assigned a random opponent also looking for a matchmaking game.
  2. Invitation -- you invite someone you already know to play a game.

Creating a matchmaking game is easy. You just need the access token:


Creating a game by invitation requires that you know either the facebook or zynga ID of your desired opponent. The Zynga IDs are included in GameMeta objects.


The library allows you to send and receive chat messages. Although GameState includes a list of ChatMessage objects, there is also a method to retrieve the unread ChatMessage objects for a given game ID.

Sending a chat message
api.sendChatMessage(gameMeta.getId(), "Hello there!");
Reading chat messages
List<ChatMessage> unreadChats = api.getUnseenChats(gameMeta.getId());

for (ChatMessage chatMessage : unreadChats) {
  System.out.printf("[%s] <%s> %s\n",

Dictionary Lookup

Before submitting a move, it's a good idea to verify that all of the words formed by your move are actually in Zynga's dictionary. They use the enable1 word list, but they've removed some "offensive" words and added a few of their own. You can poll their dictionary using the API.

The dictionaryLookup method accepts a set of strings (case-insensitive -- they'll be normalized). It returns a set of words that are not in the WWF dictionary. If it returns an empty set, then all of your words are in the dictionary!

// This will NOT modify the board
Move.Result result = board.scoreMove(move);

if ( api.dictionaryLookup(result.getResultingWords()).size() > 0 ) {
  System.out.println("Uh oh, one of these words isn't in the dictionary!"); 

Running the Thrift Server

If you'd like to consume this API in an environment that can't use a java library, then you can run the Thrift server defined in ApiServer. To build an executable jar and run the thrift server, use the following:

mvn clean compile assembly:single
java -classpath $CLASSPATH:target/wwf_api-0.1-jar-with-dependencies.jar org.sidoh.wwf_api.ApiServer 1111

You can then consume the service on port 1111. The thrift definition files are located in ./src/main/thrift. If you'd like help setting up a thrift client in the language of your choice, please contact me and I'll do what I can.

Using in a Maven Project

Release versions of wwf_api is available in maven central:


Snapshot (development) versions are available through sonatype:




A java library that enables communication with Zynga's popular Scrabble variant, Words With Friends







No packages published