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Dalriada n:
Kingdom of the Scots,
home of the residents

Algie goes JavaScript

This is for fans of the cryptic crossword setter, Algie, who posts puzzles under the CROSSWORDS tab.

I have been experimenting with a new web site, hosted from Earlspark Avenue, which relies on a (now rather old fashioned) technology called Java servlet container. Also known as Tomcat, because that is the name of the free Apache product which supports it. The new site is at – note the unusual port number 8080, which is standard for Tomcat but not for regular web servers, which use port 80. Important to realise this is not a 24×7 service – it is only available when my PC is up and running Linux, i.e. most of the day/evening time when I am not on holiday or in bed!

This experimentation led me to try developing a new on-line crossword page, based on my own Java servlet, running on my server, rather than the old crossword pages which relied on a Java applet by running in the browser on your computer (and which throws alerts and warnings which alarm some people). I found some good free javascript tools for rendering crosswords on a web page and developed them to run from my new web application hosted by Tomcat.

You can see the result at, please do. PDF versions will still be available for downloading and eMail of course and I expect many people will still prefer that. However I would be pleased if some people would check out the new on-line version and let me know what you think. Jane’s first comment was that she didn’t like the Check … clue buttons because they made solving the puzzle too easy. My view is that some people might like to test if they have a word right (if you think that’s too easy don’t click). There is no reveal solution feature because the solutions are not stored plainly in the server’s database, they are encrypted like passwords so the server can check if you have it right, but not tell you the right answer in advance.

That’s all for now. My site allows me to log in to add new crosswords, or tweak existing ones. A potential, fairly easy, development would be to add an ‘ownership’ attribute which would let other users with the xwordeditor role add their own efforts – the solutions would remain unknown to me!