Hoot Update

This is an update for those word game enthusiasts following my progress with Hoot. A month ago I released the first version (1.4.9) of a word game study tool called Hoot, and wrote a post describing some of its features. There are many on-line options for word lookups, but they are generally limited. The main study tools left on the "market" are a bit complex for me, so I wrote my own. 

Although I know how it works, I designed it to be intuitive. You shouldn't have to read a manual to learn how to use it. There is one, though, for when you can't find what you are looking for. There are also some features that you may not be aware of.

Since that first release I spent more time on it than I anticipated and this is a quick rundown on the features I've added. In order to make the program easier to update, I've change the deployment tool, and now provide the complete program and an upgrade option that doesn't include the database. Newer versions now also remember the customizations you have made to the program. Other than other obvious bug fixes, and performance and user enhancements, I've added some important features.

Sorting

Now the search screens have sorting options. Not only can you sort, you can sort normal, alpha, probability, and by score (Scrabble). The sorts also toggle between ascending and descending.

Status bar

Search screens now have a consistent status bar that shows various attributes of the selected word. The status bar shows the lexicon being used, the score for the selected word (Scrabble or Words with Friends), probability, and RP. RP is the relative probability of the word in relation to other words of the same length and normally ranges from 1 to 100.

Context menu

Search screens also come with a context menu. When you right click on a word, or the list, you have options to do additional searches on the selected word. You can also Save or Copy the list.

Window Resizing

Search windows adjust to different sizes by expanding/contracting the result windows. That includes the context menu popup search. On the Tiny slide show you can actually hide the buttons and only show the words being studied.

Alphagrams

Alphagrams can be shown in a few places in Hoot, primarily related to stem studies. An alphagram is an alphabetically spelling of the letters in a word. It's a minor feature, but some players use it often. 

Edit Tools

Editing tools were high on the list of things to include in Hoot. With Hoot, you can now create your own lexicons and named lists by importing words from a text file. The format of the file can be either single word per line or multiple words per line. The multi option also supports a shortcut listing of words. 

For example, ACTUALISE(S,D,/ING) will read ACTUALISE, ACTUALISES, ACTUALISED, and ACTUALISING.

Compare Lexicons

With Compare Lexicons you can see what words are in one lexicon and not in another. For example, you could compare OWL2 and Words with Friends to see/study the differences. Tournament players might also use this to study the variations between OWL3 and Collins.

Known Word Manager

The most important feature in Hoot  for me was developing the slide shows. Also high on the list of things to do was implementing a known word manager in the slide shows. When viewing slides, you can flag individual words as being known. Simply check the box, "I know this word", and Hoot will remember that. Then you can check the box, "Hide Known Words" and only spend your time on words you don't know. 

New searches

There are a couple of new searches. The anagram screen allows you to search for transpositions for a word, and the Hooks screens allows you to find words with no hooks. I've also begun development of Letter Study group of searches.

No definitions

Although definitions are important I haven't included that in Hoot, partially because of copyright issues. Once I find a reliable and safe resource, they will be easy to add later.

For more information about Hoot including downloads and on-line help, see the main web page at http://www.tylerhosting.com/hoot/.  To contact me about Hoot, use the Contact page on this blog.

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