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Scrabbling for Mastery

a patzer's journey

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Zyzzyva app now loading and saving quizzes
me again
Two days ago, I was freaking out because there is so much left to be done on the Zyzzyva app before the end of the year. There is still plenty to do, but this weekend I accomplished a lot. Except for when I was asleep, I've actually been bouncing around for the last 12 hours or so because I finished implementing loading and saving of quizzes in the Zyzzyva app. The app now saves quiz progress automatically and can load a saved quiz to pick up exactly where it left off.

Next up is cardbox quizzes, followed by cardbox sync. I'm very excited to get this implemented. I was doing some quizzes on my phone this morning (because I can!) and wishing I could use the app to interface with the cardbox system on my laptop. Once it can, this is going to be a wicked cool app.

I've been going back and forth about how I might implement cardbox sync. I think I'm leaning toward integrating with Dropbox. The service is free, they have an API that should be pretty easy to talk to, and I know some Zyzzyva users who are already using it to keep their quiz data in sync between computers. I hope it will turn out to be a brilliant and easy solution, at least for now. I'll find out soon enough whether that's true.

Here are some screenshots. Is it not nifty?

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It looks phenomenal. I like the dropbox option. It's one that I already use for syncing between PCs.

No worries on the time scale either. I realise that these things take a lot of time and am willing to wait for a good product.

Thanks for the data point... I'm just imagining how amazingly simple it will be to implement. At this point I'm not even daring to imagine the horror that usually ends up being reality. Even if integrating with Dropbox is difficult, I think it will probably be better than any of the alternatives.

I'm curious about the hint feature. What does it entail -- giving the first letter or something? And will using the hint automatically cause a "missed" for the word?

Currently the Hint button doesn't do anything, but I'm envisioning it giving the first letter somehow, probably by changing the letter to a different color or something. For words that have multiple anagrams beginning with different letters, I guess it would either designate all the letters that are first letters of any word, or it would designate the first letter of the first word in alphabetical order, depending on whether you're in flashcard mode or not. (I think only flashcard mode will be available in the initial release, not the ability to shuffle tiles on the screen.)

I like the suggestion of marking the question as missed if you use the Hint button. I don't know whether that should be the default, but I think it should at least be a user preference to do it that way.

teacher, i want partial credit!


Count me among the many that sync my Zyzzyva using Dropbox.

That's good to know... do you ever experience problems with conflicts, like when you make changes on two separate devices, then try to sync them both? I think is what worries me the most. But from what I've read, Dropbox also includes ways of detecting conflicts and allowing the user to decide which version to keep. I think that would be an okay solution for now.

I should move to Dropbox for syncing but keep waffling on it. One of these days my laptop is going to die.

I think Dropbox can detect conflicts, but I also think conflicts are very unlikely to occur, unless the user has no internet connectivity for certain crucial periods of time. For example, if they quiz on computer A, and then move to an area with no internet, and then stop quizzing and put the computer to sleep. Then when they start on computer B, it will automatically sync with Dropbox, but not the very end of the quiz, but maybe somewhere in between (depending on whether it considers the .db file to be open or not, it could be that Dropbox syncs only when you close Zyzzyva or end a quiz?) Then when computer A goes back online there will be a conflict.

I think the more complex thing will be how Zyzzyva handles starting a quiz WHILE the .db file is syncing. If it takes a while to sync for whatever reason, and you start a Zyzzyva cardbox quiz, will it be able to start with a half-synced file, or what? There might be some funkiness there. Of course I am thinking of the desktop version but this probably also applies to the iPhone version...

I would sure hope that their syncs are atomic... syncing to a temp file and verifying the contents with a checksum before actually overwriting the local file. This is an interesting thing to watch out for, though. I'll have to look into it.

I know, I'm psyched. I want the cardbox sync and I want it now.

I wonder if it's possible to have some automated flashcard mode? One thing I got a little bit tired of is clicking twice on every question, which gets kind of overbearing with the amount of questions I'd do in a day. Aerolith has a version like this with an adjustable timer speed.

This is a great suggestion, and a popular one for the desktop version too. I'll try to get this into the initial iPhone release.

Dropbox sync is preferred for me, as that's how I keep Zyzzy synced between my other computers. I've learned to either make sure I have internet access when I do my cardbox quizzes, or to turn my computer on as soon as I return home to wifi to let dropbox sync.

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